Judah & the Lion's Revival : Album Review
I'm just going to preface this by saying that I'm extremely bias (and this blog is incredibly long but theres a thank you at the end if you make it). Take It All Back 2.0 is my favorite song of all time. Well..maybe not but if I made a Top 10 Playlist then it's 100% on there. I fell in love with the beat, the banjo and the voices in melody; I didn't get too into the lyrics until recently but they're relevant. Honestly? It repeats the same few lines over and over again but you'll catch me screaming "I'LL TAKE IT ALL BACK JUST TO HAVE YOU" and "HEY - MY LIFE IS REAL GREAT - FEEL I'M WELL ON MY WAY..TO MY DREAMS COMING TRUE" any day, any time.
But we aren't here to discuss Take It All Back 2.0; we're gonna dive into the new Revival album. You can either keep reading or you assume my feelings based on the fact that I bought two tickets to their show at Webster Hall in the fall. Do I have any friends or family that listen? Nope. I'm being hopeful but even if I have to go alone...you bet ya a** that I will be there on October 11th.
Without further ado, let's get into it. And yes, we're going in order because that is the ONLY way to listen to an album for the first time. Buckle up because this is a loooong one.
Open Your Eyes - I love the delayed start. It goes on about 5 seconds before the first chord and then the instrumental starts slowly. You get Judah's beautiful voice and then some more layers including piano. In classic fashion, it's very few lyrics and much repeat but I learn much faster that way anyway. All the beauty inside, all of the colors. All of the colors. It drifts off in a church-esq way but picks up with the mandolin and drums. I'm just so happy hearing the banjo and mandolin together. You know how music can change an entire mood? I think this song has that. It makes me feel like I'm climbing, creating, at peace, just being whole. 13/10.
Take A Walk - It starts with sing talking almost like The Front Bottoms or Hobo Johnson...and duh, I am a sucker for this kind of music. Woaaah we were gonna save the world, we can't even save ourselves. Judah and Brian sing about heros. And depression. It feels like a coming of age opening or closing credit song. It's hopeful yet sad at the same time. We can be the giants in the streets we learned to drive in and we'll ride away into the sun. They just want to be happy...again. It's about getting back to your innocence and inner child to find that. I can think everyone can relate. You're healing yourself but finding what your inner child needs from you now. 15/10.
scream! - I'm calling it early because I'm THAT confident but it'll be in my Spotify Wrapped as the most played. It makes you want to scream in the rain and dance, or power through a day of work in two hours. It's loaded with serotonin. I can't explain it, it's not even empowering - it's addictive. Maybe that's why we're screaming on the interstate. Life gets heavy and you need to keep your head high. We're all looking for that special some thing, some one, some place. Maybe that's why we're screaming on the internet. I love this lyric because uh duh. I'm an internet personality to a niche group and I do find peace in screaming on the internet. We all have our vices. Maybe that's why we're screaming in the mirror. There are seven billion of us, and they sing about all of us wanting to explode. They sing to turn the tv on and it's pretty clear as to why. It's about being kind to each other. Out on the interstate, in public, on the internet, and in the mirror. You don't know what is going in someone else's day or life. And you deserve to be nice to yourself but you also deserve to scream. 10000/10.
HAPPY LIFE - We got a more electric vibe to start this jam. It sounds like a relationship ending anthem but it's too specific to fit all break ups. Ten years and 1,200 miles. They deleted his number after the fight when he just wants to call. It's heartbreaking. But if this happens reaches you, this is I love you - I hope you find your happy life. It's a mourning for the love and still wishing the best for his past partner. And that there is nothing left to say, but that he doesn't want to let go. He loves her. I still love you. I still still. And yup, you guessed it - I'm crying! 8/10.
Blue Eyes - We got a long one at 6:13. Blue Eyes starts with an I miss you line. It starts unsure who the song is about but you can quickly realize it's about someone who has passed. And I know where you are looking down, you'd say I love you and how proud. It seems I will also be crying through this song. She cries at church, he laughs at her tears, and then they laugh together. She has a tattoo that she doesn't love but will pretend it's her favorite anyway. She's the kind to talk back at Chick-fil-A if they didn't get her order right. They knew she was going to pass, maybe she was sick. I'm afraid it's my time, then we sang it is well, then we cried. And then he sings of seeing her blue eyes in the blue sky. He's reminded of her memory, and their time together. 9/10.
