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The Future That Was

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Album Review

No one has to remind Josh Joplin that he's a vocal ringer for R.E.M.'s frontman. "I sound like Michael Stipe and I dream like Carl Jung," goes the opening line of "Happy at Last." And although other influences are at work here — in particular a considerable debt to Elvis Costello's classic Imperial Bedroom — it's Stipe's name that first comes to mind on Joplin's sophomore major-label release. Between his often bleak lyrics and mournful but not morose voice, this music is made for geeky college girls that hang out at the library rather than frolicking at the frat keg party. Shawn Mullins, a longtime supporter who assisted on Joplin's last album, is MIA but his inspiration looms large. The spoken sections on the wordy "I Am Not the Only Cowboy" recall Mullins' similar approach. Producer Rob Gal keeps the focus on Joplin's voice, which is mixed way up front, with the rest of his group relegated to anonymous sideman status. Although there are some upbeat tracks, nothing rocks out, and the singer's clear enunciation makes this an album to be absorbed while reading the lyric sheet, not danced to or played at parties. There are no solos and few times when the artist isn't pontificating with his somewhat dour, hangdog outlook on life. Initially a bit chilly, Joplin's style gradually grows warmer as the disc unwinds. It also takes a few spins for many of the melodies to emerge from under the cloak of the melancholy vocals, ornate backing, and sometimes overwhelmingly literate words. But for those who relish in snuggling up to a good book on a Saturday night, The Future That Was provides refuge and Josh Joplin might end up as your new best friend. He's been there, done that, and has the album to prove it.

Customer Reviews

*A Thoughtful, Provactive and Catchy Album*

This sophomoric album from Josh Joplin Group is one of the most intellectually and emotionally stimulating albums I have ever had the pleasure to listen to! The lyrics are outstanding (see " Sidhartha's of Suburbia" and "I am not the only Cowboy"), they take the little intricacies of life and and find the undeniable and universal truths behind them. There is not a lyric on the album that everyone can't relate to (see the doting and righteously jealous man in "Dishes"). The hero's of Joplin's lyrics are not "super" or placed on a pedastal, they are the normal teenager searching for their place in the world. The Group chanels this impactfully into their thoughtful songs. With great beats backing stellar lyrics, Josh Joplin Group's "The Future That Was" is a must!

why you should check this out

In an day and age where are generation has mindless pop mainsteam music, this album is a Godsend. The Josh jolin group are a witty hipster folk answer we music fans need. They are a cross between Dylan and Morissey, with two lumps of pop sugar- althrough live they are more stripped down folk. You should check out their other albums as well. They make points about our soceity, in a somewhat sublte, way, rather than hit you over the head; they are witty and a tad dark, but their is a sense of defiance and hope to their music. They also have songs that I think people nowadays can relate to. "I am not the only cowboy" is a song that alot of poeple nowadays can relate to, I listen to it when i feel a little kiched down, and it is an anthemn for the kicked down. People should not remeber these guys as the guys who had "camera one" on the radio, but for their full body of work. Check out this and anything by Josh Joplin Group.

Sat on my shelf for 9 years...

I bought this album shortly after it came out, which was right at the start of my first semester of college. I listened to it once or twice and then put it away, and it's been sitting on my shelf for more or less 9 years. Randomly I pulled it out not to long ago (because I love so much of Josh's other music) and I am so glad 18-year old me had the foresight to buy this album. Like a fine wine, it improved with age; the older I've gotten, the more I like it. Josh Joplin writes for an intelligent listener which is probably why he's never been really mainstream. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of his lyrics, which you can tell come from the heart, and the relative simplicity of the musical compositions. It is interesting to hear how his music changes ever so slightly from album to album. My favorite song of his is still from the hard to find 1997 album "Boxing Nostalgic", and it would be a shame to compare any song on "The Future That Was" to that particular tune. However, this CD is a welcome addition to my collection, all these years later. I highly recommend it to any fan of Josh Joplin or Among the Oak & Ash, or anyone who is looking for something a little bit different, heartfelt, and meaningful.

The Future That Was, Josh Joplin Group
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Customer Ratings