I knew the sound. I was more than familiar with it. My cell phone was dying. While normally it would be merely an annoyance, this time was different. I was on the road for work. That meant my phone was also my email, my GPS, my lifeline. A dead phone could be problematic. But I didn't care. I was lost. Lost in an unabashed, unadulterated state of music induced bliss. I was listening to the new BRKN RBTZ album and at that moment nothing else mattered. I could have plugged my phone into the USB port in the armrest of the car. But that would mean I would have to unplug my iPod. Yeah...I don't need a phone.
BGLU have been fans of BRKN RBTZ for a while. And since we have pretty much every song of theirs that we could get our hands on, I wasn't expecting anything different from the tracks on the new album that I already had. But once again, my assumptions slapped me in the face and B.R. prove that they're musicians who deserve every bit of fame, recognition and popularity that is inevitably coming their way.
The album, The Set List/The B Sides, is just that. It's the songs you may have heard them play live (and my jealousy is unending if you've been fortunate enough to do so) and a few of the songs that for whatever reason didn't make the set list. It's musicianship on display. It's songwriting perfected. It is the best kind of music. The kind that moves you and defies you not to sing/scream along.
It's not unheard of for artists to put out previously released songs on a new album. But lest the old fans feel a bit cheated, it takes savvy to tweak the favorites just enough to make the songs feel brand new while still remaining true to the original essence.
I have listened to "Tonight" some 200+ times (as evidenced by its number 2 placement in my top 25 playlist.)
Try as I might, I have not been able to stop listening to this album. But one song stood out so much that after only 36 hours in my possession it's already in my top 25.
"No Hard Feelings" caught me so off guard that I literally YELLED "YEAH!!!!" at the speakers. Music that induces that kind of emotion needs to be heard. The song could have easily devolved into a whining lament of petulant children overlooked by A&R reps. (And could you have blamed them? They're freaking R&B legacies. They should be able to make whatever album they want.) Instead, "NHF"becomes a liberated power anthem by young men who used rejection to find their true place in the music game.
And the bridge...MY GOD...the bridge. Their perfect harmonies singing:
We vow to never give up or sell out for anybody
We're BRKN RBTZ/This is our chant
Let me hear it/Now GO!!
over that steady rock riff. UNFREAKINGBELIEVEABLE!!! Not that I could ever fall out of love with them, but "No Hard Feelings" made me fall even more head over heels in love with these rocker boys. And I have no doubts that the labels who tried to pigeonhole or flat out ignored these guys will one day soon rue the day they overlooked BRKN RBTZ.
With so much crap on the radio and the internet, it's easy to embrace anything different if for no other reason than it's not the same Justin Bieber/Pitbull/Rihanna song that's ALWAYS playing somewhere. So it's refreshing and encouraging when bands like BRKN RBTZ come along. They remind you that an artist doesn't have to sacrifice lyrical content, musical artistry or integrity to make music people want to hear. These guys prove that it is possible to step outside of what's expected of you as an artist and be GREAT. BRKN RBTZ have my heart. And I promise, after one listen to The Set List/The B Sides they'll have yours too.
P.S. Who doesn't love a Ricky Bobby quote at the end of a song?