You know those albums where each song has that one part – the part that you wait for, the part that’s good enough to make you listen to the same song repeatedly for an hour and a half while you’re laid out catatonic on the floor or singing along in your car when you’re already 20 minutes late for work? This is one of those.
The Good Life started out as a means for Tim Kasher to use a songwriting approach that differed from his other projects (namely, Cursive), but it didn’t take long for the solo project to become a band, and for that band to finally come into its own. The Good Life’s sound has evolved from the refined, quiet pop of the first full-length, Novena on a Nocturn, to the moody hooks of 2002’s Black Out, to the sing-along anthems of divorce and disillusionment found on the recent Lovers Need Lawyers EP. The sum of these parts is found on Album of the Year.
Album of the Year brings all that is the sound of The Good Life to fruition – catchy, moody pop/rock that fluctuates between the all-ages club and the smoky cabaret, right alongside sing-along crescendos that spin into cinematic bursts. In short, every song has a plan – every song is going someplace, and lyrically, going there will inevitably involve leaving, being left, or leaving in anticipation of being left. Kasher’s ability to cleverly turn an innocuous phrase into a malicious slur of ill will leaves you not knowing whether to laugh or cry, all the while giving you the distinct impression that you’ll be quoting him at some point down the road. With that said, could Album of the Year just as well be called Break-up Album of the Year? Maybe. But that would limit it to being compared only to other break-up albums, and, well, it can hold its own.
The follow-up to this year’s Lovers Need Lawyers EP features Tim Kasher, Stefanie Drootin, Ryan Fox, and Roger Lewis, as well as a guest vocal performance from former The Good Life member Jiha Lee.