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CD Reviews: Review of Healthy In Paranoid Times by Our Lady Peace
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Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com   Our Lady Peace: Healthy In Paranoid Times(Columbia 2005)

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From the inner sleeve of Healthy in Paranoid Times, the sixth album in a glorious ten year stretch from Toronto’s Our Lady Peace: 43 songs were written and recorded over a period of 1,165 days, 6,000 gigabytes of hard drive storage were needed to save the songs, 58 packages of guitar strings were used, $11,000 of food was spent on the band, 30 active wars were fought across the globe, 19.2 million people had cosmetic surgery in North America, 2,000 American soldiers died in Iraq, 6,708 hours of TV was watched by the average child, 138 million people ate at McDonald’s, $38 billion was spent on pornography, 4.8 million children took Ritalin, and 42 insects were swallowed by the average person while sleeping. And so I ask you, Bullz-Eye.com reader, who among us is average?

So much has transpired since mid-2002 when Our Lady Peace released the ultra-commercial, Bob Rock produced pearl Gravity. Against all odds, the four Canadians have shouldered industry hardships, endured intra-band struggles, and emerged from an extended lay-off with 12 songs that are more mature and thought-provoking, even if less glossy or easy on the ear, than anything they’ve proffered before. Take the ballad-like mid-tempo ditty “Boy,” in which Raine Maida urges, “It’s time for forgiveness, it’s time for relief / It’s time that we wasted, it’s time that we need / It’s time for decision, it’s time to be brave / It’s the time of your life, don’t let it slip away.” By all means, this is as close to a Bono-like statement as these relatively unknown Canadians have ever made. They don’t blow their load on just one cut either, as “Walking in Circles” and “Will the Future Blame Us” recall the very best of modern rock radio circa early to mid ‘90s.

The album’s first single, “Where Are You,” clearly inspired by Maida’s recent Good Samaritan tour of war-torn Sudan and Iraq, practically begs for exposure. “I thought it was a culture shock going over to these places,” the enlightened front man confessed in a recent interview, “but the real shock was coming back home.” While the band’s renewed conviction and global sensibility are refreshing, it’s the return to a grittier, more impulsive sound (ala 1997’s Clumsy) that lifts Healthy in Paranoid Times above other OLP offerings. Still, sloppy missteps like “Wipe That Smile Off Your Face” and an experiment in giddiness (“The World on a String”), which comes off like a bad Monkees cover, keep this new outing from earning a top-notch mark.

At the end of the day, Our Lady Peace remains a steadfast figure in a vanishing landscape. They continue to produce their music (six records in a decade) on their terms (three years off) and transcend generational partiality (Puddle of Mudd has long since come and gone) in a manner that thousands of Johnny-come-lately bands could only dream of. Jeremy Taggart told me in a recent chat that he considers himself so fortunate to be able to play music for a living. “It’s not like we have a money tree in the back yard, we do this because we love it,” Taggart confessed. If we could all be so lucky! 

~Red Rocker 




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