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Album Review

Once again working with producer Gregg Wattenberg, who helmed 2009's Slice, John Ondrasik nevertheless shakes things up a little bit on 2013's Bookmarks. Ondrasik highlighted his classicist side on Slice, opting for lush, grandiose arrangements and a deliberate pace, but Bookmarks is considerably brighter, its sonic surfaces shining and its tempos sprightly. No longer operating on a ponderous, portentous level — he's discarded the melancholic navel-gazing that brought him fame with "Superman" — Ondrasik seems as if he's lifted a burden from his shoulders. His melodies are merrier, his lyrics dotted with hope, and, most appealingly of all, the entirety of Bookmarks is a highly polished piece of soft rock. Perhaps it belongs to an aesthetic that is slightly outdated — ironically enough, the attitude and sound belong to turn-of-the millennium adult contemporary radio, which is when he was at the height of his commercial success — but Bookmarks is surely the best-crafted adult pop released under the Five for Fighting name, its sturdy tunes wrapped up neatly in a shiny, appealing gloss.

Customer Reviews

This isn't Five for Fighting...

The music isn't bad…but it's not the same quality of heart that I feel FFF use to have. I wish I wasn't saying it, but I feel this band has taken the same turn Train and Maroon 5 have taken to be more modern, but it's affected the soul of the music. Maybe it's just my opinion, but I thought a lot of this album lacked heart aside from Symphony Lane.

Five For Fighting's Best Album

I have been a huge Five For Fighting fan for about ten years. Not only does John Ondrasik make great music, but he donates so much of his time to charitable causes and supporting the men and women of the military. As far as this album goes, I am not sure if there is one song that stands out as the "best" or my favorite, but I feel that the album as a whole is his best work to date. Here are my initial thoughts about each song:

Stand Up - Great pick-me-up song. It's not too satisfying lyrically, but I can definitely see this song in a movie or a commercial.

What If - Classic introspective Five For Fighting song about putting yourself in other shoes and taking chances

Heaven Knows - Beautiful lyrics… "Smile darling don't be sad/Stars are going to shine tonight"

Down - This reminds me of "Hope" from Slice… Perfect placement in the album since the first three songs are much heavier

I Don't Want Your Love - Beautiful

Road to You - One of my favorite songs on the album. Love the background vocals (very Killers-esque)

She's My Girl - I like the background music and overall feel of the song, but I'm not sure if I'm sold on the lyric "She's better than ice cream"

Symphony Lane - Darkest sounding song on the album. Love the violin

You'll Never Change - I can see this being the breakout song of the album. "Poppy" enough to be on the radio, but strong lyrically

Your Man - Inspiring. The song really highlights John's incredible vocal range.

The Day I Died - I don't think we'll hear this song on the radio, but the lyrics are great and the song closes the album beautifully.

Overall, the album is incredible. This is easily Five For Fighting's best album.

what if and stand up

both great tracks.


Formed: 1997 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Five for Fighting is the one-man band of John Ondrasik, who rose to fame in 2001 on the strength of the pop/rock ballad "Superman (It's Not Easy)." Although originally released in 2000, the single became popular after the events of September 11, 2001, which shone new light on Five for Fighting's tale of flight, insecurity, and heroics. Another Top 40 hit, "100...
Full Bio
Bookmarks, Five for Fighting
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Customer Ratings



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