Yesterday, I got my copy of "With The Windows Down," the latest (and much-anticipated) album by Chapter 6. If you don't know who they are, visit chapter6.com. I've seen many performances by them live (though it's been over two years since they were last in my area), and I really liked them, in fact, they were the first band I really got into. So they've been my favorite ever since.
First thing I noticed about the CD was that it was packaged differently from all the other albums they've released: instead of a jewel case, it is in a Digipak. The main color in the packaging is yellow, a mustard shade with some line art and text in dark red, white, and black. Opening up, we reveal a photo of the group, which they're also selling as a print (and being the ever-supportive fan that I am, I bought), with credits listed over it. ("All sounds produced by the human body." Wow!) Other liner notes include the basic story behind the album, acknowledgements, and lyrics for only original songs, of which there are four. (But that's a whole third of the album.)
First up is Pinball Number Count, a cover of that song from Sesame Street where an animated pinball would roll and bounce around a psychedelic pinball machine. The cover is very jazzy, and it's hard not to like it, particularly with, in a few spots, some members have a few words like "What?" and at the end, they're heard laughing, and arranger Mark Grizzard asks, "Is any of that usable?"
Now, the rest of these songs I've never heard before. Second is a cover of Change the World, which is also well done, though the recording sounded a bit odd at the beginning of the track (maybe it's my player), but it eased off.
Up next is Elanor Rigby from... the Beatles? Oh, wait, I have heard this one! It was in The Yellow Submarine, which I exposed myself to a few years ago. With Jarrett Johnson taking the lead, it has a nice jazzy tune, and I think it sounds a bit brighter than the original.
Next is Holly Oak, which features member Chuck Bosworth's wife Lisa Bosworth. The mix of the guys and a female voice is pleasant! Very enjoyable, and it works very well.
There I Go is the first original track. It sounds a bit like a choral piece, with Luke Menard (who you may have seen on American Idol last year) in the lead. This is a slow song, and it's a little thought-provoking as well. (A bit similar to It's About Time on the last album.)
Their cover of Marvin Gaye's Mercy, Mercy, Me is a nice pick-up from the last song, while not feeling saccharine. The jazzy tone is done on a great performance.
Next is the other three original songs, which are all in a row. First is I've Known You All My Life, commissioned from Little Horse's song writer Joachim Horsley. This one makes a transition from a jazzy tone to more of a pop-rock style. And it's pretty fast-paced and an enjoyable listen.
Highway was likely written on a long trip. A bit of slow, monotonous song (which fits the subject), but definitely not a bad one.
Nathan Pufall's I Wanted To Say is performed by Jarrett, and is likely the most Christian-themed song on the album. Returning to a jazzy theme, it's another enjoyable track.
We get to a cover of Peg that gets in with a beat, and is a great lift in tone. A very fun, lighthearted song.
Hot Fun in the Summertime is a collaboration with group Chinua Hawk. Though there is definitely energy and soul in the song, for some reason, I couldn't get into it, but that could be just me on my first listen.
Last of all is Clocks, which feels like a nice ending to the album. I rather liked this song.
Overall, I'm glad I bought the album, and give it four out of five stars. There isn't a lot of high energy songs here, but it works. It has a more adult, mature theme, which feels appropriate. It's a good album, and I hope we don't have to wait another four years for the next one.