1. Hanging by a Moment
2. Sick Cycle Carousel
4. Somebody Else’s Song
6. Only One
8. Cling & Clatter
11. Somewhere In Between
Lifehouse‘s major label debut “No Name Face” is a smash hit album. With the monster hit Hanging by a Moment and songs like Simon and Everything that have appeared on tv shows and hundreds of places online, this young band from California takes their rightful place as one of the modern mainstream rock greats.
Hanging by a Moment
Lead single Hanging by a Moment has a repeating guitar loop that carries throughout the song. This and the well-executed vocals by lead singer Jason Wade make this song an instant hit. Easy to sing along to and lyrics that can be interpreted as you wish.
Sick Cycle Carousel
The lighter Sick Cycle Carousel has a bit of a post-Nirvana rock song feel. With the contrasts between the lush verses and the more amped up choruses, this song has a format that works. The song has a lot of energy but still sounds mature.
Unknown is a song that appeared on Lifehouse’s demo album “Diff’s Lucky Day” when they were still called Blyss. The song has been cleaned up since and comes out even better. Wade’s soothing vocals are supported by steady drums and smart guitar work. The chorus is radio single worthy, but the song as a whole might just miss a little thing to be commercially successful.
Somebody Else’s Song
The artsy Somebody Else’s Song is a love it/hate it kinda song. In a way it sounds like Pearl Jam covering an unknown Elliot Smith song. Whereas Lifehouse has the post-grunge sound that is so popular these days, this song has the creative contrast of an Elliot Smith song. The melodic guitar lines early in the song and the driving guitar force during the chorus create a dichotomy that is perfect for this song. It creates an atmosphere of longing and reaching out to something that’s (almost) out of reach.
Essentially, Trying is an acoustic mid-tempo ballad. The lyrics are of high quality and the song is nice, and the backing vocals by Kendall Payne (a friend of the band) are very well-chosen. It’s also one of the few songs by Lifehouse where the bass claims a prominent role. It’s the peaceful oasis on this album.
Only One is one of the best tracks on this sublime album. The drums & bass really are the foundation of the song, with the subtle guitar melody supporting Wade’s splendid vocals. With amazing lyrics like “it’s so shallow and all so appealing/I’m up to my ankles and I’m drowning anyway/in a sea of sarcastic faces/familiar places/everything looks quite the same here/it’s all confusingly amusing/bitter and tainted the picture you painted to me” this song has a kind of poetry in it. And the band performs this song with absolute conviction and passion, which makes it one of the album’s highlights.
There is a good reason this is one of the fan’s ultimate favorites by this band. The emotionally laden Simon tells about the struggle of life that most of us recognize and how things will work out cause ‘Simon’ “has felt the same”. This song is the friend with the warm arm around your shoulder. Musically also very cleverly composed and you don’t even realize that 6 minutes have passed when the song is over. That’s how much this song draws you in.
Cling & Clatter
The alternative rocker Cling & Clatter is a weird contrast opposed to the song it follows. With interesting guitar effects and powerful vocals this song has a strange kind of energy that really works. The lyrics are pure poetry and create some kind of fantasy world that makes perfect sense when you listen to the song.
Breathing is another song that also appeared on the demo album. It took my breath away then, and it does so even more in the new and improved version of the song. Wade’s vocals sound full of passion and believe. And the song has a very catchy, singable chorus that has subtle keys under it, that work very nicely. This song has a lot of potential if you ask me.
The best rocker on the album is without a doubt Quasimodo. Don’t we all know Disney’s hunchback, and how hard of a life he had until Esmeralda ‘set him free’. This song basically explores the same theme, just applicable on average Joe. Cause everyone feels trapped within the circles they live in. And don’t we all want to break free of our chains and let the burdens of life slide off our backs? This song is a first step to achieving that.
Somewhere In Between
The sweet love ballad Somewhere In Between is sung with a lot of devotion. Where the bass, drums and guitar are all played into perfection, it’s the vocals that draw all the attention in this song. A few times Wade’s voice slightly breaks and provides for the fragile nature of this song. He lays bare his soul for all of us to see. The honest vulnerability in this song is a praise.
The epic anthem Everything is simply a perfect way to end any album, especially one as strong as “No Name Face”. It’s mystical, magical sound (picture a mystical land hidden behind the clouds) slowly opens up (clouds slowly drift away) and a land of peace and joy becomes visible (as the song reaches it’s climax). The pure feeling of love and devotion that this song advocates is something you can feel. The emotional and genuine presentation Lifehouse gives in this song is admirable and once again shows the maturity and talent this band holds.
On “No Name Face”, frontman Jason Wade clearly proves he’s a very gifted lyricist and song smith. The drumming (on the album by Jon Palmer, live by Rick Woolstenhulme Jr.) is strong and the catchy guitar licks and subtle bass lines are cleverly composed into well-crafted tunes, many that are fit for commercial use. Lifehouse has a mature sound that many bands do not achieve until they are far more experienced. “No Name Face” is a great first chapter in the book that is called Lifehouse!