Release Date: September 9, 2008
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska
Those familiar with artist Colbie Caillat are already somewhat aware of Jason Reeves’ songwriting abilities since Reeves wrote a number of the songs on Caillat’s album, Coco. What listeners might not be as aware of is that Reeves has a music career of his own with an additional two full-length albums and an EP in his past. His current release, The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache (And Other Frightening Tales…) was originally only available online or though merchandise sales at his live shows, but after being signed by Warner Bros. Records, the album was re-released in a much wider-distribution.
The re-release of The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache brings to the table exactly what one might imagine from the sound of the title. Full of carefully crafted, slightly pop-infused folk music with a healthy dose of melancholy, heartache and wistfulness, many of the songs seem destined for poignant moments on shows like Grey’s Anatomy or Gossip Girl. While such collaboration certainly helps create a fan-base for artists, it also can cause the actual creativity of a song to seem diminished. Whether or not this will happen to Reeves will be determined with time (and whether or not his music is picked up by some such show) but until then, one can enjoy the talent presented on his album.
Like many of the tracks on the album, “Someone Somewhere” has an easy swing to it, pleasant melody and romantically wistful lyrics. “Happy Accident” has a similar feel and may remind some listeners of a more up-beat David Gray. “The Fragrant Taste of Rain” is more of a spoken-word piece though some moments of the song do shift into actual singing. If the track were any longer than 1:49 it would easily get tiresome.
“Never Find Again” is one of the tracks that stands out on the album, partially because it’s simply faster-tempoed than most of the other tracks but also because the jauntiness and bounce that the melody has makes it simply a fun song to listen to. Sadly, these sorts of tracks are a bit too rare on The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache. “Photographs and Memories” and “Pretty Eyes” are both exactly what the titles make one imagine, the same slow, tastefully written and poignant love songs (or lost-love songs, depending).
Reeves is a respectable songwriter and has developed a decent fan following over the years. However, a little more variety would have been welcome on this album rather than have 16 songs that sound extremely similar in tone, mood, tempo and theme. It would be hard to imagine that this is as far as Reeves’ songwriting talent extends