Let me preface this review by saying that you should listen to this album. We All Get Lighter by Raine Maida is a wonderful and fascinating work by a man with a singular amalgam of sounds, and I imagine most everyone will find something they like about it. In my case, it was most everything. I could write a full, three-part review about each of these songs; so diverse and engaging was each offering from the album. It starts wonderfully – Drink Of You was certainly one of my favourite tracks. A beautiful blend of guitar, piano and what sounds like timpani introduces us to the album. Soon they are joined by Maida’s voice, low, rich and deep, reminiscent of that trademark Crash Test Dummies voice. But it only takes until the chorus for Maida to prove what we already know; that he has a full, glorious range to make use of, and so he will. The chorus swells nicely to complement the verses and round out a wonderful, impassioned performance of a great song.
“How To Kill A Man” resonates lyrically and sonically to create a feeling of pleasant melancholy. “Not Done Yet”, a mournful but hopeful tune keeps that feeling alive and features more of Raine’s inspired vocals, showing off that full falsetto he is known for. “Numbers” is a bit of a hiccup in the lineup, the drum-track style and celestial synth make the song feel a touch cheesy, like something that might play as a stock track on an electric keyboard. The tune plays a bit like “In The Air Tonight”, it has the same subdued energy throughout that seems to be building toward something, but unlike Phil Collins’ iconic single, “Numbers” never releases that energy and left me wanting something from it that it just couldn’t give me. “Montreal” picks it right back up though, a bouncy steel string song with high energy and a catchy chorus that makes this track a clear choice for a flagship single. Mumford-esque trumpets blast the theme of what is sure to become a Canadian anthem and lead us into the experimental “Rising Tide”, sort of a slam poem set to music. There’s an air of social consciousness about this album, and nowhere is this more obvious than on the penultimate track “SOS”, which opens with a recording of a speech made in 1971 by Howard Zinn, a reputed and now deceased American social activist. The resounding words that lead into “SOS”, “That’s exactly the purpose of civil disobedience, to upset people,” permeate throughout the song and their ideas pervade the album subtly. Finally, “This Is Gonna Hurt” plays us out. It’s a mellow tune that is pleasant but unremarkable, and the second it ends we go back to track one and listen again.
As much care is put into crafting the album as is put into crafting each song individually, and the result is a well-ordered track list that plays smoothly. The album starts stronger than it ends, but that’s only because it starts so damn strong. I can’t recommend “We All Get Lighter” enough.
We All Get Lighter releases March 26th. Check out the lyric video for “Montreal” below.