Collective Soul emerged from Georgia in the mid-90’s and they continue to be one of the leading bands in the Adult Contemporary world. They have continuously evolved their sound, collaborating with some truly surprising (and legendary) artists along the way. As they prepare to hit Ovation Hall on October 30th (with Tonic and Better Than Ezra), we broke down a few of the songs that shape the sound of what Collective Soul truly represents.
Arguably one of their biggest singles, ’Shine’ represents the pulsing rock vibe that Collective Soul is known for (there is reason that VH1 has it at Number 42 on their list of 100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s)! The song cemented the band’s legacy as one of the top alternative rock bands in history, as well as caused endless speculation about the true meaning of the single as well as the brooding and reflective video
While Collective Soul’s raucous cover of the Elton John cover ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’ is a live concert treat that many Collective Soul fans love catching when the band hits the road, their single with The Piano Man himself was a welcome treat for long-time fans. ‘Perfect Day’ showcases both the band and the iconic performer perfectly, At the time, Collective Soul frontman Ed Roland told ABC “So I finished the lyrics on a Sunday night at midnight, sang my part, and Elton came in the next morning and did his part in two takes — listened to the song once, played the piano part twice, sang it twice, and was done.”.
The single ‘Let Her Out’ is a definite departure from what is typically thought of as Collective Soul’s standard sound, but the amped up guitar and stirring lyrics make it a stand out track from their 2020 EP Half & Half. With a distinct guitar strum kicking off the track, it quickly evolves into an infectiously smart single, displaying the reach that the band, still to this day, is able to achieve.
Kicking off with a pulsing guitar riff, ‘Smashing Young Man’ is one of Collective Soul’s shiniest and slickest tracks. Direct from their self-titled album, the single merges Ed Roland’s always experimentally clever lyrical abilities with a musical structure that compliments both the verses and the smooth chorus. While not initially thought of as a Collective Soul classic, the track gets plenty of attention from true die-hard fans of the band.
With instantly recognizable guitar strings at the onset of the track, The World I Know’ remains one of Collective Soul’s most successful and recognizable tracks. The track’s origin is simple, Ed Roland has said publicly that he simply took “a two hour walk around New York City and just absorbed and observed from the highs and lows of what society was offering in the greatest city in the world”. The tracks’ sweeping and orchestral chorus remains one of the highlights of the track, and live, it remains a favorite of the bands loyal fans who sing along every word.
Collective Soul’s ‘December’ cements their reputation as one of the leading bands of the emo-style indie rock that they are so well known for. Heavy drums on the track matched with Ed Roland’s roaring lyrics craft a perfect alt-rock anthem. Roland wanted to simplify an ending of sorts, but wanted to ensure that it was more “poetic and abstract”
Collective Soul’s latest full length album (2019’s Blood) shows a bit of a stripped down and grown up band, but the same heartfelt songwriting is firmly ensconced in the band’s material. The final track from Blood is titled ‘Porch Swing’, and the track has a bit of help from another rock legend; Guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw from the band Styx stop in appeared on the poignant track, adding some extra rock credibility to this perfect bookending track to the Collective Soul catalog.
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