I Hope You’re Happy
Up / Down Records
Residing stylistically at a clattering locale near the junction of Peter Gabriel Boulevard and Marillion Avenue, Blue October continues to be one the most uniquely innovative and compelling combos of the millennium. And with the band’s latest effort, the Texas troupe triumphs with a soaring seduction, brimming with signature-style charm.
Produced by 42-year-old co-founding frontman, rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter, Justin Furstenfeld, I Hope You’re Happy delivers exactly what longtime fans have come to crave. From the brooding, transparent allure of the opening track, “Daylight” (Everybody has a secret – real pain that they all conceal.) to the hypnotic, heartfelt appeal of “I Want to Come Back Home” (All in all, I’m not the same, and I’m scared to tell you everything. But there are things I’ve done. Will you let me come back home?) to the honest, irresistible hookiness of the title track (I hope you’re happy. I hope you’re good. I hope you get what you wish for. And you’re well-understood.), the 12-song set serves as a riveting, emotional aural roller coaster.
Oozing sentiments of relational dysfunction, “Your Love is Like a Car Crash” is one of many standout tracks. And while the record possesses an overall positive posture, “Colors Collide” evokes the abrasive splendor of the band’s earlier, more conflicted compositions.
Dripping delicately with genuine, heart-stopping emotion, “How to Dance in Time” finds the reflective frontman seemingly on his knees, begging his lover’s forgiveness for his past personal transgressions – arguably one of the record’s two most powerful highlights. Leaning on several biblical references (I was blind, but now I see.), “Let Forever Mean Forever” is an equally engaging, slightly more upbeat love song.
Glossed to perfection by multi-instrumentalist, Ryan Delahoussaye’s gorgeous string contributions, “Further Dive (The House That Dylan Built)” brings this incredible collection to a beautifully chilling conclusion.
In sum, Blue October succeeds once again in focusing fully on substance over style. As a result, I Hope You’re Happy stands tall as one of the year’s best and brightest releases.