I’ve been a huge fan of Joshua Radin since about 2005 when I first discovered his 2004 EP, First Between 3rd and 4th. If you’ve watched shows like Scrubs, Parenthood, Brothers and Sisters, or Grey’s Anatomy, chances are you’ve heard his stuff. His music pulled me in straight away, and ever since then I’ve eagerly anticipated each new album he releases.
Wax Wings is Radin’s fifth album, and was self-released in May this year. I was a bad fan and only ordered it in November (distracted mother of a toddler right here!), and it finally arrived last week. For my favourite artists, I always purchase the physical CD, because I have a fondness for liner notes and seeing the lyrics in print (maybe I’m channeling my inner fifteen year old, who studied liner notes and memorised lyrics instead of doing homework….), and I particularly love reading Radin’s liner notes. One of the reasons I love his music is because of his beautifully written lyrics. He’s one of very few artists around who can articulate an emotion so perfectly and so succinctly that it’s what I fall in love with when I listen to his songs for the first time. I feel like I’m listening to a love story that belongs only to me.
This album is no exception. Radin has often spoken about using love and past relationships as his inspiration for writing music, and this album definitely follows that approach. Songs like Beautiful Day, When We’re Together and Your Rainy Days are sweet, happy songs that will have you humming along and tapping your feet to the music. That’s one of the other things I love about Radin’s music – his ability to deliver perfectly melodious songs that make me just feel happy.
However, Wax Wings also has quite a few songs that offer a different perspective on love, one that comes with heartbreak and hindsight, and how that forms our expectations towards future relationships. It’s in these songs that I can really hear how much Radin has progressed and matured as an artist. The introduction of more piano and strings into his music creates a lovely, balanced sound. Like They Used To and In Her Eyes are particularly good examples of this.
That’s not to say his songs don’t possess the same self-proclaimed ‘Whisper Rock’ of his past releases; they do. Cross That Line and My My Love gives fans that fantastically stripped back sound Radin is so good at – just his guitar and his voice and not much else (if you’ve ever seen him live, you may have been treated to him unplugging from his amp and playing to the back of the room with no assistance, which is amazing to witness).
The stand-out track, however, is the stunningly beautiful Lovely Tonight. Radin first released this a few years ago, and it had a a very different sound. I must say I prefer this newer version, which is the epitome of a perfect love story. By slowing it down, and adding the piano and the gorgeous strings, he’s created what I honestly think is one of the loveliest love songs ever written. I always hit the repeat button when I listen to this track on the album, it pulls at my heartstrings in exactly the right way.
Wax Wings is available for purchase in iTunes now, and I recommend adding it to your music collection, along with the rest of his work. He’s such a wonderful artist, and his music is something you’ll keep coming back to again and again, just like I do.
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