Collective Soul

Collective Soul

Atlantic, 1995

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


In case anyone is still confused, let me clarify that Collective Soul is not a Christian band. Yes, Ed and Dean Roland may be sons of a preacher, but you won’t find any explicitly religious themes in most of the band’s songs (save maybe for “Shine”).  No, friends, Collective Soul is quite simply one of the most adventurous and underrated bands to come out of the post-grunge era. 

Why? Lead singer Ed Roland has a superbly textured and expressive voice and isn’t such a bad songwriter either. The sophomore self-titled effort is the Collective Soul album that seems to appeal to everyone, from the alternative college set to fans of stadium rock, and is the place to start for newcomers. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It finds the quintet at the top of its game staying true to straightforward rock. There is a recurring and rootsy water theme running throughout the album, hence the blue colored album cover and songs like “Where The River Flows,” “When The Water Falls” and “She Gathers Rain.” Of course, I’m a Cancer, so this water motif is quite appealing.

As their first foray into Adult Contemporary/Top 40 territory, “The World I Know” would go on to become Collective Soul’s biggest hit since “Shine.”  Oddly enough, it is a string-laden ballad that doesn’t even sound like Collective Soul, but the band makes it work. Still, I’ll stick with the more upbeat stuff like “December” and “Gel,” two songs that have more unpredictable twists and turns than the usual four-minute song can usually contain. 

When I think of Collective Soul, the first thing that comes to mind are the abundant hooks and solid songcraft.  No “best of” countdown would be complete without the inclusion of at least one Collective Soul album, but this one is their best.

In addition to the hits mentioned, Collective Soul opens with a loose muted jam which gives way to roaring electric guitars on “Simple.”  If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will. After such a bombastic opening, the rest of the album has an eclectic mix of laid-back acoustic tunes and full-on rockers with varying tempos. Somehow, it all fits together well and makes for a satisfying listen that is never dull. 

You can always rely on Collective Soul to give you your money’s worth, no matter if it’s an album or a concert ticket to one of their shows. Still touring constantly today, this is one band that continues to pay its dues in search of widespread recognition.  At the start of the new millennium, the boys tinkered with their sound and image and as such classic rock purists and critics stopped paying attention.

Because even though the last two albums were good in their own right, they did not compare to this one, which catches fire early and doesn’t let up until the end.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A-


Bang on review !!

© 2007 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atlantic, and is used for informational purposes only.