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Joe Rathbone

Joe Rathbone
Welcome To Your New Life


Joe Rathbone's songs balance the sometimes drab reality of everyday life against the rock solid hope that there's just got to be something better somewhere. "I wanna be just like a big round sun," he sings on the sunshine pop of "Big Round Sun." Rathbone, this ray of sunlight wannabe, is as avid about uplifting others—his implicit purpose with the song "Welcome To Your New Life"—as he is with cheering up himself, revealed by his self-help attempts on "Rainbows." He's a practical optimist however, as he's "sick of reading philosophy books," as the lyric from "Big Round Sun" suggests.

His sound is primarily bright pop—with stacked vocals, melodic guitars and bubblegum beats. Yet his style choices are never as slick as today's modern radio pop. Instead, he hearkens back to AM radio's heyday; back when a singable melody and a good beat was sometimes all it took to score a hit.

His "Big Round Sun" might just be an answer song to The Police's "Invisible Sun," only his take on universal warmth is colored by possibility thinking, whereas Sting and the boys' approach represented desperation time.

He's aware of the sadness in the world, but still tries extra hard to separate himself from all of that. His perspective is outlined by a particularly telling line on "I Know I've Been Bad." "If I could dance with you 'till midnight/ Just like they do in those sad songs." Notice how he clearly uses the words "those sad songs" in it? "Those" are other people's songs, not his. He wants to give the world his happier songs of warm love, instead of more sad waltzes.

Joe Rathbone's happy thoughts are quite an oddity in our post 9/11 world, but maybe this little dab of musical joy is just what the doctor ordered as a step toward a cure for our collective blues.—Dan MacIntosh

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