We Were Born In A Flame by Sam Roberts = best summer album in years - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-23-2003, 01:43 PM   #1
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We Were Born In A Flame by Sam Roberts = best summer album in years

I can't get over how well crafted every track on this album is. I thought rock had lost all its melody these days, but as one of the album's many great reviews said, picture everything that is today's music scene going in a certain direction, and then picture this album going in a completely different direction. Beautiful melodies, harmonies, bass, guitar and drums all make this album the summer classic of 2003.

The album went up to #2 in Canada, and has been high on the charts for a while now, which is amazing because he is a brand new artist who hasn't been hyped all that much, relatively speaking. He just played in my home town, and his album shot up to #1 there. (His live shows are great.) His hit single 'Brother Down' (from his ealier EP and also included on his new album) was *the* summer song of 2002...once again boasting infectious harmonies and melody. 'Don't Walk Away Eileen' is also a great song, something The Who might have come up with. His new single, 'Where Have All The Good People Gone' is also taking over radio in Canada...once again, showcasing hypnotic rhythm, melody, and harmony.

I'm surprised no one in the US has heard of him yet. I think if ever given the chance he'd kick butt over there...because, let's face it -- as much as the masses seem to enjoy the Limp Biscuits and Nicklebacks, boring power chord arrangements will only get you so far. People need to hear a different sound again...something that once again gets the feet tapping and the melodies in the head singing.

Some good songs to start with:

- Brother Down
- Don't Walk Away Eileen
- Hard Road
- Where Have All The Good People Gone
- Taj Mahal
- Dead End

This entire album is great, pretty much stacked with singles. The rock record of the year, IMO.

Anyone else have the album?
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Old 07-24-2003, 04:09 PM   #2
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Okay, has seriously no one outside of Canada heard this album? How about you Canadians? Come one, somebody!!!
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Old 07-24-2003, 04:14 PM   #3
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ive heard the first single, its good, but i cant see myself buying the album. on mainstream rock stations, its easily the best thing.
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Old 07-24-2003, 04:18 PM   #4
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Yes, Red Ships...it is a catchy album, and therefore a mainstream fit. I think it's the perfect summer beach party album, though...or pool side album...or even just an album to chill to while driving in the hot summer traffic. It always puts me in a good mood, and keeps me there.
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Old 07-24-2003, 04:19 PM   #5
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yes, i can totally agree with that. definitely good summer music.
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Old 07-24-2003, 04:23 PM   #6
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But what I like most about it is it is lyrically scathing and not all fun and happy games. Musically, catchy, but lyrically honest. It's definitely the quintessential, late 20 something, quarter life crisis point of view. I can relate to that.
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Old 07-24-2003, 04:26 PM   #7
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who in the world is Sam Roberts?
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Old 07-24-2003, 04:28 PM   #8
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You must live in the States

He's huge here right now. Definitely the best mainstream act on the charts today. Maybe America isn't ready for him?
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Old 07-24-2003, 04:31 PM   #9
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no canucks down here. there is only room for the hip-hop style in the ATL.
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Old 07-24-2003, 04:33 PM   #10
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From music-critic.ca:

http://www.music-critic.ca/album-rev...ts_flame.shtml

Sam Roberts - We Were Born In A Flame

8.5/10
Released: June 3rd 2003
Reviewed: June 8th 2003
Reviewer: Kyle Macleod

RATING GUIDE
10.0: Momentous; life-changing album
9.5-9.9: Thought-provoking, original work; transcends music
9.0-9.4: Incredible
8.5-8.9: Truly great album; definitely check it out
8.0-8.4: Stands out from the crowd
7.0-7.9: Above average; fans will thoroughly enjoy
6.0-6.9: Not without some value, but not strong
5.0-5.9: Mediocre
4.0-4.9: Well below average; lacks value
3.0-3.9: Highlights are few and far between
2.0-3.0: Extremely weak
1.0-2.0: Not worth a download
0-0.9: Absolutely horrible; avoid at all costs


Without being too specific, media outlets across Canada have dubbed Sam Roberts the new ‘Canadian rock star.’ They argue that Matt Good is moody enough but too cerebral, Sum 41 aren’t serious enough, and Raine Maida? Well, he’s too ‘Raine.’ Sam Roberts they say, is the ‘real deal.’ I beg to differ.

My problem with their assessment is this: Robert’s songs are just too damned majestic for him to be considered true ‘rock.’ In fact, there are really only one or two songs on this CD that would be considered rock by most people. That’s not to say his CD isn’t good. Actually, ‘good’ hardly begins to describe We Were Born In A Flame. Robert’s however, like most great artists, defies traditional genres.

Sam Roberts’ bright and beautiful debut ‘full length’ CD, We Were Born In A Flame, begins with Hard Road, a ‘Sam Roberts Guide to Life’ if you will. This quintessential Canadian track begins with a simple acoustic guitar, but before the first verse is over, drums and electric guitar are added to give the song a three dimensional quality that is typical of the whole CD. Roberts’ voice plays out like a mix of Bob Dylan tones with Paul McCartney’s mastery of tone and pitch. Although the initial song is upbeat in melody, it’s actually quite nostalgic.

