5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
On the title track and opening song of their fourth album, Hawk Nelson urges its listeners to Live Life Loud. That sentiment, founding member Daniel Biro notes, is "as Hawk Nelson as Hawk Nelson can be." Live Life Loud. It's not just a matter of volume, mind you; it's a philosophy. Part of living at the extreme that title suggests is embracing all of life, accepting and even celebrating a little pain and darkness and finding a way to let it enrich life.
The album kicks off with Hawk Nelson's signature rock/punk sound with the title track, complete with cheerleaders. "Live Life Loud" reminds me of previous rock anthems "Friend Like That", "Bring `Em Out" and "California", but there is a maturity and musical diversity that really makes Live Life Loud the best overall album by Hawk Nelson from beginning to end in my opinion. "Never Enough" and "Eggshells" keep the rock going, and the guitar work has never sounded better. The band lists Jimmy Eat World as a musical influence and if you like that rock/punk sound combined with spiritual lyrics, this album is for you.
Catchy first single "Meaning of Life" continues the search for significance, harmoniously determining to "start today for a new beginning...find a way to make a change in all of us who need to find the meaning of life". The song reminds me of some of my favorite more pop-style songs recorded by Hawk Nelson, including "From Underneath", "Everything You Ever Wanted" and "One Little Miracle". The message of "Meaning of Life" is that we need to stand-out and not blend in with the crowd. We should be bold with our faith, Christians need to make a difference in our world. Next song "Alive" is about losing one's self and serving others. Another highlight for me is the song "Shaken" which includes some convicting lyrics "Open my eyes and help me see there's a world outside of me...Lord use me take me where You want me to go".
The second half of the album includes some more reflective songs including "Lest We Forget", a great cover of the hymn "Tis So Sweet" with guest vocals by Jenn Helvering (Sandi Patty's daughter), and the touching closing song "The Final Toast", written about Jason Dunn's grandfather. If you've liked previous albums by Hawk Nelson, you'll love Live Life Loud.
This is the best overall album by Hawk Nelson in my opinion. For me the standout songs are "Live Life Loud", "Never Enough", "Meaning of Life", "Alive", "Shaken" and "Tis So Sweet". If you like rock/punk like Jimmy Eat World, FM Static and Stellar Kart, then you can't go wrong with Live Life Loud by Hawk Nelson.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2009
Hawk Nelson no doubt has talent, but since their debut they kind of stuck to the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. Fortunately, this time around they change things up a little. For example there is a guest vocal appearance of TobyMac on Eggshells, an interesting string arrangement to the contemplative rocker Meaning Of Life, a remake of an old hymn, and a funny song about Hawk Nelson's favorite hockey team winning the Stanley Cup. Throughout the entire album there is a near perfect balance of seriousness and fun. Although not a candidate for best album of the year, it is still a fun listen. 3.5/5.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2009
After a first listen I can definitely say I liked this album. There's a lot of variety across it, with slower songs and the bands more traditional pop/rock/punk sound. Not all of the songs are great, but they're all good. Some of them, like Ode to Lord Stanley are definitely intended to be funny and make sense for a band from Ontario. 'Tis So Sweet is a great praise song that shows they have stuck to their Christian ideals. Live Life Loud starts by making you unsure of what you're going to get and then really gets into the groove. Never Enough is a great song that is easy to listen to again.
If you haven't heard this band before their first two albums, Letters to the President and Smile, It's the End of the World are probably a better spot to start with, but this one is better than their third album, Hawk Nelson Is My Friend.
Hawk Nelson is pop. There, I said it. They are also one of the biggest-selling Christian rock bands around. Their last CD debuted at #34 on the Billboard 200 and at #13 on the iTunes top hundred chart. Their latest release, Live Life Loud, threatens to do better.
Hawk Nelson's pop rock sound is infectious, especially if you spend time around teenagers who seem to be playing them all the time. The songs get caught in your head, and you find yourself humming the melody for hours. They are outstanding musicians, and their live shows are high-energy and entertaining.
