CD Review of Who We Are by Lifehouse

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Who We Are
starstarstarhalf starno star Label: Geffen
Released: 2007
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Lifehouse is one of those bands, like the Goo Goo Dolls or Matchbox Twenty, that began as an alternative rock outfit and through record label “magic” (i.e. pressure) began to write songs that were tailor-made for the Top 40 charts. Whether bands like this intend to or not, they are, in a way, selling out. How else do you explain Lifehouse losing the dark vibe of their debut, No Name Face, and over the course of the next two albums becoming pop sensations? But the band’s latest, Who We Are, while still maintaining hooks galore, has a bit of the alternative sound creeping back in, and it’s both welcome and refreshing.

Lead singer Jason Wade has such a cool voice that he would sound good singing the alphabet. It’s the kind of voice that makes most chicks swoon and most guys wish they were him. And that’s no doubt one of the bigger appeals of Lifehouse—the fact that Wade’s voice just makes these songs soar.

Right from the start on Who We Are, “Disarray” has more balls than anything the band has put out in years, and the same goes for the blazing title track as well as an anger-filled rocker, “The Joke.” “Whatever It Takes” and “Broken” have some of the formulaic boredom evident on the last two Lifehouse releases (Stanley Climbfall and the self-titled third album). But on the breezy “Easier to Be” and the stunning piano ballad, “Storm,” Lifehouse is clearly getting back to its roots.

Who We Are is a hook-infested romp that could well bring Lifehouse into the same realm of superstardom as the other bands mentioned above. But even more than that, it’s going to win back some of the fans they may have lost after No Name Face. At the very least, Lifehouse has sure have given people enough reason to like them.

~Mike Farley