2. The More Things Change
3. We Always Say Goodbye
4. Someone Else’s Problem
5. Because I Do
6. I Mean Well
7. Picture This
8. Still Think About You
9. If I Can’t Have You
10. There Is No Pill
11. Downloader’s Blues
JJ Appleton returns with Uphill To Purgatory. His sophomore album features some great new songs. JJ Appleton shows a growth in songwriting and the songs are crafted even closer to perfection.
The edgy Anyone is a pretty dark and moody song about how a relation seems disastrous after a breakup. Lyrically, JJ cleverly lets both parties (men & women) speak in the song, so that we can all connect.
The album then continues with The More Things Change which is a more alternative rocker with a little grunge edge. It shows yet another side of JJ Appleton, and I am really interested in hearing this one live one day.
The beautiful We Always Say Goodbye is next. It reminds me of something but I cannot lay my finger on it. The song has an almost bluesy undertone with an introspective melancholy. It’s a beautiful arrangement and everything falls in place.
Someone Else’s Problem is one of the most fun tracks on this album. Everyone knows the bitter feeling after a break-up, right? Well, play this song, it’ll make you feel better, or at least you’ll feel relief. Besides, it’s just fun to sing along to.
Next is, at least for me, the best song on the album. Because I Do is almost a Leonard Cohen or Elliot Smith song, though more Cohen cause of the lyrics. The almost fragile intensity that JJ lays in this song is phenomenal. With an emotional storytelling singing voice like Cohen or Cash in their best years, JJ brings this song to a very high level. Very impressive!
We hear I Mean Well next. The lyrics are amazing, there’s some very witty irony in it, yet it delivers a rather serious message. The rock beat really brings out JJ’s excellent vocals on this song.
Another favorite of mine, Picture This. Possibly a single? It’s catchy and you’ll start to sing along after one or two listens. Great pop/rock tune with great guitar hooks.
Still Think About You is the next track on Uphill To Purgatory. It’s not one of my favorite songs on the CD. It’s still a strong song, slightly reminding me of Brian Desveaux/Nine Days at times, though it’s not really like that. Whereas JJ is very comfortable and natural on most of the songs he sings, I feel it is slightly less so on this track.
The rocker If I Can’t Have You follows. It’s almost classic rock & roll, Rolling Stones/The Who style. Amazing song, great performance. We need more of this stuff, we don’t hear it enough these days.
There Is No Pill, an alternative track, with a sound somewhere between Snow Patrol & Elliot Smith, shows more of JJ’s seemingly unending talents.
Then Downloader’s Blues is added as a bonus track. Slicing the topic of (illegal) downloading, JJ wrote a perfect answer in the form of a rock & roll/pop song. Why this is a bonus track is beyond me. It should’ve been the lead single for the album. It’s current, it’s catchy, and it rocks!
JJ Appleton shows growth on his sophomore release. After a great debut with 500 Moments he now returns with Uphill To Purgatory and he is not disappointing anyone. With a good mix of powerpop, rock & roll and a passionate sensitivity, this singer/songwriter is on his way to the top!