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Jon McLaughlin’s Promising Promises Album Review

jonmcl.com

Hi.  My name’s Jon.  My new album is called PROMISING PROMISES and I love it.  Here’s why…

When I signed with Island Def Jam back in 2005, I told my A&R guy that I wanted to produce my own record.  In a very polite way, he basically scoffed at this idea and went on to talk about who he thought should produce my debut album.  So, needless to say I did not produce my first record.  Nor did I produce my 2nd record.  And, to be honest, I’m glad I didn’t.  I wanted to produce my own records because I wanted my record to sound like me.  The problem was that I didn’t know what I really wanted to sound like yet.  Not to mention that I knew absolutely zero about producing a record in the first place.

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Fast forward to spring of 2011.  At that point I had been with Island Records for 6 years.  The last 2 of the 6 had been spent writing like crazy and trying to mutually agree on a producer to make this new album.  We couldn’t agree and eventually I left Island.  So there I was, 3 years past my last record release (which is way too long), 2 1/2 years since my last tour (which is WAY too long) and I was without a record and without a label to fund the making of one.

So I just made one on my own.  I did what I wanted to do from the very beginning.  There were no expensive studios, no flights to LA, no big budget.  Just me, my computer, my band.  Everything about this record makes me smile.  I definitely think there is something to be said for having a great producer there to push you and bring new ideas to the table, but in the summer of 2011, making this record on my own was exactly what I needed to do.

A few of my favorite tracks…

The opening song is the title track of PROMISING PROMISES.  There is a long story behind this song but I basically wrote this song out of frustration with my former label.  We were just on 2 different creative pages and so I wrote this song.  I’m basically just venting for 5 minutes on this one.

Track 3 is a song called “Summer Is Over”.  This one is a break up song.  Break up songs are my absolute favorite songs.  People always assume that every song I write is from my perspective or that every song is about me.  And that is true for probably half of my songs.  But the other half are not.  “Summer Is Over” is one of those songs that is not about me.  I wrote it about a friend of mine who went through a break up after having spent an awesome summer with his significant other.  What makes me love this song even more is that I recorded it with my friend Sara Bareilles.  Sara is one of my favorite musicians and I’m SO happy to have her on this record!

“The Atmosphere” is a song about the endurance of love.  It’s a song about ignoring the statistics – which say that most relationships won’t last – and just being in the moment.

“If Only I” is an unrequited love song.  It’s not a break up song but it has that element of angst and despair that I love.  Musically, this song may be my favorite of the entire record.  It’s a builder.  When we were recording “If Only I” I had to learn new tricks with the recording software I was using (ProTools) because the song was getting so big and complicated that the program would crash halfway through a take.

“My Girl Tonight” & “I’ll Follow You” are my 2 straight up love songs of the record.  When it comes to these songs, they are definitely written from my perspective and are written about and for my wife, Amy.

“These Crazy Times” is a song I wrote in May of 2010 when, in the middle of a failing economy and corporate corruption and government bailouts, my cousin, Adam, died in the off shore oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.  It was just a crazy time in my life when a lot was going on in my head and heart.

So that’s it.  That’s my record.  Hope you like it!

-j-

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