American Authors | Oh, What a Life (Island)

cd american authorsOh, What a Life is upbeat and uplifting, music that engages as it makes you happy.


I know it’s still early, but I’m going to predict the future now and proclaim this my favorite album of 2014. American Authors, a Brooklyn-based four-piece, sprang suddenly to international fame (I heard them playing after a Barclay’s Premier Match in London last month), and with good reason. Oh, What a Life is upbeat and uplifting, music that engages as it makes you happy. The lyrics are in no way sappy, yet they profess the positive, as illustrated by opening track and first single “Believer,” in which Zac Barnett sings, “I’m just a believer that things will get better.” The song is sunshine-y and ripe for sing-alongs.

With “Oh-we-oh-we-oh-no” ending each of the stanza lines, “Think about It” is a playful song about looking ahead, not regretting the past. Whether you know it or not, “Best Day of My Life” has been going through your head for weeks now. Somehow, although it’s everywhere (see above re: England, as well as some high-profile television and advertising placements), it never grows old. “How can we make amends/ when we said all we said/ I call and you don’t pick up” sings Barnett to open “Luck,” a song that takes responsibility for what has passed.

The stanzas in “Trouble” reminds me of something OK Go might have done, especially because Barnett’s voice sounds eerily like Damian Kulash’s. “Hit It” takes the tempo up a notch or 10, with its racing drums and rapid vocal delivery; something on your body will be tapping or nodding or air drumming, guaranteed. “Home” reminds us that it’s good to get back to our roots, the place where our story began. As its name implies, “Love” is another heartening track about finding peace with one’s past. “Heart of Stone” is a rocker, sure to translate exceptionally well to the stage when AA hits the road shortly with OneRepublic and The Script. After the bouncy “Ghost,” AA closes out its debut album with the title track, a gorgeous blend of Americana, painted with banjos and strings, and anthem: “And we laughed/ and we cried/ and thought “Oh, what a life.”

What a life, indeed—especially when American Authors provides the soundtrack. A+ | Laura Hamlett

U.S. Summer Tour Dates

05.28-29 | Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO*
05.31 | KROQ Weenie Roast, Irvine, CA
06.01 | Ak-Chin Pavillion, Phoenix, AZ*
06.02 | Sleep Train Amphitheatre, Chula Vista, CA*
06.03 | Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Irvine, CA
06.05 | Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA*
06.06 | Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
06.07 | Concord Pavilion, Concord, CA*
06.08 | Sleep Train Amphitheatre, Wheatland, CA*
06.10 | Sleep Country Amphitheater, Ridgefield, WA*
06.12 | Comcast Arena, Everett, WA*
06.13 | Taco Bell Arena, Boise, ID*
06.14 | USANA Amphitheatre, West Valley City, UT*
06.15 | Taste of Fort Collins, Fort Collins, CO
06.17 | Target Center, Minneapolis, MN*
06.18-19 | Ravinia, Highland Park, IL*
06.20 | Firefly Music Festival, Dover, DE
06.21 | DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, MI*
06.22 | Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto, ON
06.24-25 | Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, Boston, MA*
06.27 | Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA
06.28 | Susquehanna Bank Center, Pennsauken Township, NJ*
06.29 | Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY*
06.19 | Fiddlers Green, Denver, CO

*w/OneRepublic & The Script

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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