Saturday, January 28, 2012

Train - Train

Album: Train
Artist: Train
Release: 1998

I've rambled on about some of my new favorites for a while now, so let's get back to one of my old favorites.  Train's debut album, the self-titled Train, was released in 1998.  I didn't come to own it until it was already several years old, so I can't claim to have been a Trainiac from the very beginning (surely you know by now that I'm always a few years behind).  In fact, I'm not even sure which Train album I had first, it might have been My Private Nation, but I really don't remember.  It just seems like I've always been listening to them, kind of like Matchbox Twenty. 

Anyway, Train is my 2nd favorite of their albums (my favorite favorite is My Private Nation...I think) but, as is pretty standard for me, it's not because of the radio hits.  They released 3 singles from this record: "Meet Virginia", "I Am" and "Free".  If I never hear "Meet Virginia" again I'll be alright with that - it has been run into the ground ad nauseum over the last 14 years.  I mean, it's a good song and all, but enough is enough.  The other 2 are good songs too, but both are far from being my favorites on Train.

The gems here are to be found in the deep cuts.  The songs on the second half of this record are really where the beauty comes in.  They're all long songs (I was surprised to find that the majority of them are over 4 minutes) but this only proves my point that they really can be longer if they're just that good.  All of the songs on Train are the carefully crafted, heartfelt songs we've come to expect from Train, but the second half is something more.  The songs are more bluesy and gritty than anything we've heard from them since.  It sounds like the result of Pat and Jimmy and the guys hanging out on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans for a weekend and then writing some songs.

If you think you know Train from the radio-friendly hits that you hear everywhere - on the radio, in commercials, on TV - think again.  This is a whole different side to them, a side I wish they had developed further.  We get a glimpse of it again toward the end of Drops of Jupiter, but that's about it.  So forget about "Meet Virginia" and "Drops of Jupiter" and "Hey, Soul Sister" and dig a little deeper into their catalogue to find the stuff that will really get in your heart and become a part of you.  These seldom heard of songs on Train are where the magic is really happening.

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