New album brings joy

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I first stumbled across Vance Joy with his “Your Mess is Mine” single. It’s accurate to say it was love at first listen.

Joy will fully release his highly awaited album “Nation of Two” Feb. 23. The album consists of 13 carefully constructed songs. Not all are available to preview quite yet, but from what I have listened to so far, I would be surprised if they were not spectacular.

Joy describes the album as a description of “a perfectly self-contained couple; their world beginning and ending at the bed they share, the car they ride in, or any other place where they’re together. The idea that their love for each other gives them their bearings; a point of reference that makes sense of life.”

“Lay It On Me” was released earlier in the summer, and holds true to Joy’s distinct sound: his voice, the acoustic guitar and the sweetly romantic words that so innocently describe the early stages of love.

I can jam to the tempo of “Lay It On Me.” It rises to such a happy melody that I can dance shamelessly in my apartment to it for hours. The brass instruments in the chorus where Joy serenades his love make me want to grab a trumpet and join a pep band, if that makes any sense at all.

“We’re Going Home” was a single I had not heard before. The song begins with his classic acoustic guitar and sweet words. His voice fills the atmosphere as he pulls you into the story he is telling.

Slow drums begin to pick up in the background as Joy nears to the chorus, beginning to distinguish his love story from the stereotypical romantically tragic to super-way-too-sappy-love stories that can sometimes result.

I have a lot to say about love songs that promote unhealthy, codependent and dependency complex attitudes. But this song goes against that tendency to make the idealized person into something impossibly perfect.

The words “If you’re waiting on your life, you won’t ever go” call the lovers to a higher calling than just waiting around to be in the same location as the one they love. They are calling each other to action. To experience life. To go on adventures. To live for the day.

Quite contrary to the tragic beauty of Bella Swan who sits in her apartment for months on end waiting for her tortured vampire of a boyfriend. Don’t even get me started on the horrible relationship examples that book gives.

“Like Gold” wasn’t as great as “We’re Going Home,” but I enjoyed it just the same. The song is more rapid than his previous songs, sounding almost like guitar picking as the song begins. The vocals follow the tempo, beginning with fast words in a monotone almost spoken fashion. There is not much variation in the tone, which disappointed me a little bit.

I also was a little disappointed by the message of the song, falling back on the old stereotypes of longing for a past relationship, romanticizing it in your mind, focusing on the good and forgetting all the reasons it ended.

Which is the whole premise of the song, that their past relationship was “like gold.”

Few relationships are all good all the time.

However, as a whole, Joy was a joy to listen to, and I eagerly await his album.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
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