Days Like These
August 19, 2014
John Taglieri has been releasing records for years. And whether it’s been under his own name, under the TAG moniker or as a collaboration with others, one thing has always stood strong: an honest and energetic delivery. If your looking for constant perfection or slickly filed songs through production, bells, whistles and other adornments, you’re barking up the wrong tree. John Taglieri’s music is a little raw, a little rough ’round the edges even, but for a large part that’s where its strength is situated. The passion, the energy and the honest delivery of every single word and every single note sends out a message to take life head on and make the best of it. John sings of ups and downs, of the journey we all experience in life. And when you listen to his songs, you don’t just believe it, you are reminded of those experiences. That’s why you connect and isn’t that what music and art are all about. That personal connection that makes you feel something or inspires you. If anything, that’s what John has always been able to accomplish through his music.
Summer of 2014 is here and so is John’s new release Days Like These. It’s an extended play containing six new songs. John’s previous release, Southern Paradise, touched the country-rock / roots-rock side of things a little more than we were used to but with Days Like These the energetic and passionate contemporary rock anthems are in full swing again. If you enjoy popular contemporary pop/rock such as Lifehouse, Goo Goo Dolls, Nine Days, Sister Hazel, Better Than Ezra with a slight classic vibe such as Bon Jovi, R.E.M. and Bryan Adams, you’ll be ecstatic with this new release. From the upbeat title track that opens the EP to the intriguing closer ‘Toasting The Man In The Moon’, Taglieri manages to capture and hold your attention. You go from pure fun to more reflective thoughts and from admiration to inspiration in just over 20 minutes time. If you can sit through this record without any of your body parts (in)voluntarily moving, you must be a robot.
John Taglieri is an acquired taste because while you can compare him musically to the previously mentioned bands and artists, his music doesn’t get carried away by a big production or by crystal clear vocals. Because that’s not what it’s about. Instead it is filled with life and character. For some of you, this might not be the right cup of tea, but for those of you who can look past it and make that connection, this record is going to be a special one. It’s real music and real emotion and all the ornaments are stripped away. Big radio and mainstream charts may like Christmas trees but there’s also beauty in a fir tree that weathers wind and rain and still is full of life. It may be a weird analogy but it’s the best way to describe what I’m trying to explain. Days Like These is filled with life experiences, with blood, sweat and tears and it gives an extra dimension to the songs that will allow you to make a strong connection if you are open to it.
The EP opens with the title track ‘Days Like These’. It’s probably the most radio friendly tune on the EP as it’s upbeat and allows for singing along quite well. It will come as no surprise that John chose this song as the lead single. The song came to fruition shortly after John heard that he was going to be a father. Maybe that’s why the energy and emotion fuel this song from start to finish. Parts of the song, primarily the chorus, sound reminiscent of Lifehouse’s ‘First Time’, which was a pretty big hit on the radio. So who knows, Taglieri could have radio success ahead of him here.
’Here For The Taking’ follows next. The powerful delivery and rich arrangement bear tribute to 90s artists like Bryan Adams. Taglieri, however, has the ability to use songs as a suit. In the end, songs are always going to sound like John Taglieri songs. The reason for that: from the first note to the last, he gives 100% and you really do hear that.
I was hoping that ‘Beautiful Tonight’ was going to be a little slower with maybe a subtle strings arrangement. However, it’s a sparky, mid-tempo, powerpop song. It’s one of those tracks you may not notice the first time through, but when you get to know the record you start wondering why you didn’t hear this the first time. “Stepping out from the shadows, coming back into the light” is a line that really spoke to me. It reminds me of something from my past. And this is representative for what John Taglieri does with most of his songs. All of a sudden you start to realize he’s speaking to you. Because his songs hold meaning and we are all looking for meaning in our lives.
‘Thin Air’ is one of the standout songs on this album. This song is carried by the arrangement and topped off by John’s vocals that soar high like an eagle. Who doesn’t recognize those moments between hope and despair?
John’s vocals match up with keys beautifully as is proven by ‘Finish Line’. There are many subtle changes in the arrangement that keep the song interesting throughout the whole thing. Also, Taglieri hints to his early release Leap of Faith and weaves it together with other lyrical references. I could imagine a live version with strings accompanying. One of my personal favorites.
The EP finishes strongs with an intriguing song. ‘Toasting The Man In The Moon’ doesn’t just have an awesome song title, it also is a song with a lot of drive and something of a classic John Taglieri sound. In both arrangement and vocals you can hear a superb balance between intensity and restraint. And above all, this is going to make a killer live song.
Days Like These is exactly what you’d hope for and expect from John Taglieri. It’s intense, full of character and doesn’t come with any false pretenses. It is what it is and it holds its own. To recount the previously used analogy: Days Like These is that beautiful, experienced fir tree that, despite and because of all its endurances, is still full of life, ready for whatever is coming next. Proud, strong and energetic, just like its creator.