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on June 25, 2003
I had bought both previous albums from Train and I only minimally enjoyed them. I mean, there were a few songs that I enjoyed from each beyond the radio hits, like "Free," from the self-titled record, and "It's about You," from Drops of Jupiter, but the overall tone of each collection did not suit me. The self-titled album sounds a lot like country music to me; I don't know. I was nearly going to pass up buying "My Private Nation" just because I rarely listen to the other two.
I'm glad I bought it, though. This record is great. Call me shameful if you want for liking the more "pop-y" sound to it, but I don't care. The radio single, "Calling All Angels," although starting to get overplayed in the SF Bay Area (but I suppose that's to be expected), is good. "Save the Day" has a cool melody line in the chorus. My absolute favorite is "All American Girl." Good lyrics, good song. This is totally worth buying.
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on September 21, 2003
Calling all 40-somethings who were teenagers in the early to mid-1970s. If you think most of the popular music on pop stations now is junk (I said "most", not all), you have to hear this CD by Train. I had never heard of Train. They have appeared on a couple of late night shows lately, but I didn't stay to watch. Well, I started hearing a song on the radio titled "Calling All Angels," and the rest is history. I bought the CD yesterday and have listened to it twice all the way through. There is not one song on this CD that I don't like. "Calling all angels," "Get to me," "following rita", "your every color", and "I'm about to come alive", are my favorites right now, but every song is good.
I know being in my 40s won't help sell this to teenagers, but I have to get the word out to my generation. This is a great album. This is music!
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on June 4, 2003
Train's third album, "My Private Nation," could rank as their best.
From the strong opening (first single) "Calling All Angels" to the heartfelt closing "I'm About to Come to Life," this disc is packed with heartfelt yet humorous lyrics, marvelous musical and vocal work, and great beats that will get your foot tapping.
Train hasn't abandoned their sound with this release, though it is slightly different than their last release, "Drops of Jupiter." "When I Look to the Sky," "Following Rita," "Lincoln Avenue," and "I'm About to Come to Life" are perhaps the most similar to the "Drops" disc.
Highlights are "Get to Me" (Go on/hitch a ride/on the back of a butterfly/no better way to fly/to get to me) "Counting Airplanes" (I don't spend my time with anyone/who doesn't think I'm wonderful/or somewhat cash refundable at times), and "When I look to the Sky" (When I look to the sky/something tells me you're here with me/you make everything all right), and "Save the Day," (hey baby/I don't wanna be your superman/i just wanna be your man/and I'll be super, baby).
""All American Girl," "My Private Nation," "I'm About to Come to Life" and "Your Every Color" are also standouts (they all are, to be honest).
Lead singer Pat Monahan delivers another great disc of raw vocal talent (for me, he's the highlight), delving into the depths of each song, interpreting the lyrics with a heartfelt earnestness.
Though Train had a slight parting of ways midway through the process of recording this album (Hotchkiss did help write about half of the disc for the hard-core fans who were wondering), the sound and music don't suffer.
"My Private Nation" is a fully non-skip album (listen to it all the way through at least once). It's a great follow up to "Drops," and definitely does NOT disappoint. Each song is superb and the entire collection is one that you'll want to listen to over and over again--definitely pick it up.
This band has staying power; the combination of soulful lyrics, a soulful voice, and great musicians isn't easy to find. Keep it up, guys!
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on June 10, 2003
Train has come a long way since the days of their first CD, when I hunted all over town to find it after hearing "Meet Virginia -- " I figured that that one track was worth buying an entire CD for, but discovered that the rest of it was just as solid. It was a great mix of radio-friendly hooks with some originality; not an album totally made for radio play, like most bands of their genre are known to put out. Drops of Jupiter took a step further, and was an impressive second effort -- they complemented each other well, with the latter building on the former.
After a number of trips through through My Private Nation, I have to say that while it is more than listenable from beginning to end, there is no new ground broken here, and towards the middle the CD seems to just drone a little. "Get to Me" and "Counting Airplanes" both reference planes, and I was disappointed to discover that on my first listen, I thought the two were the same song! It is usual Train, but I was hoping for a little more development. The best songs are the bookends of the CD ("Calling all Angels" and "I'm About to Come Alive") but I was hoping for a little more substance through the rest. Worth a listen, and if you like their style, worth a purchase, but it will not totally impress you.
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on January 6, 2004
