Indiana Daily Student

Sentimental lyrics lose appeal

V Live Radioactive Records

Live, the York, Pennsylvania-based band whose sweet spiritual lyrics mesmerized many in 1994 with the mainstream success of their second album Throwing Copper, has grown tiresome with its fifth album, V.\nWhat seemed to fit so well with the time and sentiment of Throwing Copper has become uselessly overdone in V. Frontman Ed Kowalczyk seems strained to find lyrics that match the beauty of his previous work.\nIn fact, it seems like Live's newest album is strained to find a lot of things.\nThe band who worked hard to fight criticisms that it was a cheaper version of Pearl Jam in the earlier 1990s -- now, they only wish -- has the feel of a U2 rip-off.\nTime has passed Kowalczyk by. His lyrics, with soul-searching candidness that sold millions of records, are now a distraction to a harder, interesting sound from lead guitarist Chad Taylor.\nThis Live album continues to use the recipe employed in Throwing Copper, but for the third time in four years, it won't work. Like Secret Samadhi (1997) and The Distance To Here (1999), V has its version of "Lightning Crashes," but the 2001-style "Overcome" is overdone, filled with repeating lyrics and Kowalczyk straining for higher pitches.\nGenerally, V is a harder album -- even the cover implies a Metallica CD -- which is a refreshing departure from the power pop of The Distance To Here, a huge failure. This album also experiments with Eastern sounds, most notably with the presence of a sitar on "The Ride." It's an easy fit to Kowalczyk's constant religious pilgrimage through words.\nLive fans should certainly buy this album. Despite all its shortcomings, V is another journey through Kowalczyk's mind, and his constant battle with spirituality. It doesn't reach as deep as Throwing Copper, but is an overall improvement to the monotonous single-toned single-subjected The Distance to Here.\nFor everyone else, buy Live's old stuff, because if you already own it, you're a fan.

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