Commuter Music: ‘Who We Are,’ Lifehouse

lifehouse-whoweareThis week’s winner is Lifehouse, an alternative rock band that emulates Pearl Jam and the Goo Goo Dolls. For a long time I disliked Lifehouse, simply because I thought they weren’t upbeat enough for my taste. But on a Monday morning, I rummaged through my brother’s collection of rock albums, searching for new commuter music.

Since I haven’t listened to Lifehouse in a while (ever since I decided I disliked its sound), I appropriated one of the band’s older albums, Who We Are. Lifehouse is one of my brother’s favorite bands, and we typically enjoy the same music, so I thought I might as well give them a chance.

The basics: This is the fourth album released by American alternative rock band Lifehouse in 2007, and it successfully resists the mainstream move toward power chords and pop-sounding rock while maintaining its low-profile, mature rock sound and talented songwriting.

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Why it’s good: I’m a fan of mellow albums for commutes. This is a mellow album, but still emotionally-charged. Nuff said.

Recommendations: While the whole album flows nicely, I think “Who We Are” is best broken up into shorter, 15-minute drives.

The Rundown: The first track is “Disarray,” aptly titled, as it is quite angsty and more upbeat than typical Lifehouse songs (I guess that’s what hooked me). From there Lifehouse descends into its natural habitat with “The First Time”—a moving ballad about first love—and “Whatever It Takes”—the song that reminds us love is worth fighting for—capitalizing on surging melodies, tender love songs, sensitive lyrics, and emotional vocals, all without going over the top. While Lifehouse is definitely not a boy band, they manage to incorporate all the elements of a good boy band without losing control. Other tracks worth noting are “Broken,” in which frontman Jason Wade mourns his breakup by re-declaring his love; “Bridges,” one of the few rock songs which admits blame on both sides of a breakup; and “Learn You Inside Out,” a love song dedicated to comforting and encouraging your loved one as he/she confronts his demons.

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