Train's third release, My Private Nation, is the band's finest album to date. This disc contains some of the strongest adult pop-rock made today, consisting of many memorable hooks and skillful album production.
Train has assembled several incredibly infectious tunes on this album, beginning with the opening anthem "Calling All Angels" - who can resist this Top 40 hit with one of the most stirring choruses of 2003? Soaring, colorful choruses are Train's mantra, as they demonstrate again here. The title track includes a stomping, powerful chorus, perhaps the sweetest spot of the album - at 3:22, however, the tune ends too abruptly. An additional 40 seconds developing and repeating the chorus on "My Private Nation" would have been choice. "When I Look to the Sky" is another gem, a song that has already made it big on the charts, and the CD bears a twelfth (hidden) track containing a second version of this tune (which is NOT overkill for this majestic song). "Get to Me" boasts another delightful chorus, rhythmically recited with a catchy beat.
Having said all that, why would I only give this album four stars? Good question. I've spent quite a bit of time listening to this album to think of how I might review it. Despite the great tunes identified above, I couldn't justify a five-star rating. I asked myself if I have some kind of bias against Train. I concluded that I don't. This album contains a lot of "filler" material, songs that are lackluster at best. Because forgettable songs equal the number of memorable ones on this album, in objectivity I have to downgrade the album's overall rating to four stars.
Train is apparently a band that has sacrificed its potential artistically for success commercially. With enormous songs like "Calling All Angels," "Drops of Jupiter," or even "Meet Virginia," Train has shown they have the talent to write and craft amazing songs. On albums, however, the band is content including a limited number of such masterworks, accompanied by a slew of filler material. The tracks intended to be hit singles are meticulously written, fully developed musically, and immaculately produced, and most importantly they follow the band's established commercially viable sound. Those made-for-radio songs will hit the Top 40 and sell the album. The rest of the album doesn't seem to matter, so Train loads up the remaining space with second-rate music. This is why Train doesn't reach the heights of a truly great band - their albums simply don't stack up musically. It's impossible to listen to My Private Nation as a whole and say "WOW." But you can say that hearing a few tracks, and those make the album worth its price. The unfortunate thing is that Train has the potential to be an authentically great band, both commercially and musically, if they applied more artistic effort to their complete body of music. This would require a philosophical change, so we may not ever see it. Only time will tell... But we can be sure this commercially savvy band (and its record company) will release another album before My Private Nation has faded too far from our memory.
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on June 7, 2003
I have been a big Train fan for years and was eagerly awaiting the release of this CD. When I first listened to it, I thought it was OK, nothing really jumped out at me. I continued to listen to it for the next 4 days and now I absolutely love it. The lyrics are amazing and the music is great. Calling All Angels is a great track, but the one that blows me away is "I'm About to Come Alive." It is absolutely incredible.
If you are a Train fan, you must go out and buy this album. Make sure you give a couple of listens before judging it, it will definitely grow on you.
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on July 9, 2003
Train is the kind of band that is growing and developing so quickly that it becomes difficult to compare My Private Nation to Drops of Jupiter. I would say that the album definetely has less diversity than their previous work, but some of the songs definitely prove the band's hold on music. I wouldn't label "Calling All Angels" the best track on the CD. Musically, its very basic and a bit boring. From what I've heard other people say about the album, it seems to me that songs like "All American Girl", "My Private Nation" and "Following Rita" are grossly overlooked. If you're a fan of real music, you'll probably end up congregating around these songs. Train definetely has found a sound, which is that fast-talk heard on songs like "It's About You" and "Whipping Boy", but I think they've played it out on this record. This monotony is more than made up for by the last four songs. The bridge of "Your Every Color" is a musical masterpiece and "Lincoln Avenue" has Paul McCartney and Wings written all over it. "I'm About To Come Alive" is a definite look back at their older songs like "Homesick." I'm more than interested to see where Train goes next.
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on December 28, 2004
I think this CD is great. There isn't one song on it that I can't stand to listen to. There is definately variety throughout the CD and some thought-provoking lyrics. Not the best lyrics I've ever heard, but some of them are great. My favorite Train songs are not on this CD, but they are still pretty good songs. They seem to have an edgy country boy thing going on. I tend to like the quieter songs more than the edgier "rockier" ones for some reason. I must say none of the songs capture what Drops of Jupiter had. All in all, a good disk, I recommend it.

