Stand Out Albums has been a showcase for my favorite albums across the vast performers that I love. Covering a little bit of everything from classic rock to country hits, much like Key Movies of My Life, it has been the albums that shaped me.
Thanks for joining us with our review of the sixth studio album from the wonderful folks known as Guster. Today’s album is Easy Wonderful and…well… that is an apt description if any. Once again, we are joined by Motormouth himself, Ryan Nims who is our resident Guster expert and someone who has given us all some great insight from his days as a part of the Guster street team. Oh and, For the purpose of this review, we are reviewing the Deluxe Edition that came with an additional three tracks, Well, Jonah and Lost at Sea.
Why This Album?
When this album hit stores I worked for a chain of Entertainment stores known as Hastings Entertainment. The music buyers in the office would get early release versions of albums and, this happened to be one of those that showed up one day. The buyer, who knew I was a fan, surprised me with this album about six months before it was released, so I got to enjoy some Guster before most of the rest of the world.
There is something just completely comforting about this album to me. I am not sure whether it is due to the memories of where I was when it came our or the fact that it is just pure pop goodness but, I am sure that it is somewhere between those things and a little bit more. There is an absolute joy to this album that is almost indescribable. Even the more somber songs are filled with a certain underlying happiness to them that just they just can’t seem to shake, and frankly, this makes me love this album all the more. Plus, we get a little more Adam this time around, while not as much as we used to, it’s nice to see he’s still singing.
Overall, I think this album falls into a top 5 ranking for me. Where in that top five of Guster’s discography depends on the day, but it is one that really resonates with me every single time I listen to it. Like I mentioned above, this album feels as if it were distilled from pure joy itself, very sweet but with a touch of lemon to keep things real.
Now, what do you think Ryan?
Thanks, Kheas! This begins a dark period in my Guster fandom. Easy Wonderful just didn’t grab me at the time. I can’t really say why either; perhaps I was just listening to different kinds of music at the time. This was the first one I bought digitally only (whereas I had at least one physical copy of every album beforehand) because I was all about keeping a curated iTunes collection! So perhaps I didn’t have the tactile investment in this album? My wife and I saw them live on the tour for this album, so one would think that’d be a good memory to go along with this one. But no, this one just didn’t get much play.
That said, Easy Wonderful is certainly a wonderful collection of songs! Some of my favorites are “On the Ocean,” “Bad Bad World,” and “Jonah!”
Historical footnote: Easy Wonderful was the last album with Joe Pisapia, who left after recording to tour with k.d. lang’s band. Blue Merle’s Luke Reynolds filled in as Guster’s fourth touring member, eventually becoming a full-fledged member by the time of Evermotion’s release.
Why is this part so hard to do anymore? Again, I love every track on this album….but, I gotta pick some so here goes…
I wrote about this song sometime back so I figured….it should be on this list. The Song: Stay With Me Jesus. Now, this isn’t really a religious song…so…well…just listen to it.
Do What You Want (the final track on the regular version): The harmonies and pure pop rock vibe is catchy as heck. You really can’t go wrong with this one.
The final track on the deluxe edition…..is just perfection. Reminding us that, while we might all be alone and lost at sea, we can still find our way because we are all just castaways. It’s brilliant.
Ok, Where do I get it?
You can grab a copy of the deluxe edition here or, just listen to it via Spotify. Either way, just do it. Trust me.
Next week we revisit Evermotion! Till then…
Late to the Game 8/10/21
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