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Weight Is a Gift

4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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The Weight Is A Gift
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Audio CD, September 13, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The follow-up to 2003's masterpiece, Let Go, is a perfect pop album sure to alleviate the growing breathless anticipation among long-term fans and recent converts. It carries on the contemplative tone that characterized much of Let Go with tracks of heartrending beauty, introspection, wit, and often deceptively dark lyrics, while also displaying the band's penchant for pure pop melody. Produced by Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie, The Decemberists, The Thermals). Barsuk. 2005.

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Produced with Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla, The Weight is a Gift is a less elliptical musical offering than Let Go. Just as that 2003 recording put Nada Surf back on the map, after several years stuck in post-major label limbo, their fourth full-length proves its success was no fluke. As before, singer/guitarist Matthew Caws is as much lovesick dreamer as pop culture junkie. Last time around, he was extolling the pleasures of Blonde on Blonde, now it's Paris, Texas ("Comes a Time") and "Lenny Bruce's Bug Eyes" ("Imaginary Friends"). Ultimately though, it's the more emotionally direct material that leaves the biggest impression, like "Your Legs Grow" and "Always Love" (the only song that sounds a little like Death Cab). The one exception would be the fuzzed-out, but still poppy "The Blankest Year," which deviates into darker territory, like the Hollies covering Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life." --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Concrete Bed
  2. Do It Again
  3. Always Love
  4. What Is Your Secret?
  5. Your Legs Grow
  6. All Is a Game
  7. Blankest Year
  8. Comes a Time
  9. In the Mirror
  10. Armies Walk
  11. Imaginary Friends


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 13, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Barsuk
  • ASIN: B000AMJD9W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,552 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Matthew Caws understands the value of hardship and speaks of it so eloquently it moves me every time I listen to "The Weight is a Gift". Ever asked yourself the age-old question, "why do bad things happen to good people" or "why me"? Ever think about personal responsibility in regards to your feelings? This cd may bring comfort and answers. It does so for me.

But that was not my first impression upon listening to this cd. After the first listen I was so-so about it; basic, well-crafted pop that would likely gather dust on the shelf. But instead of blowing it off I kept listening and Nada Surf pulled me in. It's very well recorded, the band plays great and Caws has a wonderful voice, and all this leading to a performance that is more than the sum of it's parts. Now I cannot listen to "Weight" without being moved.

There is a lifetime of experience in these 11 songs and Nada Surf lays it out ever so eloquently. In regards to both the music and the metaphor, believe it: the weight IS a gift.
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Format: Audio CD
For those expecting "Let Go" Part II...

You may be surprised.

Gone are the hallowed introspection, moody musings and indie-production that made Let Go shine. On this new LP, I don't see the harrowing grace that was "Fruit Fly" or the wispy and up-front melancholia that was "Blonde on Blonde."

I do see a fine new LP that's more direct, more clear, more "sunny" pop sounding, yet still retains the trademark Nada Surf songcraft and wit.

I'm still mulling over the new disc, but have very good impressions on the different direction this new title takes.

The guitars are sharp and more "direct". There's less "air" to the songs -- tighter constructions rather than blissful melodies that take time to develop or those that refrain over-and-over (and often collapse on itself).

Lyrics are as wonderful as ever (e.g. - the weight is a gift line is simply great), vocals = more upfront.

If this signals the beginning of a great musical '05 fall, I'm all for it.
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Format: Audio CD
Before I write anything, you must understand how much I love Nada Surf's previous album, "Let Go". I would certainly put it in my Top 20 favorite albums of all-time. Whenever you have a situation like that, you cross your fingers that their next album can be nearly as good. Well, I would go so far to say it's better, but in a different way. It's like a companion piece to "Let Go". They didn't dramatically change their sound like some bands might do after a huge hit when they are afraid of being compared to their previous effort. As I listened to "The Weight is a Gift", I kept wondering: "Could this band ever go wrong?"

Upon first listen, the album sounds much more "poppy" and "cheerful" then "Let Go" as a whole. This tone is set from the get go with "Concrete Bed", with it's lush vocals and breezy guitar. But the more I listen to the remaining songs, the more they resemble the tone of "Let Go". There are more mid-tempo, concise rock/pop songs and fewer ballads compared to "Let Go". It's really hard to pick a standout song, because they are all solid. I would probably pick "What is Your Secret?". I think the reason is because of the catchy lyrics that permeate this entire album....such as: "Our movies don't play much anymore/the actress was fired". Or my personal favorite phrase (from "Imaginary Friends"): "Lenny Bruce's bug eyes."

Recently I have been inundated with new music and most albums I am lucky to listen to one time in its entirety. However, I have probably listened to this album at least 10 times since I got it 2 weeks ago. I have only two somewhat negative things to say about the album. (1) If you are put off by bad language in songs, you might not enjoy "The Blankest Year", in which the f-word is repeated several times.
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Format: Audio CD
The latest album from Nada Surf is a great follow-up to what will most likely be they're finest album of the band's career in 2002's "Let Go." The new album is stock full of the wonderful pop songcraft that Matthew Caws is becoming even better at as he ages along with his bandmates. I'll admit the first listen through wasn't as captivating as I'd hope, but after repeated listens it grew on me. Nada Surf is a band that should be around for another ten years which would be a great thing because with each album they show another side of them which results in stunning indie pop/rock.
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As a person who likes indy rock, it is hard for me to often let co-workers and friends sample different bands. Not because I want to horde all the "cool music" in hopes that while sitting at an art opening I can say something like, "have you heard of said cool band?" Truthfully, I want to share the music that I have found with everyone; however, when I do so, most people think that the music is too strange and off beat from what they normally listen to. Nada Surf's The Weight is a Gift is a collection of good pop/indy rock tunes that anyone can enjoy. There are no heavy guitar riffs, no raspy vocals, just a pure, steady rock sound with lots of creativity and heart. So next time you are at the water cooler talking about music, tell your cubicle buddy about Nada Surf, because everyone can relate to good music.
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