I have a vision in my mind
Of a life I’ve left behind
And can’t you see that lost souls can’t swim
You know you’ll sink but you still jump in
And it’s alright to get caught
Stealing back what you’ve lost

Probably the most telling lyric of Hard Road is the chorus line:

I’ve been dying since the day I was born
‘Cause there’s no road that ain’t a hard road to travel on

Certainly the burden of life itself is a central theme to the whole CD. It begins on Hard Road and it continues through the rest of the album, almost like it’s the path Roberts wants us to see while listening to We Were Born In A Flame.

Two of the most musically interesting songs rest directly next to each other. Dead End is a song about the expectations and fears we all have about growing old, the song is upbeat and a true standout. First, picture the direction almost the entire music industry is headed. Now picture Roberts hightailing it in the exact opposite direction. Combine melodies you would expect The Beatles to use, along with a pinch of dive bar guitar blues, Robert’s unique vocal stylings, and you have Dead End.

Following that is Taj Mahal, a love song centering on the love story between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal (Taj Mahal). While the lyrics mostly play on the idea of devotion, the musical composition is clearly meant to mirror the beauty of the Taj Mahal itself. The opening notes are heavily reminiscent of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. The feeling is so intense I half expect an Austin Power’s like 1960s England to phase in around me.

Another standout is the somewhat unconventional (even for this CD) song, The Canadian Dream. Opening with low tone echoed guitar notes, and climaxing with a low volume acoustic, drums, a steady bass, a jammin’ electric and slightly slow, laid back vocals, this song is a musical interpretation of life in Canada. It’s simple, yet complicated, with highlighted guitar riffing and lyrics covering Canada’s cold weather and socialism…it just does not get more Canadian than cold weather and socialism. Despite appearances, this song is in no way political.

Where Have All The Good People Gone? is Robert’s third single, although the first two (Brother Down and Don’t Walk Away Eileen) were to promote his earlier released EP The Inhuman Condition. Where Have All The Good People Gone? is a lyrical assault on today’s society. Roberts is said to be extremely well traveled, so when he sings that ‘The modern world is a cold, cold world,’ he’s speaking from first hand experience. Robert’s repeatedly and angrily asks, ‘Where have all the good people gone?’ but it’s more than some passing question that someone asks when looking for help fixing a flat tire. Roberts’ vocals indicate he sincerely wants/needs an answer, and he obviously thinks it’s an important question to ask.

Again, he harks on humanities seeming indifference to one another;

But we were born in the flame
We need a cool breeze and a summer rain
We are stealing from ourselves
We are feeding off ourselves

Paranoia sets the mood for the last chapter of We Were Born In A Flame, starting off with an acoustic and slowly adding more instruments. A very casual but attention-grabbing melody plays out the first and second stanzas of the song, until it slows down for Roberts’ closing cautionary lyrics.

And we all need someone to save our souls,
‘Cause the next time could be mine, could be yours

We Were Born In A Flame is Robert’s first full-length album, and he wrote, arranged and played all instruments other than drums on every track. To be absolutely sure, Sam Roberts is no run-of-the-mill rock star. Roberts is in a class all his own.


Kyle Macleod kyle@music-critic.ca
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Old 07-24-2003, 10:36 PM   #11
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I have the album and I'm quite impressed by it.

Hard Road is an excellent, excellent song, very beautiful and melodic way to start off the album. The lyrics are actually really simple and one can even argue that "there's no road that ain't a hard road to travel on" is cliche, but the song is wonderful and the guitar is great.

Dead End is a punk inspired tune right from the start and I'm in love with "The Canadian Dream", especially the 'everything moves real slow when it's 40 below' part.

I got the album because I heard good things about it and I must say that I like it more than I thought I would.

I'll be seeing Sam Roberts live next wednesday at that Rolling Stones debacle, so I hope he's good.
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Old 07-25-2003, 09:44 AM   #12
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i saw him last friday and he put on a great live show. i only have his ep so far but as soon as i get some money i'm getting his cd.
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Old 07-25-2003, 07:49 PM   #13
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That album is a joy. It's refreshing to hear honest, good-rockin' and rollin' tunes these days.
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Old 07-25-2003, 08:12 PM   #14
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Great album indeed. I saw them live at Stage 13, but they were rained off the stage....everyone was pissed at that, but at least we got a few good songs out of the set.
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Old 07-25-2003, 10:56 PM   #15
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So far, I think the only people who've heard it are Canadians! It's amazing an album this successful in Canada hasn't even been played in the US, especially considering how well it would (should) do there.

For those who don't know what his music is like, picture a perfect blend of classic Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Stones, and The Who, among others, all rolled into one...and add modern production, great rhythm, and the like.
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