1. Calling All Angels - overplayed on the radio, so I don't really like it anymore, but if I was hearing it for the first time I would say it's one of the best on the CD. It's my dad's (50 years old) favorite. One of the more serious songs on the CD.

2. All American Girl - seems to be about the same girl in Meet Virginia - ha ha! It's quite an upbeat song, and catchy. The lyrics don't seem to make a ton of sense, but whatever.

3. When I Look to the Sky - another song I used to love, but I've heard it too many times now. It seems to be trying to be as good as Drops of Jupiter, but it doesn't quite get there. It's a really awesome song, regardless. I love Pat's vocals in it. It shows what a good singer he is.

4. Save the Day - this one's alright once you get into it. It picks up and gets better, but I don't like the beginning. I catch myself singing the chorus sometimes, and I'm a girl. Ha ha! "Hey baby, I don't want to be your superman, I just want to be your man and I'll be super, baby."

5. My Private Nation - probably one of the edgiest songs. I like it a lot. I can't quite put my finger on what it's about; maybe I'm just not going into it deep enough.

6. Get to Me - catchy, I like the rhyming in it. I'm not totally crazy about this song...it's okay.

7. Counting Airplanes - this one's one of my favorites. Someone said the lyrics are dumb, yeah, at times, but big deal. The chorus is the best part. It does make sense if you get past the dumb lyrics at the beginning. It has a melancholy feel to it, which I like.

8. Following Rita - this is really great to listen to. Makes me wonder who "Rita" is. It seems to capture the spirt of a young guy trying to figure things out.

9. Your Every Color - a very unique and catchy song. The lyrics are really interesting. "I can see the red, white and free in you, you light the night up like the moon, and underneath your clouds I see the gloom." It has a lazy feel to it, but it isn't boring.

10. Lincoln Avenue - another melancholy, kind of sad song. It's a great song. Another favorite of mine. I like the vocals in it.

11. I'm About to Come Alive - I think this is 2nd favorite, after When I Look to the Sky. A little less sad than Lincoln Avenue, but it has sort of the same theme. It has kind of soothing thump thump thump instrumentals, if that makes any sense. A great song to finish off the CD.

At the end there is an alternative version of When I look to the Sky. I don't notice much difference between this and the original. I think the vocals are a little different. I have compared the two just now on the computer and this one also has different keyboarding or piano (whatever it is) at the beginning and throughout the song.
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on August 14, 2004
I feel sorry for Gavin Edwards, the poor RS reviewer is totally out of his depth when it comes to talking about real music. He may be better off covering limp bizkit or linkin park. If anyone wants a bunch of 11 songs that you can listen to over and over and not get sick off them; this album is for you. It took about 6-7 listens for me to even start liking this album but now everytime I hear it i like it even more.

"Counting Airplanes" is brilliant, just when you think that it cant get better they have this awesome bridge..."When you're up between the new sky line.."

"I'm about to come alive" is probably the most amazing ballad out since def leppards "two steps behind"

Some of Trains' song definitely have a Beatles influence in them; "Lincoln Avenue" is one and this was even true of their last album.

And for all you ppl who think the lyrics are too cheesy probably felt macho enuf to hear def leppard and bon jovi 8 yrs back. Ive got news for you guys..that was cheesy too!! You better burn all their records as well now boys!
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on November 30, 2003
At first listen I thought, "well, it's good but no Drops of Jupiter". But the genius of this album is that it creeps up on you until you can't stand a day without listening to it! I agree with the reveiwers that said there was no real "single" on this album. You listen to the whole thing. I don't agree with the comments on the production, yeah, it's a little slick but not distracting in any way. Pat Monahan's vocals are getting better everday, the man is truely an amazing and underrated rock singer. When he sings 'When I look to the Sky', it gives me goosebumps. There are plenty of fun songs here too, "All American Girl" and "Save The Day"...not as fun as "She's on Fire" from the last CD but definitly worth a listen. The first half of the album should satisfy fans of 'Jupiter' while the second half bridges the gap between this and the Debut Cd. All in all, definitly one of the best cd's of the year! I can't wait til Train comes to town again, I am going to be the first in line!
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