The Good Years by Backseat Goodbye (Self-released CD)
…or “God damn, it’s a great day for a Backseat Goodbye album…”
“I’ll learn to fly if I want to, just let me grab my cape,” sings Chad Sugg of Backseat Goodbye on the stunning opening track ironically titled Elliott Smith Is Still Alive – one of many highly introspective bits of lyrical content that absolutely ascends above and beyond many of the young singer / songwriters out there today. Those who know Sugg for his earlier songs Hey and Technicolor Eyes need to be prepared, as the new album The Good Years is a remarkable, mature work that will get Chad Sugg noticed above and beyond the confines of Myspace. Still able to connect emotionally with his fans on an even higher level, it’s impossible not to be moved and enlightened by what this talented artist has to offer. Sugg has to put his heart and soul into the material, and the big winner here will surely be the audience who ventures out to listen.
One thing Sugg has done a bit differently this time around is explore his interest in 90’s music, with influences ranging from the likes of Third Eye Blind and Dishwalla, which retaining the Jimmy Eat World and Rocket Summer side of the spectrum. Some of the songs rock out a bit more than expected, but Backseat Goodbye pulls it all off with a wide-eyed sense of wonder and conviction.
After the staggering Elliott Smith opener, the highly infectious Moons is up next, a song that will have your toes tapping as you sing along to its sweet and wondrous chorus. Moons is definitely a song that could earns tons of radio play if stations would actually play anything worthwhile. “We’re all stars in the race for the endless nothing,” Sugg muses before sending the song into an interesting progressive mode.
On Hey, You’re Not Alone, Sugg sings “Get sad, get lonely, get over it” – a testament of personal empowerment even amongst an uncertain future. “My generation we’re all losers, but we sure as hell won’t give up,” is a line later on in the track that should hit a knowing nerve with many in his audience. An absolute winner to be sure!
“God damn, it’s a great day for a love song,” sings Chad on the bright and lively 1996, showing his passion for 90’s musical influences that sends the material soaring. Another triumph for Backseat Goodbye as well as a different kind of approach to the music.
Infinity & Beyond is a standout, with its “Nothing’s real unless it’s worth it” sentiments, with the author seeking something, “anything that won’t ever leave me.” And then there’s the sweet and tender ballad You Are The One That Will Be By Side, dark yet romantic in scope, possessing the true heart of a cautious optimist. This song is something even the great Bob Dylan would be proud to hear.
Letdown Of The Year is a dazzling rocker with a fiery electric guitar and an impassioned falsetto thrown in for good measure. An adventurous song for Backseat Goodbye, showing that Sugg has ambitions well beyond being the proverbial folk troubadour.
So Long, You Were Right may be short but sweet, but there is a ton of emotion and hurt to be found within it’s less than two minutes length.
“You were like Halloween on Christmas day,” kicks off the wistful Yellow Brick Roads, a sentimental love song that should affect even the most embittered cynic – a definitive valentine of a tune. Please.illuminate.me is a haunting, quirky tune with especially impassioned vocals accompanied by a single acoustic guitar.
The most powerful track is saved for last, as Good Ghosts is sure to haunt those caught in an unsure, dysfunctional type of relationship – whether it be personal or professional. Even after all the quiet lyrical devastation, Sugg emerges victorious with the big and bold lines, “So long, good luck with the rest of your life, don’t worry about me, I’ll be just fine.” A poignant, hard-hitting song that is destined to leave a lasting impression with his listeners.
The Good Years is definitely the most ambitious, fully realized project that Backseat Goodbye has ever committed to disc. Listeners of all ages should be able to relate to the songs Chad Sugg so brilliantly composes and vividly conveys. Ace Enders brought out the best of Backseat Goodbye on the previous EP The Wonder, and new producer Alex Goot proves to be a fine choice for Chad’s continuous journey of musical discovery and maturity. Marshall Lee from Ladybug Landslide provides all drums and percussive work with effective precision. One can wonder in great puzzlement why Backseat Goodbye still remains an elusive commodity even in spite of an obvious knack for writing a truly terrific song. For now, Chad Sugg and his collective work is a treasure that his many fans are sure to remember for the years to come. The Good Years could indeed be a prophetic title signifying a bright and glorious future to come in the career of Backseat Goodbye.
(Review by Kenneth Morton)
Backseat Goodbye on Myspace