The Best Of The Call

The Call

Warner Brothers Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


For writing anthems, The Call could give U2 and Bon Jovi a run for their money anytime during the 80s. The albums, especially "Reconciled" and "Let The Day Begin" were packed with passionate lyrics and some damn catchy musicianship.

Sadly enough, no one seemed go the distance and buy one of their records. Their major hit, "Let The Day Begin", a high-five song to just about everyone except serial murders and pedophiles, is still often played today. Still, the album of the same title barely reached gold. What's a band to do when they record a lot of catchy songs and no one buys their albums? Release a greatest hits package, of course.

Call purists need not worry though. The Best Of The Call is a near flawless collection of the band's early recordings as well as some obscure tracks. Such obscure tracks include "Us", a track off of lead singer Michael Been's solo album, On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakthrough and "We Know Too Much", a track off of a hard to find benefit album, Orphans Of God.

For passing fans, The Best Of The Call samples the strongest material The Call has released. It's no wonder that Peter Gabriel and U2's Bono are vocal fans of the band. They even contribute their services on a couple of tracks. Michael Been has a memorable baritone voice as well as being a great songwriter. On top of that, Been also plays bass. Drummer Scott Musick does a great job at catching Been's downbeat to create a driving rhythm. Guitarist Tom Ferrier, while not standing out too much, provides enough emotion on nearly every song The Call have made.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For passing fans, the album opens up with their hit, "Let The Day Begin". I dare any listener to turn off their player when "Everywhere I Go" comes on next. If you liked the first track, "Everywhere I Go" has an irresistable, head bobbing hook as well as a catchy chorus.

Most of the lyrics The Call have written can be described as spiritually yearning. While there're a lot of Christian undertones, the yearning for salvation rings universal in any religon. Been and co. also do a great job of turning cliched topics into fresh introspection. The song "What's Happened To You" is a great example of this. The song, a track off of the underrated Red Moon CD, tells the story of a person who has met a friend after a long absense. The character keeps asking "What's happened to you?"

Unlike many songs which deal with the same subject, "What's Happened To You?" is not a negative song. Instead of change being perceived as negative, "what's happened to you, you're not your old self..", the change in the character is positive. "You used to hang your head down/you wouldn't look in my eyes/ Did you see some great vision/Did you finally break through/Did you shake the foundation/What's happened to you?"

The emotion in most of the songs that The Call puts out is rarely overbearing or preachy. Only on "Become America" does the Call stray into preachiness. And in the honest, "Memory" does Been go into the dramatic and falls dangerously close to sounding like Meat Loaf.

Minor flaws. The Best Of The Call will hopefully get listeners to go back and rediscover this great lost band that's still going strong. They're currently touring to support a new album. I saw them play a primarly acoustic set at a bar in Lincoln last year. It was one of the best concerts I attended last year, save Morphine and the Reverend Horton Heat. The Call are clubbing it now and it seems like they like it no other way. The intimacy of a club is where these guys shine. Ironically enough, the best songs on The Best Of The Call belong in stadiums. Check 'em out, or at least buy The Best Of The Call for starters.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Sean McCarthy 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 Warner Brothers Records, and is used for informational purposes only.