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OLD (2003)
Old - Click to view!When your life is over, are people going to look at you as an example or as a warning? This question is a serious one, one that has been pondered from age to age. None of us would choose to be the warning, but history is chock full of proof that intentions don't equal results.

Starflyer 59's latest release, Old, is both an example and a warning. Its musical clarity and originality give a grand example of rock music performed well. And the message, which is just as clear, tells the story of a man whose life is a warning. Who is this man? He is, in a word, everyman. In this incarnation he is a rock star, but he easily slips into the suit of an actor, a technological wizard, a real estate agent, a lawyer, and so on. Our tale is not told as gossip, but as a lesson to all who will in time grow old.

"Underneath" is the narrator's introduction to the story, telling of a "trail where the dead sleep." The tone does not lighten for "Major Awards," the track that introduces us to our protagonist. Grumbling about life, he wishes that he had been dealt a happier hand. All indecision is left behind in "Loved Ones," which shows our warning leaving to start a new life, one without hassles, friends, or family. How does he want to view these past loved ones? "Passengers" gives us the answer: "When I look back / I want to be like the passengers / that wave goodbye." Night falls over the daylight, and anger replaces any light feelings in "The Light's On." There is no turning back now, and our man walks out the door into "New Wife, New Life." Things look better now, but age begins to creep up on our character, leading him to bluntly state the truth: "We're all getting old." He begins to deteriorate, but fights the truth in "A Kissing Song" and "Unbelievers," two songs that are dark in nature and meaning. The aptly-titled "First Heart Attack" details the demise of our protagonist. As time catches up and strips him of all he had bought, loneliness intrudes and conquers all. Finally, the heart stops, and yet another tragedy is finished.

What makes this tale so intriguing is its plain truth. Look around you, and you will see this story played out in the lives of those you work for or with, in the tears of your best friends, in the eyes of those you pass on the street.

Starflyer 59 doesn't attempt to make this story palatable: The music is often dark and lonely, bringing tears of bitterness. When the sun comes from behind the clouds, you look up in surprise and hope, only to find that the clouds are rapidly closing in and increasing in density. Soon enough, the false light is quenched, and darkness prevails. All of the musicians are superb: Jason Martin provides hard-cut guitar, Richard Swift the atmospheric keyboards, Frank Lenz the slick drum licks, and Jeff Cloud the pulsating bass heartbeats. Together, they weave a masterpiece that will bring memories of the 70's but is cutting edge enough to knock down today's hits.

This is not a pretty picture, nor a pretty album. For those of you who are sensitive, for those of you who live in bubbles of peace, for those of you who love the lies, stay far away from this album: you won't want to look in this mirror. But for the rest of you-those who are adventurous, those who know how to rock, those who love the truth-this album is for you. Listen and learn.
- Jason Ewert
October 2003

Originally printed on CCMPlanet.com. Used with permission.
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