This is one of Anie’s album reviews. I’ve limited myself to one sentence per song.
Who Should Buy This: American Authors fans, people who enjoy range, diversity, and discovery, and people who aren’t annoyed by banjos. (I’m not saying banjos are annoying. I’m just saying that not everybody is as sophisticated in their musical tastes. 😉)
Album: What We Live For
Artist: American Authors
Genre: alternative, pop, rock
Music Rating: 9/10
Lyrics Rating: 8/10
Sounds Like: The Lumineers, Onerepublic, Sheppard
One Sentence Summary: This album takes us on an adventurous journey detailing the heartsong of the modern-day, young adult dreamer.
Best thing About this Album: Honesty mixed with musical integrity and exploration.
One thing I wish was different: Track #4: Why are we not going with the Wendy’s version though??? Are they going to release a clean version of the album later? This is why I can’t have nice things. Yes, I’m acting like child and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
Website: American Authors
This is a playlist of all of the songs from the album that will automatically play through the whole album. To skip to a particular song, click on the menu icon in the upper left-hand corner.
1. What We Live For* – check out my thoughts on this song
This song perfectly captures the feeling of levity, freedom, and elation that is the trademark experience of road-tripping as its perfect blend of nostalgia packs a punch of excitement with something new and undiscovered.
Can’t not talk about: The delayed drop at 2:20-2:24 was so much genius.
2. I’m Born to Run*
This song is just like: YOLO!!! <<<Jk. I promise, I don’t use that in real life unless I’m referencing a twenty one pilots song.
Can’t not talk about: Springsteen reference! (It’s also very much in the spirit of “I Lived” by OneRepublic.)
African banjo vibe is a go in a celebration of identity, self-acceptance, and growing into your own.
Can’t not talk about: African banjo vibe about Brooklyn and referencing France. That happened. Also, mad props on the video. Very love.
4. Right Here Right Now* (swear word features prominently in the chorus. Not sure why. The Wendy’s version didn’t, and it was awesome!)
In an amazingly fun celebration of adventure, experience, and discovery, this song focuses on what’s most important: living in the moment and connecting with those you love.
Can’t not talk about: But why can’t we just use the Wendy’s version???
5. Nothing Better (contains swear word in the 3rd verse)
What’s so awesome about this song is that it leaves things somewhat ambiguous as to whether it’s a cutesy confession about someone who is the greatest, or a rediculously snarky jab at someone who is extremely full of themselves and quite obviously the worst.
Can’t not talk about: Why does this sound hillbilly-asian? Is that even a thing that can happen? Is it bad that I’m not mad at it? I’m just like, “Yeah! Why has nobody made a banjo/erhu band?” #JudgingMyself
6. Replaced (contains the phrase “I feel like hell”)
Slowing down significantly for the first time this album, this song is a heartbroken lament over someone who’s moved on before you were ready to let go.
Can’t not talk about: That’s okay. I wasn’t using my heart. Totally don’t need it. It’s fine. “I had all the answers. Now the questions have changed.” Also, those soaring vocals on the chorus are killer!
7. Go Big or Go Home* (contains the phrase “l’m passed out on the floor up in the hotel bar.”)
In a party anthem that feels somewhat like an inauthentic attempt to cover up truer emotions (or more likely, a reprieve from measured thought altogether), American Authors delivers dynamic, larger-than-life beats alongside some signature banjo leads and a few reggae influences sprinkled in for good measure.
Can’t not talk about: 1:43 — autotune falsetto + banjo = amazing 😍 What can I say; I’m a sucker.
8. Mess with Your Heart
Instantly drawing the mind back with references to previous tracks, this song is an answer to the insecurities of a broken heart, piecing it back together with patience, understanding, and acoustic guitar.
Can’t not talk about: Those vocals!!!!! Like, I loved Zac (as an artist) before, but it’s getting a little ridiculous now. 😍
9. No Love
Kicking into the next gear, a slightly more electronic sound profile bumps the beat of your heart in a refreshingly optimistic take on the uncertainty that comes from sedentary relationships and “falling out of love”.
Can’t not talk about: Totes reminds me of the latest Ready Set album (which is 1,000% unexpected and wonderful)
10. Pocket Full of Gold
Fast-paced, sunshine folky music with attitude skips along unapologetically in the pursuit of happiness and the certainty that life will go on.
Can’t not talk about: When I listen to this song, I’m a blissful baby Hobbit frolicking through the Shire with a ukulele and a pint of root beer. Or I could’ve just said it reminded me of that one Avicii song. Yeah. Cause, you know, they have a similar flute synth and stuff. I’m totally a normal human being. I promise. Love me! 😉
Finally breaking down in exhaustion under the weight and pressures of life, this song looks inward to find strength and faith within oneself as somber electric piano and persistent drums lay the musical foundation.
Can’t not talk about: That guitar solo though.
12. Mind Body Soul
Purposefully throwing you off kilter with a pseudo-drone effect, this transcendent track is an internalized struggle with personal identity, family, life choices, and morality.
Can’t not talk about: It’s quite an evolution from “If I’m a sinner, then I don’t feel ashamed” two tracks ago to “I need forgiveness from anyone’s Lord”
Conclusion: The journey from beginning by embarking on a confident adventure, bright eyes full of hope and a longing for discovery to the ending at uncertainty, fear, and questioning the path you’ve taken is such an honest progression that resonates as a true mimicry of life and growing up, offering range and diversity.
Denotes my favorites
* Denotes songs released as singles
Click here to read through American Authors lyrics (including songs from this album).