Raine Maida – We All Get Lighter album review

Around the time an artist reaches their forties, it usually becomes clear whether they are going to continue to push the limits of their art or recycle a formula. With the release of his second album, We All Get Lighter, Raine Maida has proven himself to be among those who do the former. Maida’s first full length album, The Hunter’s Lullaby, made it clear that his solo career was going to be something significantly different from his work with Old Lady Peace, in especially vocally – there was spoken word and even a rap verse. Maida’s recent second release, We All Get Lighter, is a more consolidated and concentrated update, the finished product of the original album’s experimentation.

Instrumentally, guitar melodies play the main role, and percussion is unusually restrained, often appearing in forms unfamiliar to Maida’s music. Militaristic snare rolls on “This is Gonna Hurt,” and “Not Done Yet,” add an air of ritual and officiality to the laid-back acoustics. A full drum set only features on the more conventional tracks. The tunes are all well composed and catchy, and different instruments complement each other powerfully, as with the guitar and piano combination on “How to Kill A Man.”

Maida’s distinctive falsetto is present throughout and is one of the few aspects of the music which reminds us this is the same musician of Our Lady Peace. His vocals are perhaps best one the album’s single, “Montreal,” an effective city anthem which, despite not being the best song about Montreal, is catchy and evocative. Unfortunately the single is also a good example of the lyrical weaknesses of the album. Indeed, if one pays attention, unlike the upbeat instrumentals, Maida’s best efforts of praising the city clearly fall short. Part of the chorus reassures of that Montreal won’t kill us – Maida sings, “The cold winds of Montreal/This winter can take its toll/But it can’t take our lives.” Another example of the impotency of the album’s songwriting is on the whiny “Numbers,” a simplistic, cookie-cutter critique of modern technology.

Overall Maida’s new solo addition isn’t as refined and thoroughly enjoyable as that of Old Lady Peace, but it comes close. We All Get Lighter shows promise, and a few of its tracks, like the poignant “Drink of You,” deserve to be on any OLP fan’s playlist.

By Eric Tweel

Eric is a student in Toronto.

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