It is a toss-up between “Inaudible Song II,” and its predecessor, “Billy Bird,” when it comes time to recommend my favorite song from the optimistically-titled Only Good Thoughts Can Stay by Jared Mees And The Grown Children. On multiple random occasions, both songs have surfaced in my head while I have been out and about in the world, thus proving their true hook.
Listen to “Hungry Like A Tiger” – DOWNLOAD MP3
However, these songs do not stand alone in greatness; rather, they paradoxically melt together into a unified album; still, each song is told from different storyteller’s perspective. This explains the wide range of topics on the album — from second marriages to slow declines to dead birds… and on and on. In turn, this multi-viewpoint gives the work, as a whole, a depth of communication that is both noteworthy and charming. It is the kind of album that can wake you up in the morning and get you going. There is a spring-in-your-step sequence of three songs at the beginning: with the inciting horn-and-bass-coupling in track one, “Hungry Like A Tiger,” the rabble-rousing handclaps and piano in the next song “Limber Hearts,” and the steady, stirring drums in track three, “W.W.J.B.D.” Additionally, in each of those songs, there is Mees’ lyrical encouragement, from, “A problem ain’t a problem unless you keep on feedin’ it!” and “Holler if you can hear me!/ Holler nice and long and loud!” to “You’re not dying/ Your soul just can’t keep up with the plan!”
Track eight, “Even Little Mountains,” lyrically combines blunt honesty (“The question of the day is who will lead/ And who will get out of the way?”) and compassionate finality (“…Love a friend regardless of how this whole thing ends”) over a soundscape that is appropriately both uplifting and sincere. This song is the most poignant track on the album — amidst many other poignant songs — due in part to a brief lyric. The lyric is both beautiful on its own and aptly descriptive and commentative on the profundity of the various messages, presences, stories, and sounds across the entire album, for they are all “…just echoes of perfectly placed heartbeats.”
Both the music and the words leave comfortably indelible marks on the listener, and that lasting impression extends beyond the capacity of the first three tracks. Even when the song plots are grave — detailing disillusionment, discontentment, and even death — the upbeat melodies and full-bodied instrumentation lighten the mood so that the sympathy or empathy of listeners can be enriched with a sense of hope. This album proves that if you can put a song to it or write a song about it, you can not only live through any moment in life, but you can enjoy those moments on an unanticipated, deeper level.