Saturday, March 03, 2007

Of A Revolution

One of the frustrating, but less apparent things about living abroad is missing out on all the new albums your favorite singers and bands release during your absence.

In this day and age, it is probably much easier to live abroad without missing your favorite things than it was even 20 years ago. There is probably very little I can't get my hands on in Japan assuming I really wanted to. The internet, free trade, and a massively interdependent global economy spawn enormous marketing campaigns to sell everything from Lindsey Lohan, to Disney Movies, shampoo, and ipods in every concievable corner of the globe. So I can travel pretty much anywhere on the planet and never escape the corporate onslaught of Pepsi, MTV, McDonald's, and the likes of Paris Hilton (as much as I might like to rid my mind of such things). Less promoted stuff, such as Navajo Tacos, and Girl Scout Cookies become quickly forgotten, and replaced by favorite things in your new environment.

Then one day, after you've almost forgotten something existed, another fellow expat will bring it to mind, or you will run across it surfing the web. This happened yesterday as I opened up the page to see a link promoting one of my all time favorite bands performing in Madison Square Garden. O.A.R. short for "Of A Revolution" has apparently released a new album in my absence, and judging from their presence on MSN, seems to be doing quite well for themselves.

I was turned on to O.A.R. in college by my friend David Hanson as we drove around Flagstaff. A jam band from Maryland with a unique rock/reggae sound, They are legendary live performers in big college towns across the American Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West. I have selected a couple of videos from youtube that I had never heard before and a live performance of one of my all time favorite O.A.R. songs.

The sound on O.A.R.'s new music videos seems quite slick and slightly overproduced. They probably had some talented hired guns helping them put these songs together. Their new work has a very different tone compared to their earlier albums, which are much more down to earth. The song Love and Memories in the video is quite the departure from their Bob Marley inspired bar anthems about booze and poker that I remember in college. But I do like it. Their other song I found a decent video for, Right on Time, seems more like the O.A.R. I remember. But none can deny that they've adopted a more complex sound.

They appear to be quite successful now and have come a long way. Judging from everything I've heard about them, they have probably worked really hard to achieve the success they have, and I salute them. To see what they are really known for, here's a video of an older song of theirs, About Mr. Brown. Their live performances are often legendary and frequently bootlegged.

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