Each new Blue October record sees vocalist and songwriter Justin Furstenfeld not only wearing his heart on his sleeve, but also sees his lyrics spewing out fascinating insight into his state of mind, and the band’s third major-label release, Foiled, is no different. With each of the thirteen deeply personal songs on Foiled once again displaying the gamut of Blue October’s wildly contrasting styles, the album is tantamount to a cathartic confessional for Furstenfeld, who has openly written about his battles with mental illness on previous albums. Not least the melodic first single “Hate Me,” which opens with a impassioned answering machine message from his worried mother imploring Furstenfeld to take his medication, and develops into an intrusive, yet captivating glimpse into the inner soul of a tortured creative spirit. The radio-ready “Let It Go” and “Everlasting Friend” share a similar, almost voyeuristic lyrical content; but it’s precisely this complex balance between pessimistic lyrics and optimistic melodies that makes Blue October’s music atypical and so enduring.
The sheer diversity of the band’s sound is also a factor in their appeal. The frantic “What If We Could” demonstrates the outfit’s harder alternative rock edge, while the electro-pop of “Congratulations” and the techno-influenced “Overweight” show Furstenfeld’s eagerness to experiment. But the dichotomy of Blue October is perhaps best summed up with — after an album of at times cynical and unsettlingly melancholic material like “Drilled A Wire Through My Cheek” — “18th Floor Balcony,” one of the most heartfelt and earnest ballads you will hear in 2006. It’s not only a beautifully evocative and poignant song, but it’s also totally unexpected and perfectly encapsulates the genius of Furstenfeld’s vision.
Blue October: www.blueoctober.com