If There’s A Rocket Tie Me To It
Snow Patrol’s latest album starts off with the ambitious If There’s A Rocket Tie Me To It. It works well as an opener as it has a good build-up and makes way for Lightbody’s signature vocals. Snow Patrol holds off on the dramaticism they can sometimes pour in their music but focus on the musical build-up and it gives them the opportunity to show off their musicality. When the song bursts out in chorus, the catchy nature and commercial potential of the song are apparent.
Crack The Shutters
Crack The Shutters continues the album. With a basis in the keys and overlayed by Lightbody’s clear vocals, this song has a very interesting rhythm and though not their typical forthflowing catchiness but an arrangement that is further worked out, the band remains to produce a catchy pop song. This song would make for an interesting follow-up radio single.
Take Back The City
Lead-off single Take Back The City seemed like a strange pick to me at first, but the more I listen to it, I can see why it was chosen. It has the ‘stuck-in-your-head’ kind of tune and a good head-bopping/foot-tapping/humming-along quality and it has a bit of a danceable beat to it. Maybe not a typical Snow Patrol song, but it still evolves pretty naturally from what the band started on their previous album.
The next song is called Lifeboats and has a bit of an echoing and big sound. While Snow Patrol once again shows they are still growing and are getting very good at the build-up of their songs and Lifeboats also still has that darkish sound that we recognize from the band’s past, it cannot be seen as one of the album’s best tracks. The band can dig deep and perform their songs passionately with a fine eye for details, but on this song it doesn’t come out as well as this band is capable of.
The Golden Floor
The Golden Floor starts off with an interesting intro with the automated hand-clapping and vocal effects. In many aspects it reminds me of old-school Snow Patrol, just with increased quality and professionalism. The song works. I wouldn’t call it a perfect fit on this album, but the song in itself has a good amount of quality and shows this bands versatility.
Please Just Take These Photos From My Hands
Please Just Take These Photos From My Hands is one of the strongest alternative rock songs on this album. Lyrically it is by far their best song on “A Hundred Million Suns” and musically it works. The song’s uptempo and catchy, and Lightbody’s energy-driven and passionate vocals embody the very nature of the song. With an impressive amount of energy and conviction the band comes up with a song that will be a live favorite of many fans, old and new.
Set Down Your Glass
The album continues with a very interesting song. Set Down Your Glass has a bit of a singer/songwriter feel to it, without sounding ‘bandless’. It has a full band sound, but it also has a simple acoustic guitar loop melody. Gary Lightbody steals the show with emotion-laden vocals and perfect timing. Production-wise this song is also very well done. While some might speak of overproduction I think it is not the case for this song. This song needs that kind of production for it to come out with the sound it does.
The Planets Bend Between Us
The Planets Bend Between Us is probably my favorite song off “A Hundred Million Songs”. The slow build-up makes for an epic song and every member plays an important part in this song, that is cleverly composed and perferctly performed. It is a big song and an intimate song at the same time that draws in the listener and when the soothing, melodic chorus sets in, it has you reeled in.
Frankly, I could not really get too excited about this song. It is quite interesting, but after a couple of listens I kind of ‘had heard it’. It’s not like it is utterly boring or a bad song. It’s a decent song, but by no means memorable. Snow Patrol’s mix of indie and industrial kind of is a hit-or-miss story, throughout their career, and in this case it might be closer to miss than to hit.
The uptempo Disaster Button‘s a good song, but nothing special. The song might be a huge hit, as it’s catchy and has a good beat, but it’s nothing special or too creative, which are things that usually speak for Snow Patrol very much. It’ll be a great song to hear live, but on the album it will not be classified as my favorite.
The Lightning Strike
The 3-song-suite The Lightning Strike puts this album to rest. And I must say that, even though ambitious, Snow Patrol leaves us in a satisfying manner. The build-up intro to What If This Storm Ends? is pretty good and the song has the nice traditional haunting Snow Patrol sound that they do so well. The second part of the suite, The Sunlight Through The Flags isn’t as imaginative and after a couple of listens the enthusiasm for this part wears off. I must admit however that the final part of this three-piece, which is titled Daylight is a good Snow Patrol way of saying, thanks for listening, here’s an extra treat. It’s a good end, that is very musical and has a good arrangement.
With “A Hundred Million Suns” Snow Patrol proves they are worth their status. Commercially it might be slightly less than “Eyes Open” but musically it shows a matured band that knows where it wants to go. Not all the songs are instant hits, or even superb, but the band has a good feel for what they can and cannot do, and they have developed their song build-ups very well. Musically they are one of the bands that made indie a mainstream genre. And they continue to do so with a fairly good album.