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Written by  Mario Supnet

It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years since Candlebox debuted their self-titled album. Now, wrapping up their long and successful career, Kevin Martin and the band are calling it quits. Their eighth studio album, aptly named The Long Goodbye, is a culmination of their successful career with song elements of melodic vocals, driving rhythm guitars, and hard pumping beats. The 10 tracks on this album showcases the experience the band developed over the years with meaningful lyrics and playful elements not always heard in rock music. Yet, they manage to keep the hard-hitting rock sound that fans have known to enjoy.

The album opens up with a pulsing acoustic guitar strum for the song “Punks” which reminded me of listening to garage bands in high school. This song sets the tone for the album and doesn't hold back any punches. The band describes the song as “a cautionary message to young bands that they won’t be the hot new thing forever.” The album continues with “What Do You Need?” which was co-written by Nick Brown of Mona. The raunchy guitar brings out the dirtiness of the song with an “I don’t care” attitude. The third track, “Elegante”, continues to capture you with creative elements such as guitar swells, while incorporating grungy and acoustic guitars. On the fourth track, a fast driving, hard hitting “I Should Be Happy” will have you headbanging before the album slows down a bit with “Nails on A Chalkboard” to let you recover before picking up the pace again.

The second half of the album, or possibly the B-Side if it were on vinyl, starts off with “Ugly”, an eye-opening song pointing out the ugliness of people and the world around us. In contrast, Kevin sings an obligatory acoustic song “Maze” that is heartfelt with his voice stretching through the chorus as he pays tribute to the intricacies of his wife. “Cellphone Jesus” touches on a society dependent on technology and social media. The song sprinkles familiar elements that are part of our everyday life along with lyrics like “tik tok tik tok, rewind, everybody hanging on the line.” It’s a little eye-opening and drives a message home. Track nine is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album. “Foxy” is a fun song to listen to with a mix of melodic and raunchy vocals that blend well with the pop-like beat. The Long Goodbye wraps up with a moody “Hourglass.” The song opens up with a dreamy acoustic piano before the drums, bass, and electric guitar kicks in. It’s a song that reminds us of time moving and not waiting for anyone and to take opportunities as they happen. It’s almost like a hidden message from the band to themselves to seize the moment to end on a high note before it’s too late.

The Long Goodbye is a fitting tribute to end Candlebox’s journey in making solid rock music. Originally labeled as a grunge band, they developed their own style of rock music even though they often fell into the alternative category. This album covers a diverse range of rock genres that can please a broad spectrum of music fans. After listening to this album, it’s easy to see how a band can last so long and still stand out as one of the most iconic bands of the 90’s grunge era.

Mario Supnet


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