Monday, June 27, 2011

New O.A.R. Single Heaven

It is no secret that one of the favorite musical groups of Stars and Slights has long since been Of A Revolution, aka O.A.R.

As they have grown as musicians we too, as a blog, have continued to grow as... bloggers? Just go with it.

In fact, it was a behind the scenes look at the makings of "In Between Now and Then" that heavily influenced Cutting Room Floor's album and song lineup for quite possibly our most successful album ever, In Our Luck.

From that fateful encounter we learned the keys to achieving balance on a full length album - necessary for our first concerted attempt at writing one. According to frontman Mark Roberge maintaining balance between 'light' and 'dark' songs is paramount to keeping listeners engaged throughout an album.

With this as the framework, immerse yourself with the latest 'light' from O.A.R. Heaven is the first single off of their upcoming August 2 album release, King. It seems like a stylistic cross between the prevailing themes of their most recent albums, 'All Sides' and 'Stories of a Stranger.'

A new drum kit or recording style is prominently displayed on Heaven, giving the tune an almost techno layer smoothed out with R&B notes.

Heaven was actually the final track written and recorded for the album. You see, midway through the recording sessions Roberge's wife was diagnosed with cancer. Mindfully, the group decided it was prudent to put their latest production on hold while they allowed Mark to focus on his family.

In a letter to fans posted on the band's website Roberge reveals insight on the journey to finish King and the role Heaven played in its completion.

I finally understood what this life and this album was really about. At some point we have to realize all we have is right here and we can either own it or let it own us.
As 2011 moved along things got better every day. And as the world started to make sense again, we decided as a band that it was time to brush ourselves off and finish the album. We revisited some of the very first songs written for the project. “Back To One,” “Gotta Be Wrong Sometimes,” and “Taking on the World Today.” They all made a lot more sense now.
But it wasn’t until we wrote the very last song that the entire picture snapped into place. It’s always funny how that happens. We knew we had one more spot to fill and it needed to be the one that summed up everything we’d been through. I remember the first time I heard the beat for “Heaven.” It immediately spoke to me and the song came together quickly. It reminded me of all that confidence and hope we had in the very beginning of making this record, positive energy jumped off the track. We finished “Heaven” and the album was done.

Maybe, as one of the lyrics goes, 'we all should take some time and build our lives on our own design.' Needless to say, O.A.R. seems to have a really strong grip on the balance between 'light' and 'dark' in their own lives.

Heaven by Ofarevolution


Justin Cates said...

"A new drum kit or recording style is prominently displayed on Heaven, giving the tune an almost techno layer smoothed out with R&B notes."

If by that you mean they compressed the hell out of the drums until they sounded like a programmed beat, than we agree.

I like the lyrics, and Marc's voice is actually really strong here but the production makes it sound like just another garbage top 40 pop song.

I mean a choir? Really? Super cheesy and i just can't get over those "drums". And BRILLIANT call on no sax solo. When I think of O.A.R. I think of Jerry playing guitar.

Thankfully, if you believe the band the rest of the album isn't like this. All I can say is it better not be.

Brian said...

I think they actually went with a new label for this album, so perhaps that is playing a role in the production quality. Now that I think about it, they also had this issue on "All Sides".

I do agree that there is a miss on sax here.

There's an acoustic version of Heaven that I got via free download from their website and it actually sounds a lot better than this 'studio' version.

As far as the rest of the album it's hard to tell how it will go but I am reserving judgment until hearing in its entirety.

At the very least, the sentinment and inspiration behind the album can not be forgotten, regardless of whether the production quality is up to acceptable standards.

Sienk said...

It's a decent enough song, but I'm sorry to say that it's starting to sound like a blend of full-blown pop rock and something Ricky Martin-ish. The choir cheapens it for me; bands like Kings of Leon and Airborne Toxic Event have all tinkered with this on recent albums. It's some trend in trying to fill-out otherwise basic tunes. Again, strong musical qualities. I just have a sort of loathing for the departure from classic, rhythmically-driven, pseudo-reggae O.A.R. Their increased popularity among the under 18 crowd should speak loudly enough.

Justin Cates said...

I've heard the acoustic version and it's nice but too sparse. I added this acoustic performance from a radio show they did recently because it's much closer to how it should sound in my opinion.

It's a decidedly catchy tune that I think will be infinitely better live sans choir and with a little sax here and there.

Again, let's just hope the entire album isn't like this.


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