What It Sounds Like: Straight up indie power-pop with plenty of staccato, sunny days piano thrown in.
I’ve been sinking through the drain of love / Lift my eyes to skies of up above
Listen to me this is how I feel / Since I knew you all my thoughts are real
You’re the only one I wanna do / Everything’s new
And it’s all ‘cause of you.
…begins track two, All ‘Cause Of You, off of the second record by The 88. It’s the single, and it has every right to be. The song by itself is a piece of perfect piano pop-rock, and has probably made its way onto most of the mix CDs that I have ever made for people who have asked me to make a mix for them – or that I have simply forced into their hands – “Take this, take this…you’ll like it, I promise!” It’s without question going to be one of the “two track” recommendations at the bottom of this post, so if you decide to listen to it, I would love your lyrical interpretation. On the surface, it’s a love song – sure. But what in the world is up with that last verse/bridge? Eight years later, I am still at as much of a loss as I was the first time I heard it.
Throughout the rest of Over And Over, we find much of the same formula (pop-rock, heavy leaning on the piano), but certainly different ideas within that same formula. Primary songwriter/singer/guitarist Keith Slettedahl is masterful at his craft on this record and certainly skilled at avoiding the tired slump of finding a cozy time signature and sticking too it. The stop-and-go accordion of Jesus Is Good is anything but conventional, and the simple guitar picking combined with the disjointed idea of attraction on You Belong To Me contrast in more than one way. But both are great songs – exploring new territories, not afraid to take small chances (structurally or lyrically), and both succeeding without question.
I have very few issues with anything that we find here. In a record full of pop structure diversity, Everybody Loves Me strangely mirrors the previously mentioned All Cause Of You, and that could be the extent of my complaints. Keith’s the lyrics are full of different aspects to pull apart. So many songs, like the single, seem to be sweet from the start, but have hidden narratives that take them to different corners on the spectrum of consciousness. Only Keith probably knows their true meanings, but for the general public (such as myself), a little mystery is usually a good thing.
I’m pretty confident to say that, for most readers, this one is going to go down pretty easily.
If you had to listen to two tracks: All Cause Of You / Battle Scar