Eagles Golden Tooth
Who wants to be happy? Everyone! How many of us ARE happy? Don’t all raise you hands at once. But Mark Mallman sounds happy; his latest album (Number five by my internet count) opens with a smile inducing, high-energy workout “Happiness.” This tune gets your feet dancing, no matter how sad you might be about the world in general. The smile parade continues with “Human Demonology” and then on to the even more cheerful “Scum on The Tub.” He looks back on life and sees it wasn’t all the bad, and it’s even getting better. But more important: he finds joy in the mundane, and the duller the better. Mark Mal man finds joy even in junk mail.
Mallman’s radio hits and rock shows fade, but new frontiers of smiling arise and provide material to to conquer. Mallman’s sound is classic rock with a lean toward power pop. His vocals may not be elegant, but they’re a good match for the lyrics he writes, and sometimes it sounds like he’s singing back up to his own lead vocals. The the ambiance feels like a large, comfortable room with a 58 inch TV, throw rugs, and a big fluffy teddy bear in the corner. But then things slow down, and “We Are Part of Something Greater” turns the album a bit dark. While happiness is everywhere, so is death and loss. We experience a wide range of emotions in this disk: they start out happy and slide down in the sadness and regret. Wrapping us up we hear “Fire Bird Love,” a particularly dark document of a life gone sad. Mallman gives us a great concept album, filled with humable and cryable tunes. I’m sure he’ll cheer up his next project.