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iTunes Review

Live occupied an odd spot in the alternative rock of the ‘90s. They were hugely popular as a band unafraid of the grandiose histrionics that made U2 the most celebrated band of that decade and still they insisted on remaining ordinary guys. All these years later, their leader, singer Ed Kowalczyk, returns with his first solo album and it’s filled with anthems that arch heavenward. His singing is his own, but he owes a stylistic debt to Bono and Eddie Vedder. In some ways, he’s more satisfying than Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, since Kowalczyk hits notes without making it sound like a major interruption in his day. He throws his arms around the world with big, bad, and bold atmospherics on “Drive,” “The Great Beyond” and “Stand.” “Grace” is the sound of the most unlikely rock hero coming down from the mountain with memories of late-‘70s Rush in his head. Even a ballad like “Zion” percolates with grander ambitions. For fans who fondly remember Throwing Copper, Alive should make complete and comfortable sense.

Customer Reviews

Alive is good, but...

Before I get into this, let me that that I've reviewed every Live release in the iTunes store (check my other reviews) and Live is and was my favorite band - but one thing I never stand behind is a fan that always rates every album 5 stars just because they're a fan. You have to rate music realistically. That being said, there are moments on Alive that really shine, but "Grace" is by far the best song on this album. Tracks like "In Your Light", "Just In Time", "Soul Whispers", "Fire On The Mountain" are just forgettable to me - they're safe tracks which are similar song structures to previously released Live tracks. I also find it distracting at moments when the drums are at different levels of volume and intensity between tracks - the drums need to be consistently prominent in my opinion to make a strong track and really drive the rhythm of the entire album.

"Grace", "Stand" and "Rome" are stronger tracks in my opinion because they build into an intensity that drives itself into your memory and you can replay the song in your head over and over without effort. I prefer the heavier, more intense side of Ed.

Please do not immediately say that my review was not helpful just because I didn't rate the album 5 stars either - if you truly feel that it is a 5 star album, that is your opinion and that is OK, but be realistic, don't just go clicking buttons.

Ed is 'Alive' with this release

I've been a Live fan for over 15 years and was eagerly awaiting this album. It definitely didn't disappoint. Some of the songs took a couple of listens to really get a feel for, but most are top-notch. A few of my favorite tracks are Zion, Stand, and Soul Whispers. Soul Whispers has a haunting sound that reminds me of the Secret Samadhi era. This song has great lyrics and his voice is unbelievable. This might be a polarizing album because it was largely inspired by his faith and the love for his family (especially the song "In Your Light"). Luckily I'm in the group that loves it. Check it out. It is worth the purchase in my opinion.

Listen and judge for yourself.....

Have to admit, as a long time fan of Live. I was sad to see the band break up. Ed Kowalcyk was too talented and still had much music to give to do nothing. This is well worth the wait. True to himself - this is a meaningful and spiritual effort. Zion and Grace are my faves. Overall the tracks are solid enough that many Live fans will be left satisfied. Check it out - judge for yourself.


Born: July 16, 1971 in York, PA

Genre: Rock

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

As the lead singer of Live, Ed Kowalczyk fronted one of the most successful American post-grunge bands of the ‘90s, coming to prominence with their 1994 sophomore album, Throwing Copper. With his bald head and intense eyes, Kowalczyk cut a distinctive figure, but what separated him from other '90s alt-rockers was his utter earnestness: he adopted U2's open-hearted stance as his own, preferring sincerity to irony. Live released seven albums between 1991 and 2006 before splitting, with Kowalczyk launching...
Full Bio
Alive, Ed Kowalczyk
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Customer Ratings