As Justin Furstenfeld ages, he’s also maturing, and no those aren’t the same thing. His younger days were stormier times with lots of downs in between some amazing ups. As he’s aged, he’s found some happiness and that’s all what I Hope You’re Happy, the new album from Blue October, is all about.
Sonically, fist of note is that this record is drastically different than almost every other Blue October album. It seems like I get to type that every time they come out with something new. A lot of this plays like an album track from Peter Gabriel in the 80’s. There are some processed vocals, some downgraded synths, and lots of infectious but not overly exuberant melodies. Sonically, as always, Furstenfeld and his crew did a tremendous job of producing. They don’t just record, they really get after the storytelling elements of production to add layers to what they’re doing.
When it comes to songwriting - lyrically and musically - Furstenfeld, his brother, and the guys he has working with him remain some of the best. Nobody crafts a melody and a song more uniquely than Blue October. Really, nobody in the history of modern accessible music has crafted lyrics on the same level that Justin Furstenfeld has. They’re brutally truthful and poignant. A Blue October album is an experience, but if it didn’t have the music and you could just read through lyrics... they say something. Justin’s been doing that for two decades and he gets better every time he does it.
Heaping praise on Blue October at this point just seems a given. They don’t get the attention they used to, but they’re putting out better music than they ever had. They try and tell something with every element of the music, something that not everybody else does.