So why is this the first Hawk Nelson CD I've ever owned? Two words -- shallow lyrics. Hawk Nelson's target audience goes for fairly mundane lyrics, things that don't require much thought. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I left that stage of my life behind years ago; I like a bit more content with my music now, thankyouverymuch. And while Live life Loud won't be confused with more cerebral rock releases, Hawk Nelson is finally getting out of the kiddie end of the pool and starting to venture out beyond the floating ropes into the deep end.
What am I talking about? I'm talking about songs like "Never Enough," dealing with typical inadequacies that everyone feels, but especially in trying to hear what God is saying to us. Then there's "Shaken," a song about understanding the problems beyond our own experiences, outside of our borders. It's something that Hawk Nelson is taking seriously; they've partnered with TOMS shoes. Not only does TOMS shoes give a pair of shoes away for every pair purchased, but right now when you buy the shoes through Hawk Nelson's store (or the link above), TOMS will donate eight dollars to the Hands & Feet Orphanage in Haiti. Hawk Nelson is serious about living their lives out loud.
That's not to say that the CD isn't fun -- long time fans of Hawk Nelson don't have to worry about that. The title song is a typical pop rock anthem that will have the teens bouncing in the crowd at every concert Hawk Nelson plays, and "Ode to Lord Stanley" is simply a fun tribute to the Calgary Flames hockey team. There's plenty for fans to enjoy here.
I have to say, though, that my favorite cut on the CD (and this is where you'll be able to tell I'm old) has to be "'Tis So Sweet." I'm a sucker for re-imagined hymns, and this one is particularly well done, especially the extended chorus -- "You're the shelter in the storm/You're the dearest friend I know/Oh light of the world, carry me home."
I guess the only thing I didn't really like was the 3D packaging. It was great up until my three-year-old took my 3D glasses and lost them. But while I had the glasses, I enjoyed this neat idea -- pictures of the band and even the song lyrics are all printed in the famous red and blue that works so well with the enclosed glasses.
on September 30, 2009
I've been somewhat of a fan of Hawk Nelson since Smile, It's The End of The World back in 2006. While not overly heavy on substantive lyrics, the sound of the band was irresistible, and I found myself using that album as a mood-pick-me-up on a semi-regular basis for a while.
I bought, but was not overwhelmed by, Hawk Nelson is My Friend in 2008. In fact, I believe I listened to the album about 5 times, and haven't listened to it since. No songs on that album grabbed me at all. I'm not entirely sure why, but that's where I was on the band as I popped in their newest, Live Life Loud, which just released last week.
I have to admit, I wasn't completely optimistic when I was greeted by some cheerleaders trying to pump me up on the title track, which opens the album. Quickly, though, the Hawk Nelson I had enjoyed from the past was back, serving up sweet guitar riffs, ridiculously catchy choruses, and great harmonies. "Never Enough," which follows, provides more of the same.
"Eggshells" is an interesting change of pace, with lyrics pondering the power of our words and the effect they can have on sensitive listeners. "Meaning of Life" incorporates a subtle amount of strings, before settling in with an acoustic verse structure and extremely catchy chorus. The strangest song of the album is easily "Ode To Lord Stanley." It utilizes a ukulele (yes, a ukulele) Jason Dunn sings the praises of his Detroit Red Wings and their triumph in the NHL Playoffs. Quirky if nothing else.
I think my favorite song on the album, however, was "Shaken." Incorporating 80s-like guitar riffs and powerful lyrics, the band showcases their increasing maturity here. "I've been shaken, from my head on down to my toes. Lord, use me; take me where you want me to go. I can't help it, my heart has been replaced with a face. I'm ready; these hands are dedicated to change."
The album closes with a beautiful, bag-pipe-driven rendition of "Tis So Sweet," a classic hymn given a modern take. The song builds to a perfect crescendo near the end and is quite powerful. It works very well. This is followed by an acoustic "Final Toast" to a deceased or departed friend. It's somber, but simultaneously hopeful.
Overall, Live Life Loud is Hawk Nelson's best work to date. The music and lyrics have a maturity that wasn't nearly as prominent on past releases. The guys seem to have really settled into who they are, and there's a conspicuous confidence in both the sound and lyrical content. I'm back on the bandwagon, as this album has been getting multiple plays on my iPod the last couple weeks. Nothing monumental here, but extremely enjoyable rock sure to satisfy establish fans and win new ones as well.
on September 23, 2009
In my top 5 most anticipated Christina music albums this came at #4, and I wondered if Hawk Nelson could keep up with their momentum-based music. The answer? Not really. It has its moments, but none of them are exactly memorable, and they seem to have lost something in-between albums. It's not bad, but it's not exactly up to the par of the band's previous albums, and any fan of Christian radio should find at least one thing to like about the album.
