Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jukebox: Frightened Rabbit - State Hospital

Scott Hutchinson has completely changed his approach to songwriting in just a short four years.  On The Midnight Organ Fight, Hutchinson crafted 14 songs that defined every dimension and facet of human heartbreak: he wrote insanely personal songs about the end of romance, trying to find new romances, the pain of having to see an old love, the pain of nostalgia and growing up, and how all of this resulted in his dramatic suicide attempt.  Every gigantic chorus, witty lyric, acoustic ballad and powerful punk rock guitar riff on The Midnight Organ Fight was for anyone who had experienced any kind of personal heartbreak.

The follow up to TMOF was The Winter of Mixed Drinks which consisted of 11 songs about overcoming personal struggles, finding new love, and finding new hopes.  The Winter of Mixed Drinks was the album for anyone who has overcome heartbreak:  it was the album for the person who had decided to save suicide for another day, it was the album for the person who was "not miserable," and it was the album for the person who had decided to turn his lights on and "live in color." The album also showed a maturity in the bands songwriting in sound: the witty lyrics had been replaced with elaborate metaphors, the three minute punk songs had been replaced with six minute mult-layered indie masterpieces, and the disjointedness of TMOF had been replaced with an album that flowed together just about perfectly.  TWOMD not only was an album for anyone who had overcome a struggle, it was an album for anyone who wanted to see the rapid maturation of a very talented band.

"State Hospital," shows us that Hutchinson has once again totally changed his songwriting style and shows us once again that he and the rest of the band will be successful at just about any songwriting style or style of music they chose to do.  The song shows Hutchinson telling someone else's story of struggle instead of his own and this might end up being his most impressive songwriting job yet.  You get the impression that Hutchinson obsessed over every minor detail in this song for hours because just about every line of this song combines the wit of the lyrics on TMOF and the extended and beautiful metaphors on TWOMD just about perfectly even though the song is about someone else.  Hutchinson new empathetic style of songwriting combines everything that made his two albums of "selfish" stories so damn emotional, interesting, and memorable.  By writing from a different perspective, "State Hospital" might end being one of Frightened Rabbit's most impressive songwriting accomplishments yet.

"State Hospital" also shows us that Frightened Rabbit has once again expanded their once simple and aggressive sound.  "State Hospital" is FR's most beautiful piece of music yet:  it is a free flowing and less pretentious version of "Skip The Youth" combined with the atmospheric and laid back nature of "Swim Until You Can't See Land."  The song ends up sounding like a beautiful, multi layered, gigantic, and original take on late 1980's arena rock and early 2000's post rock: "State Hospital" sounds like a more genuine version of one of U2's greatest hits and a more understandable version of Sigur Ros more beautiful songs.  Frightened Rabbit has totally evolved from a loveable punk band into a band that can do just about any sound they want.  And the sounds on "State Hospital" are some of their most effectively gorgeous yet.

"State Hospital" not only shows off Frightened Rabbit's very impressive new songwriting style and new gigantic sound, but it also shows us that Frightened Rabbit is no longer a niche band.  Frightened Rabbit is no longer just a band for the heartbroken and those who have overcome heartbreak, but their new empathetic songwriting and new humongous sound prove that they are the band for everyone. The only challenge for them now is going to be progressing past making music for everyone.


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