Friday, March 29, 2013

Album Review: All That For This, Crystal Bowersox

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The much anticipated release of Crystal Bowersox's 2nd album, All that For This is now upon us, and any fear of the sophomore jinx can be put to rest. This album is a treasure of american music, incorporating multiple genre influences and styles, yet remaining cohesive at the same time.

It's also a lot more sophisticated musically than many of you would have anticipated, but not do to overproduction or gimmicks. All That for This is as organic as Crystal herself, and runs the full emotional gamut from happy, to sad, to joyous, to pain, to thankfulness.

Below you'll find my song-by-song comprehensive summary review of the album. Hope you find it helpful and enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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Dead Weight -
Vibe: Swaying to the music with a few friends over cold beers.
Genre: Folk rock, country
Meaning: Reminder to embrace today, and not dwell on baggage from the past.
Rating: 8.5/10
The Skinny: Pleasant enough anthem with soaring harmonies.

Movin' On -
Vibe: Dining and dancing at a jazz club on date night
Genre: Jazz, blues
Meaning: Moving on from a failed relationship
Rating: 9.5/10
The Skinny: Sexy, sophisticated jazz number with some sassy brass. Love it.

Everything Falls Into Place -
Vibe: Happy, cheerful, song on a sunny day.
Genres: Pop, jazz
Meaning: The joy of unexpectedly finding love and happiness
Rating: 9.5/10
The Skinny: Infectious song that you could listen to all day. Guaranteed to make you smile.

Home - 
Vibe: Happy family day with lots of hugs and smiles
Genres: Americana, zydeco, pop, jazz
Meaning: Nothing better than coming home to your family after time away.
Rating: 9.5/10
The Skinny: Another infectiously happy song that is guaranteed to make you smile.

Someday -
Vibe: Toe tapping as tears stream down your cheeks
Genres: Folk, synth pop (How often do you see THAT combo?)
Meaning: Crystal pouring out her aching heart following the loss of her beloved friend Mark Brinkman
Rating: 10/10
The Skinny: I could do without the odd synth interlude, but Someday brings me to tears every time. Beautiful song with a great flow.

I Am -
Vibe: Alone on a warm summer night having an anxiety attack
Genres: Latin, jazz, pop
Meaning: Dealing with fears that personal flaws may screw up a relationship
Rating: 9.5/10
The Skinny: Love the latin/tropical guitar work and soft horns that add depth and richness to this tender song.

Shine -
Vibe: Digging deep to find inner strength during one of life's toughest moments
Genres: Americana, Neapolitan, Folk
Meaning: Crystal vows that despite heartache and hardship she will make her baby's life a light that shines, and the deadbeat dad who abandoned them will never know how much he missed out on.
Rating: 10/10
The Skinny: A powerful, inspiring ballad that again brings the tears every time. Love the beautiful mandolin work.

Till The Whiskey's Gone -
Vibe: Juke box song at a dive bar with some friends
Genres: Roots rock, country
Meaning: Trying to win your ex back by getting him trashed at the bar.
Rating: 8.5/10
The Skinny: A light, fun, party song to break up the heavy mood from Shine.

Amen To My Friends - 
Vibe: Singing Karaoke with your friends at a party
Genres: Americana, Pop rock
Meaning: Dedication to friends who have helped get you through life's trials and tribulations
Rating: 9/10
The Skinny: A feel good song to sing along with

Stitches -
Vibe: A night at the Grand ol' Opry
Genres: Country
Meaning: Feeling the pain of your child feeling pain
Rating: 8/10
The Skinny: Nice country duet that would have been even better if sung with Crystal's husband Brian, who happened to co-write it. Not that Jakob Dylan did a poor job, but as the old book/movie goes, it's Brian's Song.

Here's Where The Story Ends - 
Vibe - Girls having a topless pillow fight and then kissing
Genres: New Wave, Pop
Meaning: Girl reflecting on her insecurities following a breakup with her boyfriend
Rating: 7/10
The Skinny: Seems out of place on the album. Not a big fan of the 80's/90's new wave genre, and this is the one track I'll be skipping.

All That For This -
Vibe - Having drinks on the patio with an old buddy, and telling funny stories of the old days
Genres: Folk rock, Americana
Meaning: Reflecting on the long, strange trip it's been getting here with your loved one.
Rating: 9.5/10
The Skinny: Perfect ending to a great album, and the rightful title track.

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Kenny Poo scoring summary for All That For This

  • Overall grade: 90.4%
  • Overall rating: A
  • Overall Skinny: Love the album, and could not recommend it highly enough. Grammy worthy.

BTW, you can find All That For This at both iTunes and Amazon. I suggest you get a copy right away, because every music collection should have it. 

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So, what do you think of my review of Mama's LP? Agree with Poo? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below!

~Kenny Poo


  1. I thought girls having a topless pillow fight and then kissing was setting up a perfect 10. lol. I pretty much agree though would probably rate Amen a 10 and I Am and Home both 9s. I love Stitches and would give it a 9 too--would've been a 10 with Brian. -AndyB

  2. Ken- I love the review of Crystal's new Cd #ALL THAT FOR THIS!!! I love the way that you explained each of the songs.

  3. Zydeco? I will never be able to listen to Here's Where The Story Ends with out your imagery running through my mind. :)

  4. Excellent review of one of the best albums I've heard in years...

    Agree on most of your comments, except pillow fight ... altho i totally can do without that song - for the one cover on album, wish she had covered something else- no idea why Steve Berlin suggested it :(

    Esp. powerful reading your thoughts after seeing the killer show in Napa last nite, which had us hootin' and hollerin' and jumping up for at least 6 standing o's ;)

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  6. This Poo review's no poo!
    I love your reviews. A fun but accurate read. I do have one correction: Crystals beloved friend is "Mark Brink" . I agree with most of your comments too. I am with Lauri on the pillow fight though ;)
    I have one question: Why do they have to throw in a cover song? Crystal does an excellent job with it of course, but it doesn't quite fit in.
    And "Stitches" just isn't the same without Brian Walker...the magic that Brian and Crystal bring to that song together is missing :/
    I highly recommend Mama's LP too!
    And for those of you that have never heard her perform live, it's an absolute must. Her powerful voice will pick you up and carry you away!