On October 23rd, 2012 JOHN TAGLIERI released his 10th album, “The Very Best of John Taglieri…The Songs That Should Have Made Me Rich!!!”– & it is a compilation of 20 tracks showcasing his twelve years on the road, & growth as an independent artist. What I first liked about the release is the ordering of the songs according to date, 1999 thru 2012. You can hear him mature, not just vocally, but with his musical skills.
Having not listened to John before this review, I came into it with an open mind & open ears. My first impression was that he sounded like a young “Jon Bon Jovi”, with a little hint of Bruce Springsteen thrown in for good measure. I try hard not to compare new artists to their predecessors…& in this case, I do not think he is trying to emulate them in any way – just drew from his musical exposure growing up.
The opening song “Leap Of Faith” could very well be the mantra for his career. There is a solid, driving acoustic rhythm backed by a classic electric guitar & drum mix. I would consider this a “Top Down” song…a convertible driving getaway on a warm summer’s day. The message isn’t too complicated to understand, & fits John’s vocal powerhouse. In fact, I’ve been humming this song for the last few days…because it is just catchy enough for you to remember, but not be annoyed that you have the song stuck in your head.
“Reason To Believe” is a step in the serious, love song style that (I think) really grew from his hair-band influences…the ones that invented the ROCK BALLAD. This track doesn’t pack the intensity of anything on the radio during the 80’s, but you can feel his passion & sincerity in the words. I would love to know who he was singing this for.
I think, as with most new artists, their second record isn’t as strong as their first. “Stay With Me” comes from the 2004 release “Half & Half”, where it was just that…half STUDIO & half LIVE. A very powerful song, full of emotion & heart-breaking lyrics, the music didn’t seem to mesh enough for my liking…or perhaps he just over sang it. John has a very respectful range, but the upper level didn’t leave him quite enough room to finish the climb.
“Cross My Heart” is where John shows his cross-over abilities…combining a classic love song with country music vibes. The same issues are present in this melody, as the prior track. The range is limited by the key, & there is only so much that can be done because of the simple acoustic guitar playing. However, I would still like to hear him in an unplugged style of concert.
Song number five shows the motivated side of Taglieri that bloomed from the very beginning. “What It Means” is a great upbeat song, & represents what making your third studio album really means…follow your dreams, while staying true to yourself, & discover possibility. This is another good example of the “FEEL GOOD” song that John excels at.
“How Will I Know” is almost a reflective song. “I spend my hours as a jester, working hard to make you smile…& the music is a shelter, where you go & hide for awhile.” shows his wonderment in delivering the right musical chemistry to his fans & the hardship of being a songwriter. This is a solid song on all fronts. The melody flows throughout, & the chord progressions are simple to predict as you listen…making it easy to commit to memory & rather enjoyable. Being that this song was released almost six years into John’s album history, you can hear the progression of his talents.
“Starring Role” is just a fun song with a mid-tempo alternative edge. John changed up his singing style here, & it is more about letting the lyrics flow into each other…like riding a wave. The cadence of this song has a youthful delivery without lessening the impact of the structure.
“Wide Awake & Dreaming” was my favorite song on the album. John hit his stride in 2007…then ran away with it. He knows he’s made it as a performer, & that HARD WORK pays off. The energy in the chorus is palpable & amplified by the back-up singers…& John’s confidence is contagious!
2008 must’ve been a good year for Taglieri (& crew) because there are four songs from “Everything We Are”. The title track from that album is #9 on this compilation, & paves the way for what’s to come in the second half. My first impression was that of a PARTY SONG. A fun driving beat, & a vision of the band toasting each other’s successes, comes to mind.
“Living Without You” is the half-way point…& John’s band have really found their groove, because all the kinks new artists seem to have…have all been worked out. I especially like how, as Taglieri grows as a musician, his style becomes OWNED. This is a well-played song, with just enough raw power to leave you feeling like you should sing it to someone who has broken your heart – but you are better off because of it. Anyone, who has ever loved & been in this situation, can identify.
