American pop-rock group Parachute has been creating music since its formation in 2006 when the band formed at the University of Virginia. Since the major label debut of Parachute’s first record “Losing Sleep” in 2009, the band has gone on to tour with immensely successful acts including The Goo Goo Dolls, The Script, Kelly Clarkson, The All-American Rejects and O.A.R.
Parachute produced two other albums in the last six years, which charted highly on the “Billboard” 200. On March 11, the band released its newest album “Wide Awake.“
Parachute begins the album with an upbeat and undeniably catchy song titled “Without You.” This song is the first single from the album, and it has a positive vibe from the first chord. There is a modern sound in instrumentation used, as the band uses a piano, acoustic guitar and lead guitar, intertwining these elements with a clean, polished drum track in the mix.
The vocals by lead singer and pianist Will Anderson are crisp and stick in your head as he sings a predictable love ballad about a recent love. The chorus lyrics read, “I don’t wanna fall asleep without you/ I don’t wanna take one breath without you/ It’s only been a moment it’s true/ But I could never live this life without you.” It is a simple love pop song, but it is done in good taste and sets the tone for the record.
“What Side of Love” follows this first song, and it begins with a choir. The choir is accompanied by an organ playing a smooth 1-5-3 chord progression that provides an intertextually powerful gospel sound. Anderson then combines this with pop vocals about love and trying to fall on the right side of it. This metaphorical “right side” of love he refers to is something that “gives you all that you want” and “takes you higher.” The song is Parachute’s way of saying not to give up on finding a love that makes you happy and is on the “right” side.
“Jennie” is the next song on the record, and it is a track about lost love, as explained by the hook, “Jennie, come back/ You’re the one I needed/ I still feel you in my arms.” This is another pop song by nature, with a smooth backbeat and falsetto laced vocals with lyrical content based on love.
“Everything” marks the first slow ballad on the album, and it is about having all of your love invested in one person. This song is followed by “Lonely With Me,” a smooth track that shows off Anderson’s rapping chops in the chorus, meeting a hook-filled chorus that pleads, “Baby if you’re gonna be lonely/ Be lonely with me.”
“New Orleans” comes next on the record, and it is a dynamic song that builds continuously as it climbs into a falsetto heavy chorus. The track provides what may be the best hook on the album: “She swears it’s in the air, you just have to believe/ Yes she comes alive down in New Orleans.”
The second chorus is followed by a Southern gospel sound with a piano lick and a gospel choir singing, “Take me down to the water.” As in “What Side of Love,” this track provides some needed musical diversity to the album, but does not lose sight of Parachute’s sound. Three tracks later, the song “Crave” returns to this gospel style, making it a definite underlying theme of the album.
“What Breaks My Heart” is the most emotionally vulnerable song on an already poignant album. It begins at a slow tempo as Anderson sings about an encounter with a past lover. It is a relationship he has mostly come to terms with losing, but in a few crevices of his mind, there is still the ever-dwelling possibility they may find each other again. This is a relatable feeling of a powerful love that seems to linger eternally. Seeing this person with her new boyfriend has caught him up in past emotions.
Anderson sings, “It’s not the way I saw you kiss him before you got out of the car/ But I can tell you really love him, and that’s what breaks my heart.” The song builds from this point and lingers more on the sentiment of a lost love for nearly four minutes. After all of this, Anderson makes a profound reflection in the outro verse: “There’s a chance in never knowing/ There’s a chance in holding on/ To finally know you’ll never love me, if I’m honest/ That’s what breaks my heart.”
The album ends with “Waking Up,” which placed directly after “What Breaks My Heart” has the effect of carrying over the sentiment from the last song. The lyrics repeat, “I’m finally waking up,” as if to say, “It is time to move on with my life, that door is closed.” It is a great way to end an album all about love, as Parachute leaves us with the thought of a new beginning.
None of the songs on this album felt like filler material; the ones not mentioned-“Love You Anyway,” “When You Move” and “Getaway” are also solid tracks. Many of the tracks are common pop songs and will probably prove to be forgettable, but a few such as “What Breaks My Heart” and “New Orleans” are not. If you are into catchy love songs, pop-rock bands, Southern gospel or all three, check out “Wide Awake” by Parachute.