Five for Fighting – Bookmarks (Album Review)

October 14, 2013 7:32 pm

Five for Fighting are back with their sixth album Bookmarks,  and what an album it is. Frontman John Ondrasik has proven once again his prowess when it comes to soft rock and catchy songs that will stay in your head for days to come.

Ondrasik continues the piano-led theme of the previous album Slice, with spellbinding riffs threading their way throughout the whole album. ‘Stand Up’ gets Bookmarks off to a buoyant start, with the lyrics encouraging us to stand up for who we are, although perhaps one of the weaker songs on the album, ‘Stand Up’ is a perfect gradual introduction to the piece as a whole.

The lead single ‘What If’ follows, demonstrating Ondrasik’s falsetto voice to the full. This track begins with a delicate piano riff that sets us up for the powerful chorus that will no doubt reap some success for the band in the charts, although why Five for Fighting has not managed to achieve success in Britain is beyond me. John_Ondrasik

‘Heaven Knows’ and ‘She’s My Girl’ are two of the most successful tracks on the Bookmarks album, both being upbeat and musically accomplished. Despite the odd lyrics ‘She’s better than ice cream / I know you know what I mean’ in ‘She’s My Girl’, both of these tracks are, for me, standout tracks on the album.

‘Down’, on the other hand, feels at odds with the rest of the album. Although in itself it is a very decent song, the fact that it forefront’s an acoustic guitar as opposed to piano (the only song to do so on this album), it seems rather out-of-place in Bookmarks. ‘Symphony Lane’ is another odd one where Ondrasik seems to have thrown in an orchestra for no particularly reason other than the fact that the song has ‘Symphony’ in the title. The song is more akin to the moodier tracks from their previous albums, such as ‘Infidel’ and ‘The Taste’ from The Battle For Everything.

What Five for Fighting are best known for, however, is strong ballads, from the band’s first successful hit ‘Superman (It’s Not Easy)’ to ‘100 Years’. From Bookmarks, ‘I Don’t Want Your Love’ and ‘The Day I Died’ follow this tradition and, particularly the former, are again standout tracks.

With a considerable number of incredible tracks on this album, it’s difficult to choose a favourite, despite Five for Fighting’s recent dip in success, the band’s change in record label seems to have been a new lease of life for them. Bookmarks is their best album since The Battle For Everything and hopefully their success will pick up again. I just wish that they would tour in Britain for a change.

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