I was in middle school once. For the most part it was awkward and awful. Why do I bring this up you ask? Well it actually has a lot to do with the album I am reviewing entitled Everyday by Joe Donnelly and the Indulgences. Donnelly is not only the sax, flute, clarinet, guitar, keyboard player and songwriter but a middle school band director. Donnelly teaches these young minds and wanted to write songs about the experience of being a middle school kid. To quote Donnelly, “The songs are meant to put you in those (stinky, nasty) shoes again, if you dare.”
To be perfectly honest Everyday could be about any topic in the world and I would still enjoy the living daylights out of this album. The music on Everyday is better than good. Donnelly has a decent, possibly good voice, but the horns, drums, bass and guitar are really where the money is at on this album. Donnelly experiments with time signatures but not just because he can. The grooves that drive the songs often have a tinge of ‘70s funk - think Sly and The Family Stones meets Shaft.
Speaking of grooves this music made me want to dance. It makes you want to bust out a slick move. I’m hoping that Donnelly has been feeding his students his grooves and others like it while also making them realize that 99% of EDM requires no musical talent. Something tells me he has.
I’m having a hard time selecting highlights but the first song that made me realize how crazy talented the band is was “Step One.” The bass, guitar and horns are - oh my - so on point. I thought “I Wonder What's On Her Mind?” had arguably the best vocal performance by Donnelly. He sounds a bit like Bowie here - I’m sure he’ll take that one. On top of that there were some fantastic female background harmonies. If you are cramped for time and need a little taste of what this album offers go to 3:45 on “Workin’.” Tell me that’s not the hippest thing you heard since “Funkytown.”
Have I convinced you yet that Everyday is the real deal? If not I will say that Donnelly’s lyrics are a treat if you somehow get past listening to the music. Lyrics like “I'm getting tired of people telling me All of the time, what to do I'll show you all of the things I know My life's not up to you” certainly stir up thoughts of what it was like to be in middle school. All right - I'm done gushing - just hit play and enjoy.
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