Album Review: Ed Kowalczyk – Alive
Released on Soul Whisper Records, 2010
01 – Drive
02 – The Great Beyond
03 – Grace
04 – Stand
05 – Drink (Everlasting Love)
06 – Zion
07 – In Your Light
08 – Just in Time
09 – Rome
10 – Soul Whispers
11 – Fire on the Mountain
Like any good child of the nineties, my musical library includes the basics: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Live. My mother had the folk-hippie bands of the sixties and seventies. My generation has Ed Kowalczyk.
Throwing Copper and Birds of Prey got me through many a hard night. There’s a spirituality in Ed Kowalczyk’s lyrics that reaches out beyond the general American public’s modern concept of the word. Kowalczyk does not shy from God or the universe when he sings, but his metaphors speak to the dry paths of the desert and the healing waters of rivers. He binds our souls to the Gods of Music, in whatever form we seek them
His first solo project, Alive, takes this spiritual journey to another level. Walking with the listener on a journey through the deserts down into Zion itself, he speaks of the salvation we find in peace. Not just inner peace, but the peace we will find when the fighting stops and we are able to talk through our differences. He speaks of what it means to want the world to be a better place for our children and how we need to find our passions in ourselves and translate them back into the world around us.
If there is a downside to the album, it is that many of the songs have such a similar sound that they tend to run together, making it too easy for it to fall into the “background noise” category. The music is Live-light while the lyrics are a much heavier hitting side of what he did with Live and evident of where Kowalczyk’s writing was headed over the last few Live albums.
Standouts are the single Stand, which is catchy enough to grab attention and full of the Kowalczyk power that those of us raised on Live can appreciate. The spiritual journey, Zion, gives the listener the chance to take off and fly on their own. And the album ending Fire on the Mountain puts a stamp on the entire process.
Overall, Alive is more than worth the time and money. Especially for Live fans. If this is your first introduction to a guy like Kowalczyk, this is a great beginning. I only hope that he can live into the message in his lyrics and keep growing and changing, otherwise each album will be a rehash of everything he did with Live.