Brooklyn indie-pop group American Authors kind of hit the jackpot with last year’s hit single “Best Day of My Life”. It not only gained non-stop airplay but it also got a slot in the film “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. And now with the release of their debut album Oh, What a Life, there’s no doubt that great things will come out of it.
The entire album is very much guitar-driven and lyric-based where the listener can tell that they truly wanted to show who they are as a musical unit. The songs flow very well together, in which not one seems out of place, and they ease their way into slower songs in a way where it’s not an obvious abrupt change of pace. They successfully incorporate different sounds in each track (“Heart of Stone” has a Neon Trees/”Grease Lightning” kind of feel of it while “Trouble” has obvious country/folk elements) that will keep you on your toes.
Starting off with their upbeat, have-a-little-faith second single “Believer” and concluding with its campy, nostalgic title track, Oh, What a Life turns into a musical diary for its listeners to lose themselves in. You’ve got your Mumford & Sons meets One Republic only-you-can-make-your-own-luck anthem in “Luck” and a Simple Plan-esque, all-around hoot of a party track “Hit It”. Its only issue is that their Certified Gold hit “Best Day of My Life” is practically split into two more songs (“Think About It” and “Love”), in which all three have the same overly singsong-y choruses (with an abundance of ooohs and aaahs) but have different variations of the same guitar sequences.
The biggest accomplishment on this album by far has to be their homesick journal entry of a song, “Home”. It can easily be about life on the road because of its references to missing loved ones and in lines like “I’ve got these letters tattooed on my arm/that remind me each second of where I come from.” Or it can even be a narrative story about someone who is at war overseas with the military-sounding drums and frontman Zac Barnett’s heart-breaking howls. It’s honest and raw and a perfect example of how you know a song is absolutely amazing when its lyrics can paint different stories.
Oh, What a Life definitely dips its feet into different genres each song makes you feel a different emotion. The entire album gives us a look into how they literally came from different parts of the U.S. and ended up making energetic, cool, utterly catchy music that can appeal to more than just hipsters. It has all the makings to join the ranks of strong debut indie albums like Grouplove and The 1975 and they could even turn this album into a freakin’ TV musical if they really wanted to, purely based on how perfectly it flows. Let’s hope American Authors can do it again in their sophomore album.