Everything You Want
RCA Records, 1999
REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/23/2000
You know, if someone doesn't watch out, plain, unvarnished pop-rock is going to make a comeback when no one's looking -- basic and normal, no LimpBiz posturing, angst, or rap intermixing. Frankly, it's about damned time. While we're still a long way from the days of Night Ranger on MTV (and let's face it, that's something we can probably be thankful for), well-crafted pop-rock is cool again. And if that's your bag, you could do a lot worse than the debut album from Washington's Vertical Horizon.
Everything You Want is a nice piece of work, in brief summary; something that Vertical Horizon can be fond of. The production is tight, the musicianship is competent, and the songwriting is truly excellent. You've all probably heard "Everything You Want", the first release and recent US Number One song, but have you listened to the neat turns of phrase in the lyrics? ("You're waiting for someone to put you together//You're waiting for someone to push you away…" is one of my favorites.) This is the best musical slap upside the head since the Eagles' "Get Over It." Kudos as well for the funky, reverse-recorded intro and the steady, throbbing percussion. This is a perfect four-minute pop song, quick and elegant like a Kerry Wood fastball or a Ray Bradbury short story.
If "Everything" was the only good song on the CD, it'd still head home with a C. However, there are many other things worth your hard-earned cash on this one, including the sonic blast of the opener "We Are," the chiming guitar of "Finding Me," the roots-tinged "Give You Back," and the eerie, haunting, and obsessive "Shackled."
I only have two complaints with Everything You Want. One is that the entire CD lacks a cohesive feel, the sound and energy and emotion wandering somewhat -- though to be fair, that kind of cohesiveness often comes with time. The second is the drop in energy and enjoyment when Vertical Horizon decides to do an almost-country ballad like "Best I Ever Had" or "Miracle." These two tracks in particular fail to match up with the quality of the rest of the CD.
Even so, I expect big things from Vertical Horizon in the future, and for now Everything You Want is worth checking out. This is a band on the rise, the future of pop-rock. About time it had a future, huh?