The Rocket Summer

With file sharing programs like Kazaa and i2hub, why should anyone go out and physically purchase a CD that will just end up collecting dust in a box with all the other albums in the attic? The answer: because some CDs are actually worth the $12 you pay for them.

Once in a while, if you get lucky, you come across an amazing band like The Rocket Summer, an uplifting and talented pop rock band. Unlike most music that people gradually forget over time, The Rocket Summer is more than just a bunch of superficial tunes and lyrics thrown together to appeal to the typical 16-to-25-year-old audience. Their newest album, Hello, Good Friend, consists of music that is honest, nostalgic, and refreshing. Whether you are a fan of good lyrics or great instrumentals, The Rocket Summer offers both. With heavy use of piano mixed with candid lyrics, Hello, Good Friend breaks out of the typical pop-rock mold.

Although the album starts off a bit slow in its first two songs, it?s not indicative of what the rest of the album has to offer. Just when you expect the remaining music to be a complete letdown, The Rocket Summer amazes with its sincere and down-to-earth music.

Let?s admit it, we?re tired of listening to any kind of song with the word ?love? in it. So why is The Rocket Summer?s newest album any different? Because each song in Hello, Good Friend shares a storyline that everyone can relate to. These stories are interwoven in a way that doesn?t just tell a story, but captures a feeling of familiarity. Who doesn?t recall those post-high-school years when we went back home and stayed up all night with our hometown buddies, talking about all those adventures from the past? Or what about the talks on the phone with your best friend that lasted well into the early morning, wondering what the future held? The reason why the lyrics on Hello, Good Friend are so appealing during this particular stage in our lives might be because the entire album marks a rite of passage. To be honest, the transition from a teenager into adulthood is intimidating, if not downright terrifying. The honesty and sincerity of The Rocket Summer?s songs are encouraging, like the feeling you get after being reunited with a long-lost friend from the past.

Another plus factor of Hello, Good Friend is its discordant lyrics. Now you may be skeptical and ask why discordant lyrics are a good thing. The fact is that some bands produce such discordant sounds that it makes you want to run into their recording studio, tear up everything in sight, puke all over the floors, and then set the building on fire.

But sometimes, in rare cases, discord can be beautiful. Although The Rocket Summer?s words seem to be thrown together haphazardly, like a stream of unconscious thoughts, it is precisely this characteristic that makes them powerful. These aren?t the cliched phrases or superficial words that re-emerge in pop music over and over again. They aren?t staged, and they don?t necessarily rhyme. But they do flow. These are natural thoughts, not specific words that some songwriters artificially string together to induce a certain emotion in the audience.

Unlike the same old melodies you hear in music from groups like Simple Plan, Blink-182, and the Ataris, Hello, Good Friend has music that is both beautiful and energetic. The heavy use of piano adds dynamism to The Rocket Summer?s songs, which makes them hit home even harder. Giving the songs a simple yet elegant sound, the piano makes the music soothing, yet powerful and uplifting at the same time.

If you want to hear drum solos, this is definitely not the album for you. Most importantly, there are neither long-haired men dressed up in metallic jumpsuits (a good thing), nor drugs, alcohol, or sex involved. What the album can guarantee is good clean fun and a new list of sing-along songs. For a small monetary sum, the album can create feelings of intense euphoria, even if it is 11 degrees outside and it seems like all cheerfulness has been sucked out of Pittsburgh. Getting a warm fuzzy feeling while it?s freezing cold, gloomy, windy, and possibly raining outside: priceless.