BY: NICCA PANGGAT
Fast-rising Brooklyn band American Authors released their debut album Oh What A Life on March 3 amidst high anticipation following the popularity of their breakthrough single “Best Day of My Life.” So far, Oh What A Life has met a fate similar to the 2013 track, placed high up at number 12 on the iTunes Top Albums chart less than a week after its release. Oh What A Life fits into the same indie-rock genre that drove “Best Day of My Life” to its success and sews the record together seamlessly by creating a mood that carries throughout its entirety. And the upbeat mood is definitely the album’s most defining feature – all 11 tracks showcase a relentless optimism in both their lyrics and sound that give off a vibe for happy listening.
The album opens to rhythmic drumbeats and claps in “Believer,” a song that tried to match the single success of “Best Day of My Life” but never quite broke through in the same way. “Believer” features the striking sound of an acoustic guitar paired with raspy vocals within a pop-rock melody that promises better days.
“Love,” “Home,” and “Heart of Stone” are the album’s standard rock ballads and easily defined by their foot-tapping beats and catchy lyrics.
Oh What A Life takes a turn to folk with songs like “Luck,” “Trouble,” and title track “Oh What A Life.” Each one sounds like a campfire song for roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.
“Think About It” and “Ghost” are the more synth-based tracks in the lineup and stand out simply for their different yet subtly placed electronic sounds.
The track “Hit It” marks the album’s halfway point and is possibly the most lighthearted of all 11 songs. “Hit It” is fast-paced and fun, like it could be the track behind a montage of beach volleyball scenes in a comedy film. It finds itself alternatively on the FIFA 14 soundtrack as one of the automatically played songs during the game’s menu launch.
Oh What A Life manages to mix genres without creating an album that sounds choppy and disconnected at best. Instead, it has a core sound threaded through each individual track that makes the album generally enjoyable, especially when paired with the cheerful and confident attitude throughout. With “Oh What A Life,” American Authors figured out the standard formula for a good debut album – in summary, a solid effort from a solid band with wicked good potential.