It’s finally released! “Lamentations“, the brand new album of American Aquarium, so awaited, is finally here. Two years after the excellent “Things Change“, that Country Music France had ranked #4 in its 2018 Top 10 albums, and fifteen years after the debut album of the band, “Antique Hearts“, we have a new LP from the North Carolina band, via New West Records. It was worth the wait!
Four songs were released previous to the album, the last two months, and when I listened to them, particularly “Me+Mine (Lamentations)” and “The luckier you get“, I immediately thought about Bruce Springsteen. I still think that someone who listens to “Me+Mine (Lamentations)” without knowing about it can believe it’s a song of “The Boss“.
For this album, American Aquarium chose Shooter Jennings as a producer and it was the best decision they made. When one of the best American songwriters, BJ Barham, works with such a talented producer as Shooter Jennings, the result is a masterpiece, one of the best albums that you will listen this year.
It’s also important to mention the musicians that were part of this work, Shane Boeker (guitar), who was part of the band for the previous album, “Things Change“, and the newcomers Neil Jones (pedal steel), Rhett Huffman (keys), Alden Hedges (bass) and Ryan Van Fleet (drums). They all contributed to the high musical quality of this record.
The first song of this album is the fantastic “Me+Mine (Lamentations)“. This 7 minutes long song, along with its impressive music video, is absolutely beautiful. It’s outstanding for its songwriting, its music, particularly its 2 last minutes, and for the way BJ Barham sings it, with an emotion that let us blown away. I reviewed this song when it was released, a month ago. You can check out my review here: https://countrymusicfrance.fr/2020/04/04/song-review-american-aquariums-memine-lamentations/
“The Long Haul“, with its impressive songwriting, its message of hope and joy, and its musical perfection, is my other favorite song of the record. Pedal steel and piano are just beautiful. Its music video is also excellent. I think this song is one of the best ever released by the band.
“Six Years Come September“, the last song to have been released previous to the album, along with “The Day I Learned to Lie to You” and “How wicked I was“, are heartbreaking songs, very personal and perfectly written. The lonely piano on the intimate song “The day I learned to lie to you” is particularly beautiful.
“A Better South” is another of my favorite songs of the record. With a message of hope, its songwriting is excellent and, musically, with a fantastic pedal steel, it’s brilliant and very catchy.
The album includes great up-tempo songs, that will be very appreciated during live performance. “The Luckier you get“, released previous to the album, is a fantastic and powerful song, with brilliant songwriting. “Starts With You” and “Before the dogwood blooms” are also very catchy songs.
In an interview, BJ Barham said that “Country music was the voice of the people. It wasn’t always the prettiest voice, but it was an honest voice”. Wise and true words. American Aquarium put into words and sings what a lot of American people feel and that’s why their voice is so important today. When 2020 will have ended, I’m sure that “Lamentations” will be considered as a very important part of this musical year. This brilliant album is outstanding for its authenticity, its honesty, its songwriting and its high musical quality.