Release Date: March 26th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- She’s On Fire
- I Wish You Would
- Drops Of Jupiter
- It’s About You
- Let It Roll
- Something More
- Whipping Boy
- It’s Love [DELUXE]
- This Is Not Your Life [DELUXE]
- Ramble On (Acoustic) [DELUXE]
- Sharks [DELUXE]
- Sweet Rain [DELUXE]
- Drops Of Jupiter (Live At The Warfield, San Francisco CA May 2001) [DELUXE]
Some albums are iconic. Some stand the test of time, and remind us all why music is so resonating, comforting, healing, impacting and influential. Some albums are special, and some albums are ones that you cherish, that you revisit time and time again. Sure, it’s fine to keep up with the latest music, but an album from the 80’s or 90’s or 2000’s that is hard-hitting and hopeful to you, may just be just as important, maybe even more so, than a successful album releasing now. And especially during tough times like an ongoing global pandemic that is ever evolving and shows no signs of letting up; I reckon we as people reach for something familiar, for something comfortable and recognisable. And sometimes it’s the songs we’ve heard time and time again, this time heard in a different light, that can inspire, encourage and spark a fire inside of us; so that we can be agents of active change all over the world. One such iconic album found its way into my Spotify playlist recently, as Train’s Drops Of Jupiter received a new life when released earlier this year as a 20th Anniversary Edition. With 6 new tracks (inclusive of the title track played live at the Warfield, San Francisco CA in May 2001- a bootleg recording!), I’ve been deeply immersed in this ‘new’ album over the past few days, and the assessment that I can now safely give is that apart from 2009’s Save Me San Francisco, the sophomore album from Pan Monahan and his friends is Train at their brilliant best, and is a must list if you’re fans of artists like Goo Goo Dolls, Lifehouse, John Mayer and Needtobreathe; or if you’re a lover of all things sentimental and nostalgic. If you want to be transported back to the 90’s in a very good way, then Drops Of Jupiter (20th Anniversary Edition) is the album for you.
Making the album Drops of Jupiter was one of the highlights of my career and I’m sure it’s the same for the others involved. From desperately trying to write songs that matter, to finally landing on a gem and having Chuck Leavell play piano on it and having Paul Buckmaster arrange the strings, it was a whirlwind of tragedy and beauty. The song itself came shortly after the loss of mother and I’m sure that she wrote it with me in a living room in Erie, PA. This album took us around the world many times and opened our eyes and hearts to the world, filling room after arena with love and full voice sing togethers. What a magical time. What a magical record to be a part of. Still in a state of gratitude. Thank you all for making it as special as it is even to this day.
Like I’ve mentioned in my previous review for Amy Grant’s Heart In Motion (30th Anniversary Edition); this ‘review’ isn’t a review. Because this album is 20 years, old, Train enthusiasts would’ve heard the 11 original tracks of Drops Of Jupiter already. Songs like “She’s On Fire”, “Something More” and the vibrant and eclectic title track are the three singles from the album, and are all timeless in their own way- in lyrical content, sound and general atmosphere that make them just plain good rock songs. Songs that transport you back in time and back to simpler times- this is what Train accomplishes when releasing these songs, especially in this album. And while Jon has blogged about Train in his blog series and I’m not as across them as I would have liked; Drops Of Jupiter nevertheless is poignant, heartfelt and moving- as these 11 songs are as cohesive and free-flowing as any album- similar in flow to John Mayer’s Continuum, The Afters’ Life Is Beautiful, Little Mix’s Glory Days, Michael W. Smith’s Live The Life and Leona Lewis’ Spirit to name a few. Other songs from Train that have resonated with me from long ago include “Respect”, “Let It Roll”, “It’s About You” and “Getaway”. Yet it is the 6 bonus tracks that really take Drops Of Jupiter: 20th Anniversary Edition to the next level.
With the live version of “Drops Of Jupiter” ending the album in rousing and celebratory fashion, and adds a different kind of depth in the album; new tracks and acoustic songs pique my interest for a new Train album- maybe that’s coming this year or in 2022? “It’s Love” is a grunging rock song whereby Pat earnest laments a lost love, while simultaneously concluding that she was toxic for him and that without her, he can get back to loving and accepting himself; while “This Is Not Your Life” is a heartbreaking guitar led ballad, as Pat passionately and earnestly relays to his ex that he doesn’t understand her sometimes, but knows why she left him, as ‘…this is not your life, I know how to do it on my own…’. It’s a sad and melancholy melody, but a song nonetheless about growing up and moving on from someone that will ultimately weigh you down. The acoustic version of “Ramble On” is next and dives deep into the notion of going on a self-help and self-discovery trip in order to find the person who you are meant to be with for the rest of your life; and this song affirms the notion of getting yourself worked out first before you can truly love those around you in an effective and efficient way. While “Sharks” speaks to our baser instincts, and highlights the theme of preservation, that in essence we’re all looking after only ourselves even if we say we love people; “Sweet Rain” is a Beatles-esque melody with shades of “Hey Soul Sister” lyrically- it’s a song that hardly makes sense when you try to analyse it deeply, but a song nonetheless that reminds us of camaraderie and brotherhood, and putting friends first before potential romantic partners. At least I think that’s what the song is about…
Train have always been lyrical geniuses and musical maestros- I’ve heard a fair amount of their songs around the same time Jon was blogging about then a couple of years ago. It’s a shame they haven’t released anything really new since 2017’s a girl, a bottle, a boat, and it’s also a shame that the public haven’t resonated much with their later material. However with the unveiling of Drops Of Jupiter (20th Anniversary Edition), hopefully listeners can fall in love with Train’s no-nonsense rock again. Times are changing musically these days, with the boom of streaming services and social media… and let us hope and pray that Train reinvent themselves for a new audience while keeping their old one. I reckon they’re due for a new album in 2021 or 2022, don’t you think? So while we all wait and anticipate maybe one of the most anticipated rock ‘comebacks’; let’s dive deeper into Drops OF Jupiter (20th Anniversary Edition). It’s not the most polished album… but is one of the most necessary of the year. Well done Pat and co. for reminding me what a masterpiece should sound like!
3 songs to listen to: Drops Of Jupiter, Something More, Sweet Rain
RIYL: Goo Goo Dolls, John Mayer, Audio Adrenaline, dc Talk, Newsboys, Lifehouse, Needtobreathe