The vibrant opening guitar riff on “Make A Mistake With Me” made me think this was going to be a hard-rockin’ song, but after I took it in…it issued itself as another track that could easily be played in a pop-country setting. A jingle, a jangle, with some rock‘n’roll mixed in…it would probably also have a great broken-down acoustic style.
The name “The Lives Of Splattered Flies” made me chuckle at first, but is a SPOT ON description for this song. We are all rushing through life, but when you stop & think about it…you can see how much of what we thought was “life changing”, is really nothing more than a series of small instances that do not necessarily define us. John really puts the timeline of life into perspective, & reminds us to slow down & enjoy the journey.
“After Farewell” is a classic song of regret. What you should of said, but didn’t…or should of done, but just couldn’t. He realizes he let that “SPECIAL SOMEONE” walk out of his life & the pain is resolute, definable amongst the riffs.
“Say These Words” is simplified with a couple acoustic guitars, bass, drums, piano…& yes, an accordion. The rhythm is snappy, & the lyrics flow in a melodic stream that keep it genuine. The versatility of a great musician always shows when they can alter their style from a full-on rock sound, to a light-hearted jam session, & not lose any of their drive. John has the vocal & musical ability to cover a series of genres all at once.
“Fly” is from the CD “Foreward”…the work of the newly formed band TAG…& is just another success notch in John’s belt. The mood of this song is in-line with someone telling a story of triumph & powering their destiny. Making reference to ‘not needing a safety net & setting his spirit free’, John may be singing metaphorically about a relationship again…but it hits the point & doesn’t look back. A complex & well-written motivational song, John is ready to do things his way & chase down the rest of his dreams.
Track sixteen is titled “Ghost”, & again TAG shows he’s capable of anything. He’s taken the drive & energy from the first album…& quadrupled it!!! Hard-hitting drums, heavy rock riffs, & in-your-face vocals give the song an edgy appeal that comes FULL CIRCLE since “Leap Of Faith” – nailed to the wall for everyone to see & hear.
“Losing Me” may be toned down just a bit from the previous track, but the band is still on fire with a new sense of rebellious rock flare. The overall energy of the music is broadened, bringing it to a full stadium scope, without losing acoustic influences.
“Make Me Believe” may sound like a simple pop-jingle the first time through, but you have to listen to the acoustic sensibility to appreciate how that rhythm drives the song. The depth of the harmonies gives this tune the power to stand out from similar ones on the radio, today…a nice choral ambience.
“Back To You” is one of the TWO UNRELEASED TRACKS that are debuting on this album. Here is a great example of a seasoned veteran, who has taken stock of his strengths & weaknesses, clearly thrown the weaknesses outta’ the window…& pushed full-steam ahead into a new song. The vocal range is perfect, & John wails on it…enjoying the hell out of his musical ride.
“What I Wanted After All” has a keyboard style that instantly reminded me of the song “You Might Think” by The Cars, but that was the end of the similarities. John Taglieri’s sound adapts well to a modern day alternative pace, & he’s spent much of his entire career honing it. After twelve years as a professional musician, ten studio albums, & touring all over the world…he should be proud of the ground he has covered in such a short period of time…& doing so, independently.
Having never heard of John Taglieri before this assignment, I have been asking myself…“How did he slip through my radar for the past twelve years?” If you are someone that has not experienced his music, or you’re a loyal fan, John’s rock‘n’roll journey is ALIVE…& outwardly reliable. In the world of “Come & Go” music, there is realism amongst these tracks that gives you something un-subdued to add to your collection – which is what Taglieri wanted after all.
Please visit JOHNTAGLIERI.COM for more information. “The Very Best Of John Taglieri…The Songs That Should Have Made Me RICH!!!” can be purchased @ Amazon, CD Baby, iTunes, & other popular digital distributors.