All Star United – Revolution
November 19, 2002
What It Sounds Like: Easy-to-take alternative pop-rock.
Being a big fan of Ian Eskelin and his songwriting in All Star United, I was certainly excited for record number three when it came out – in 2002 – when I was sixteen. Looking back on it now, my perspectives on it have not changed much in all these years. It’s not bad by a long shot, but when comparing it to their first two albums, there’s no contest – this one comes in third place.
The driving edge that we found on tracks like Popular Americans, Smash Hit, and even more chilled out ones like Savior Of My Universe and If We Were Lovers – it just isn’t here for the most part. Oh, we get glimmers of it, make no mistake. Let It Rain (I’m Gonna Shine) showcases a nice, energetic riff and a superior chorus, while Kings And Queens kicks into an almost garage rock mode with its heavy bass and squealing, single note guitar tone that rides over most of the song. The simple and sweet You Can Count On Me tosses us into a debate that we get sometimes in the Christian market: Is this about a girl or about the Lord? I’m voting for the former. The kids have to have something to turn to in order to express their feelings about the opposite sex.
Unfortunately, there’s more than a fair share of sleepers here as well. Sweet Jesus and Making It Beautiful find us on tracks four and five, prime positions to keep the record interesting as an interlude into the second half of the disc. Instead, Ian pens two very stereotypical songs that sound extremely safe and calculated. The lyrics to Sweet Jesus, as sincere as their intentions may be, are so commonplace and overdone that it’s hard to find any true substance within them if you’re looking for a personal relation. It’s as if this band decided that instead of continuing forward on the path that they were on and maturing, they should instead take a step backwards to make sure that if any Kathy Troccoli-loving board member entered the teen room in a church while they kids were blasting this out, they wouldn’t be offended by anything too heavy to question “what these kids are listening to?”.
Overall, there’s some super-safe tracks, and some others that simply sound like decent b-sides from the first two records. As I said in the beginning – not bad by a long shot – but nothing close to their previous efforts.
If you had to listen to two tracks: Let It Rain (I’m Gonna Shine) / You Can Count On Me