Landslide - We're starting off suspenseful with the tune. But gentle with the voice, like a lullaby. Can the child in my heart rise above? Alright...now the third emotional song for me. I think the subtle bass of the song with the gentle voice and crescendo for the chorus does it for me. But time makes you bolder, even children get older, well, I'm getting older too. We're all getting older. I thought I'd have it figured out at 25. But I only just started. I'm entering a new place, I have a new job, all of my relationships are changing whether I want them to or not. I'm growing older. Well, I'm getting older too. 14/10.
make me a kid again - Seventh song and less than a minute. Could I make this my walk up song if I ever do adult kickball? I'd get a lil banjo for it. It's zero lyrics and all shoulder boppin' movements for me. 8/10.
Revival - A wise man once said that when a restaurant puts their name on a pizza, burger, salad, etc, that it has to be the best item on the menu. And my dad is right about that. So I have high hopes going into this self titled. AND PLAY. Ahhh it's angelic and light. It's instrumental sounds like a bride walking down the isle but a very cool bride, obviously. How do I let go of what I control? I don't know what will be left to hold. Will I be left alone? They're scary questions. They're searching for the know, and to learn, and to fight. You can't control and you can't fight for what doesn't accept you. But if dying means a revival, then I will submit. You will rise from the ashes, even if it means you'll be alone. It's scary and a reality I do not want to face but revival is about letting go to grow. And maybe it'll come back after you grow so you won't need to be left alone. 25/10.
Find Another Reason Why - Sometimes you've gotta get lost if you wanna be found. I went on a two hour drive last August to a hike upstate and spent several hours on a trail. I got lost, twice. I couldn't find where I parked because you can bet it wasn't the on the marked trail line or designated parking lot. I documented some of it on my Instagram story so my friends could laugh, but that hike is one of my favorite days. I was happily lost. I spent hours in the sun just enjoying my own company. And I learned I am my own best friend too. I did need to physically get lost, find an ice cream truck on a side of a cliff road parking lot, walk a mile bridge both ways, and get sunburnt to be found. Take some time, clear my mind, find another reason. And I will. I'll take my time, I'll take my space, I'll clear my mind and I'll find another reason to love myself and celebrate who I am. I know this annotation wasn't about the song specifically but I hope my inner mind workings show that this song can transport back to a memory. 17/10.
Be Here Now - You on a self growth journey? You've found your new anthem.
Learn to love the sunshine
Learn to love the rain
'Cause seeds are better growing
When both are coming the same
The journey's never easy
But the deeper the roots run
You'll find that you're at peace when
The heavy winter comes
Yes, I put the entire verse in because DAMN. I might one day be good enough to embroider this onto a pillow. I know or assume this doesn't directly refer to seasonal depression but I'm taking it as such. You need to love yourself, plant deep roots, enjoy the ups and downs, so when things get dark - you'll be strong. And then maybe the hardest part is understanding how to be here now. I have a difficult time with living in the moment. I rush big moments, I push for more, I don't know how to be here now. But I am trying, and growing to be grounded. I feel like this would be a song they'd sing to me in Glee to get me to snap out of a funk. 60/10.
Things Are Looking Up - We have that classic banjo and mandolin that warms my heart heavy in this last jam. We just had an entire album about love, loss, self growth, and acceptance. We needed it to end this way. And I’d give you a billion hugs just to say that you’re enough. Judah and Brian..you KNEW I needed a hug. You know expose therapy? And the kind of manifestation where you repeat it as if you've already had/done it? I needed the band to sing things are looking up all 13 times so I can repeat after them and start to believe it too. 17/10.
Thank you. You've made it to the end of my longest blog ever. Eight minute read doesn't seem long but nowadays it feels like it. It means the world to me that people enjoy what I write. It's incredible to see views, even if it's only seven or 13 people to click my blog posts. I am so touched to see that my words have value and the way I structure them has a unique meaning to others. Although this wasn't a beer blog, it may be my most fun because I did it on the fly while listening to a lot of these songs for the first time. I love to surrender to the music and let my stream of consequences go with the keyboard. Apologies for typos - it's a work place hazard. But thank you. I have such a passion for music and live music. I have a changing taste but the banjo, and the sing talk structure of Judah & the Lion will always hold a place in my heart. Once again, thank you for being here and thank you for sticking around (I hope).