Album Review: Saving Abel – Miss America

It has been just over two years since Saving Abel burst onto the scene with their self-titled debut album which shot them to fame and although the band has taken some hits from reviewers, they have grown throughout the US and are sticking firmly to their guns with their second album release ‘Miss America’.

Now just before I start this review I will state I was a fan of their debut but the opening track ‘Tap Out’ already put me on edge. As the song builds I am ready, I’m pumped, and I’m going to make someone tap out…what the hell just happened. Everything that I was ready for is gone with an unsuspected weak vocal performance that just kills anything that this song could have been. Jared’s vocals are simply bland at best, no effort, no emotion, no real drive and passion. It really feels like someone else has performed on this and left me worried for what was ahead.

‘Stupid Girl (Only In Hollywood)’, the albums leads single, is a vast improvement though as fans will already know via the release of the song some time ago and it registers as one of the better songs on the album. The song builds to a good tempo and remains there. Making an attempt to decrease or increase the tempo of this song would have seriously harmed. At this level it works perfect.

‘Contagious’ starts off exactly as the name would suggest, it’s contagious. The drum beat right at the start is the perfect start to keep on a good flow from ‘Stupid Girl (Only In Hollywood)’ and the band continues the great feel as it progresses.

“I’m not in love but the sex is good” states Jared for their acoustic number ‘The Sex Is Good’. The new theme tune for a night out on the town with the guys is definitely a hit or a miss song. Although it’s good to see Saving Abel twist something else into their music so early into the album, I fail to find the need for it as the fourth song on the album; it would be much better suited as a bonus song. Placing the song between ‘Contagious’ and ‘Bloody Sunday’ is almost as bad as the vocals on the opening song ‘Tap Out’ as it just doesn’t work or progress the album, it hinders it. Thankfully the band pick back up again with ‘Bloody Sunday’ which is another example of Saving Abel working to their strengths and could easily be one of the albums hits.

‘I’m Still Alive’ produces the emotion that Jared required on the opening song ‘Tap Out’ and somewhat throughout the album. Accompanied with an orchestra, this ballad is a collective effort from the band and they have all came together for an incredible song and one that has mainstream success written all over it. ‘Angel Without Wings’ continues the ballad sound but only after ‘Mississippi Moonshine’ staggers in the door, falling face first before picking up a whiskey bottle and taking a swig or ten. ‘Mississippi Moonshine’ placed between the ballads may not have been their greatest decision but it will become yet another pick yourself up and party song without really striking anything out of the park in terms of quality.

The album’s title track ‘Miss America’ was written after the band performed for the troops. Lyrically the song is written as a letter home from a soldier to his mother and his wife. Some inspired and energetic performing makes this song stand out as it has significant meaning to them.

Saving Abel Miss America ArtworkThe album ends with ‘I Need You’, a steady moving love song with Nickelback influence and ‘Hell Of A Ride’, modern rock with a good feel of southern rock mixed in too great a welcoming finish to the album.

So is ‘Miss America’ a good album? Yes and no. The album certainly has its plus points and original fans of the band will likely be on board but as a fan I felt let down. The band stated that this album would showcase that their sound has matured but where has it matured? There is nothing new to this album that we haven’t already experienced from a host of others.

The band are writing catchy songs but they are already falling into that Nickelback zone. They don’t look to progress their music further, just sit happily in their comfort zone with their sound and just make albums they know people will buy. That is fine for Nickelback, they have been around for fifteen years with countless number ones under their belt but for a band who is looking to build upon the impact of their debut, it isn’t enough. They made their mark as a mainstream rock band; they have the support of their fans and the label so they should have experimented and broke those boundaries and unleashed a more powerful album with ‘Miss America’.

Saving Abel in my view could be a great hard rock band. Bin the ballads, bin the pointless uninspired rock star songs about sex and right an album full of power and emotion and Saving Abel could quit on top of that one album. They have the talent, a lot of talent, to do so but ‘Miss America’ is an album that you release six albums down the line when you’re just taking it easy and taking advantage of the fact you have built a massive fan base.

Jason Null and Scott Bartlett hold this album together with some incredible performances and Eric Taylor and Blake Dixon shine through also. I don’t think Jared was all there for this album. I haven’t read studio updates or watched webisodes if there are any but there are a lot of times on the album that he just doesn’t give it 100% but there could be reasons for this. ‘I’m Still Alive’ produces a great vocal performance from Jared and I wish he carried it across the full album.

If you were a fan of their debut, I would say pick it up certainly and for even those who have yet to experience the band, be sure to give them a go. ‘Miss America’ showcases a lot of promise but I don’t feel it’s enough and that they have grown and developed as much as they state from their self-titled debut two years ago.

Rating – 6


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Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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