Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Ryan Star's 11:59 Now Available

One of the biggest reasons why people don't buy albums anymore is because you can cherry-pick the individual tracks you like and just buy those instead of buying the whole album and never listening to more than a few of the tracks. I'm more of an album buyer than single buyer, but it's still pretty rare to find a CD filled with tracks I know and love. Dropping this week is one of those rare don't-skip-a-song CDs for me - Ryan Star's 11:59.

(Disclaimer: I've been a huge Ryan Star fan for four years and have been waiting for this CD forever, but in all objectivity here, this is a fantastic CD.)

Buy 11:59 on iTunes
Buy 11:59 (Deluxe Version) on iTunes (includes 3 bonus tracks + 3 music videos)
Buy 11:59 on Amazon.com

Ryan's biggest hit so far is "Breathe", which has hit Top 15 on the Mediabase HAC charts, but you may have heard a few other songs on the CD, especially if you have seen him on tour in the past few years, with David Cook or solo. "Brand New Day" is the theme song for the Fox drama Lie To Me. The romantic-sounding "Last Train Home" was on the P.S. I Love You soundtrack and got a few spins on radio last year. "This Could Be The Year" and "Right Now" have been used on TV for sports montages and commercials. And if you watched Rock Star: Supernova when Ryan was a contestant, you'll remember "Back of Your Car" (on the deluxe version) from the week he sang an original song.

There are a few other reworked tracks of songs Ryan has recorded in the past - "We Might Fall" and "Losing Your Memory" also get makeovers. "Losing Your Memory" is the song that reeled me in, and I didn't think I could love it more, but this recorded version is EPIC. The instrumentation and the build-up in the bridge is so awesome. "We Might Fall" also has much more instrumentation compared to the last recorded version that I'm still getting used to, but it was always one of my favorites from the Songs from the Eye of an Elephant CD.

Another song that sounds different than what I was used to is "11:59", which is the first new song I ever heard from Ryan after Rockstar, back in 2006. I was there the second time he ever played the song, at the House of Blues in Anaheim, and he played it acoustic, just him and his guitar. I definitely have a soft spot for the stripped-down version, and the first time I heard the song the way it's recorded, I kind of went :|. But I got over it pretty quickly when I listened to it on the CD. It's just straight-up an awesome song lyrically, thematically and melodically. It's the perfect ending song to the album (if you don't have the deluxe version, that is!), wrapping up all the carpe diem themes from the previous songs with this one where he finds his moment, his 11:59.

As far as the relatively new songs go (i.e. the ones I hadn't heard until they popped up on Rate the Music and Promosquad), "Unbreak" might need some time to grow on me. I'm finding the chorus to be a bit too predictable. I still like it though. But "Start A Fire", on the other hand ... that is a hot track and the kind of song that could potentially blow up. I really like the driving piano rock sound. Incidentally, this song was literally a last-minute addition to the CD and basically recorded in two days (ironic, considering the whole album took about four years to make!).

There are three extra songs on the deluxe version: the aforementioned "Back of Your Car", which is really something to be seen live, when Ryan brings a ridiculous amount of energy to the song; "You and Me" (written by Ryan and Raine Maida), which I fell in love with instantly the first time I heard it and a song that needs to find its way to a movie soundtrack; and "Gonna Make It Right", which is another song that sounds soundtrack-worthy (although I can say that for almost every song on this CD!).

So if you've gotten this far and still aren't convinced, go to iTunes and download "Breathe", which is the Free Single of the Week. And if you like that, I'm pretty sure you will like the rest of the CD. It's on sale right now for just $7.99 (regular version only, but you can also buy the bonus tracks individually at iTunes).

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