Day 14: O.A.R. – “The Wanderer”

Tracklisting

  1. “Missing Pieces”
  2. “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker”
  3. “Black Rock”
  4. “Conquering Fools”
  5. “Get Away”
  6. “About an Hour Ago”
  7. “Toy Store”
  8. “About Mr. Brown”
  9. “Ladanday”

Want to know what O.A.R. (… Of A Revolution) sounded like in their rawest, youngest form? Listen to “The Wander.” Written while the quintet – then quartert – were still in high school, this album captures O.A.R. at a time well before they sold out and converted to their current pop rock status.

The album came out in 1997, six years before their first radio hit in 2003 titled “Hey Girl.” Quick trivia about “Hey Girl”: it’s been released on a studio album three times, each with a completely different feel to it.

O.A.R.’s original sound had a reggae feel to it. And this was still present through the first few albums. They then reached a ska-like status when they added saxophonist Jerry DePizzo. DePizzo’s sax work is not on this album seeing as he didn’t join the band until 2000 when they met at Ohio State University.

Three of their most iconic songs rest on this masterpiece. “About Mr. Brown,” “Black Rock,” and “That Was A Crazy Game of Poker” are three regulars played at shows, with the latter usually closing out sets or encores.

“About Mr. Brown” was written for a close friend to the band named Michael who died at a young age. “This song will forever always be for our good friend, Michael,” would be said by Marc Roberg before this song is played live.

“Black Rock” is one of my favorite songs by this band. It tells about a place called the Black Rock in Maryland where the band grew up. It was written telling us that we all have a special place we go to when we get away. Whether it’s a physical spot or a mental state, we all find comfort when we get away.

“Poker” is the holy grail of O.A.R. songs and the longest on the album, clocking in at close to nine minutes. It hits anywhere from 15-20 minutes live as O.A.R. has turned themselves into a jam band. It tells about a fantasy game of poker being played with the devil where the narrator is trying not to lose his money and soul to

The one song that sticks out the most on this album is “Conquering Fools.” This is another one of my favorites of the album. It talks about the conquering of our inner temptations to mess up and do stupid stuff. It’s fast pace and ridiculous intro riff always bring cheers when played live.

“The Wander” is a completely different album than what O.A.R. has put out as of late. It’s raw, brilliant material is worlds above what the band has put out in it’s last three albums (and soon four once the new album comes out in a couple months).

“About An Hour Ago,” “Missing Pieces” and “Toy Store” are also great songs to listen to, especially in their earliest and rawest forms.

O.A.R. catches a lot of crap for its young crowds and pop sound. But vintage O.A.R. is what makes this band so good and what allows the hardcore fans to still come out.

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This entry was posted in OAR.

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