Album Review: American Authors – Oh, What a Life
American Authors began their journey together in 2012, after they all became friends at Boston’s Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts. Together the quartet relocated to Brooklyn, New York and began writing songs about the highs and lows of life, working on their first full-length album Oh, What a Life. The official single “Best Day Of My Life”, off their self-titled EP, became a multi-chart hit after it had infected radio stations around the world.
Oh, What a Life breaks open with “Believer,” a song you can’t help but finger-drum along to, whether it be on a table top or on the steering wheel while driving. “Believer” is an optimistic reminder that we shouldn’t doubt “things will get better” followed by “Think About It,” encouraging its listeners “when all that’s left is rearranged / And everything is in the way / Don’t over think about it.”
The jovial mandolin intro of “Best Day Of My Life” is very reminiscent of Imagine Dragon’s “It’s Time”. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? While I hear a lot of other influences throughout Oh, What a Life, I still feel that American Authors has brought their own influences and experiences to the table. The album’s title track is very suggestive of Mumford & Sons; a folk-driven feel good track that could be an Irish Pub’s anthem―the best song on the album, in my opinion.
Vocalist Zac Barnett apologizes to his family in the candid narrative “Luck”. Barnett sings, “Well some birds aren’t meant to be caged,” explaining his decisions to pack up and leave, “I am my own man / I make my own luck.” Another favorite, “Love” takes you on an emotive journey through a hopeful love connection that doesn’t pan out, “Remember up on the mountain top / Looking out on the rocks below / Thinking God, we will never stop / We will never stop / No we won’t let go”.
Fast guitar riffs mixed with the frenetic energy of “Hit It” draws you in immediately and is unlike the rest of the songs on the album. It was also a song featured on FIFA 14. “Home” is a boot-stomping rock ballad intertwining four-part harmonies and marching band drumlines. Barnett’s tried-and-true vocals shine through in the intro, “I’ve got these letters tattooed on my arm / That remind me each second of where I come from / And the long hard road to get me back home”.
American Authors created an easily digestible album full of playfully optimistic lyrics and contagious drum beats that will make you swoon and swell. I’m a ‘Believer’ that these guys will surpass the sophomore slump and show up all of the naysayers. Oh, What a Life is a definite sing-along album that is a must-have.