The Meaning of Life
'Tis So Sweet
Eggshells seems to be the highlight this time around, with a good mix of rock and acoustic elements. It's even catchy, even if the chorus does seem a bit disjointed. Alive is probably the biggest musical shift for the band, sound like a Thousand Foot Krutch song, it seems perfectly made for Christian Rock radio. The Job sounds a lot like their material from the last album, and it's a pretty fun listen.
Probably the strangest moment of the album, and there's a lot of them, is the "Ballad of Lord Stanley," which is about a Lord named Stanley, to the tune of something resembling Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours." You've never heard a pop/rock band tackle reggae before, have you? Didn't think so. 'Tis So Sweet is a great take on the classic hynm, and how many pop/rock bands have you heard that use bagpipes? Didn't think so.
But for all that it does right, it's has major issues with its sound. While it's largely new for the band, it's almost a greatest hits of what's popular in Christian radio nowadays. Sometimes it works, but especially with songs like "Shaken" and "Lest We Forget," it comes off as very generic, but with good lyrics. Hawk's strong suit was never ballads, and they've always had problems when they slowed down, and that's the whole last half of the album. Upon my sister's first listen to the album, by the time a song would finish, she'd have memorized and sing along with the chorus, during her first listen. This either means the album is very catchy, or the album is very predictable/simple.
Let it be known, when Hawk loses their adrenaline, which made them in the beginning, the results are less than stellar. In "Hawk Nelson Is My Friend," I felt the band had found their sound, and they just needed a bit more consistency in the quality. Instead it moves away from the previous sound, opting for something a bit more pleasing. The album cover has the image of 3D glasses, but instead of coming alive, it seems to be largely hindered by its 2D radio-friendly qualities.
on September 29, 2009
I've always been a fringe Hawk Nelson fan - listened to a song or two from their previous albums, skipped some, listened to others. So when I saw this album on sale at a Christian bookstore, I hemmed and hawed before buying it. I finally decided to, and could not be happier that I did.
Put it in my car on the way home, and fell in love.
Starts out with a teenage girl chant in the song "Live Life Loud" that reminded me of being surrounded by teenage girls at CreationFest 09 - but the song was catchy, and the album only got better from there.
A few particular highlights for me are "The Meaning of Life" and "'Tis So Sweet." Both songs are a little different from the average expectation, which makes them pleasant to the ears.
I'm a huge fan of having the actual album, and this one was a treat. It came with 3D glasses, and all the pictures inside are in 3D. Definitely a creative and fun album.
on November 7, 2010
It had been awhile since i had bought a hawk nelson cd since i only have the Smile its the end of the world Cd. This cd is very similar to that one which is very good, and it is a bit more mature. Some songs on the cd sound a bit untraditional, but in a good way. The cd is a bit hard to like at first as some songs do not seem to flow, or even sound good. But once you know the lyrics (which does not take long, they are catchy) you will be singing right along and loving them. Only one song is a but strange and out of plac eon the record, but its relatively short, and therefore does not take away from the album. If you are considering getting this, especially since the price is getting lower, go for it you will enjoy it!!!!
on October 20, 2009
I was really worried when "Friend like that" came out, not that it was a down-right horrible album, but it wasn't hawk nelson as I've known them. But his album brings you right back to how we remember the band at the beginning. You can see that their theme is ministry which seemed to be lacking is the last two albums. Hawk Nelson has won my heart back over, buy the CD, you'll fine a few really great songs that'll bring back a few memories of band's first & second album.
on July 15, 2014
This is a little different than most of Hawk Nelsons stuff but let me tell you i am very impressed with this. Great guitars, great vocals, everything about this album is great. This is probably their most mature album not that much Comical songs on this one. My favorite songs are Live Life Loud, Eggshells, The Job, Shaken, and Lest We Forget. Great album.