When I hear a song that I really enjoy, I can’t help but sing along. It doesn’t exactly matter if I don’t know the words because, let’s face it, half of the people that sing along don’t know the words, either. Generally speaking, I only do this with songs that I have heard at least once or twice. That was not the case with Love and Theft’s “World Wide Open.” Before the first song was even halfway through, I was attempting to belt it out as if I’d heard it countless times. Thankfully I was in the comfort of my own car and not in a public place when I started listening to “World Wide Open,” because I’m not sure that I could’ve kept my mouth shut in even the busiest of department stores.
Love and Theft’s blend of pop and country is different than what most country-pop fusion groups have to offer. Not one song is “too country” or “too pop.” Their tight harmonies, reminiscent of those created by Crosby, Stills and Nash, are adorned with a country twang. Sounds simple enough, right? Not exactly. Oftentimes, groups that attempt to fuse the two together have difficulty finding a happy medium. This is not the case with Love and Theft. They found a balanced center by tossing in a bit of Emerson Drive with Crosby, Stills and Nash. I think my iTunes may have found a new most played artist. Not bad for a debut full length album.
These three musical men sang their way into the heart of the one and only Taylor Swift, snagging the spot to open for her 2008 headlining tour. Stephen Barker Liles, Brian Bandas and Eric Gunderson each take turns singing lead throughout the course of the 11 track album. This gives “World Wide Open” an interesting sound throughout and keeps it from getting monotonous.
Although there isn’t a single song on the disc that I dislike, four songs certainly jump out to me. “World Wide Open,” the first song on the CD, showcases the group’s ability to produce appealing harmonies, a solid country/pop/rock blend and dynamics. “Runaway,” the second track, is the one that would’ve caused some embarrassment had I heard it for the first time in a public place. It makes me dance in my seat and belt out the words regardless of where I am. (Apologies to my roommates.) Every individual has had a bad enough day, month or week and wanted to run away for a bit to escape reality. As if the musicality of the song wasn’t enough, the lyrics allow everyone to find a common ground and relate to the song’s subject matter.
The last two songs on the CD are just as great as the first. “Me Without You” possesses more of a country vibe and makes me feel the same way I do when I hear the Rascal Flatts song, “Melt.” Simply put, it is heartwrenchingly romantic.
Baby, tonight I’m gonna light your favorite candles,
I’m gonna open a bottle of our favorite Spanish wine.
I’m gonna listen to the song that we made love to the first time.
It’s all that I can do…I can try to be, but I’m not me without you.
The same can be said for “Drowning,” the final song on the CD. It has more of a country twang, but it also is full of harmonies. The chorus certainly could have been found on a Crosby, Stills and Nash album. The harmonies are just as tight and full as those that brought CSN to fame in the past.
To learn more, head to the group’s Myspace page. Whether you’re a die hard country fan, a pop enthusiast or a rocker, you just might find something you enjoy.
World Wide Open:
Runaway Music Video:
Me Without You: