November 11, 2005

Life as a House

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When you hear “You and Me” for the first time, you’ll most likely be caught with a suspicious feeling of recognition. As the steadily-paced accompaniment swells and crests and sometimes disappears altogether to supplement and in the end, highlight lead singer Jason Wade’s full-bodied voice, you’ll perhaps be reminded of a similar feeling you had maybe five years ago when another song full of yearning and promise grabbed your attention and wouldn’t let go. “You and Me” is by no means a “Hanging by a Moment” clone, but its memorable melody and simple yet provocative lyrics resonate with a signature that could be attributed to none other than Lifehouse.

Having been credited with one of the most popular songs of the new millennium (“Hanging by a Moment was the most played radio song of 2001), Lifehouse first entered the scene with 2000’s No Name Face. A veterans of the Los Angeles music scene, the then 20-year-old had been writing songs since the age of 15. Wade and his band suddenly found themselves the creators of a multiplantinum album. National and international recognition soon followed and a desire to create more music led to a follow-up album in the form of 2002’s Stanley Climbfall. Emotional, less complex in terms of production and considered by many to be a more artistic piece, the album is characterized by Wade as one where “we wanted to let the songs breathe.”

The band’s third and most recent release, simply titled Lifehouse, came at an interesting moment in time after a successful European tour and changes in the band’s lineup. Wade and drummer Rick Woolstenhulme were joined by ex-AM Radio guitarist Bryce Soderberg after the departure of bassist Sergio Andrade and guitarist Sean Woolstenhulme. Also different this time around was the involvement of producer John Alagia, best known for his work with John Mayer, Rachel Yamagata, Liz Phair and Dave Mathews Band. The album was recorded at Alagia’s Maryland home studio on the Chesapeake Bay within merely five weeks. Akin to the unique rustic setting, the actual act of recording was just as simple. With practically no preproduction, the band merely played their hearts out, doing what they did best, and they just happened to have been recorded while in the process of doing so. A prolific songwriter and musician who is always writing and creating new material, Wade wrote over fifty songs alone for Lifehouse’s self-titled third album and professes a hope to perhaps one day release a B-side version of the songs that did not make the cut.

Perhaps a departure from the sensational rock star highs of their early career, Lifehouse is more of an introspective, melodic album packed full of Wade’s characteristically catchy hooks, moody lyrics and unique brand of melancholy delivering a more lyrical feel. “You and Me” is a stirring love song showcasing Wade at his very best, a ballad about that time in your life when, as Wade says, “You start to fall for someone but you’re not sure if they return the feeling.” This hopeful fixated feeling is characterized by Wade as feeling like you’re in “the eye of a hurricane – everything else is swirling around you, but you’re totally fixated on this person, and you’re wondering, ‘Does she feel it too?'” In contrast, “Blind” speaks to a different kind of emotional high that proves destructively all-consuming. With a new album that touches both extremes and everything in between, Lifehouse establishes itself as an innovative, lasting talent on the music scene.

What’s next for Lifehouse? The group has an upcoming DVD titled “Everything” due out Nov. 22, which includes every Lifehouse music video ever made as well as exclusive concert footage showcasing the band playing live.

Lifehouse will be playing Barton Hall at 7 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 13 with Collective Soul in a concert organized by the Cornell Concert Commission.

Archived article by Tracy Zhang
Arts and Entertainment Editor