Artist – Five For Fighting
Album – Slice
Year – 2010
Genre – Piano Pop/Rock
When we live in an age of instant connection and internet based lives (look who’s talking) there come both benefits and detriments. Sometimes we get so caught up in our Facebook friendships and our texts that we don’t really take the time to look back to when life was a bit simpler. Slice, by Five For Fighting mastermind and renaissance man John Ondrasik, is a nostalgic look back at a time when even though there were no cell phones or Facebook, somehow everyone just felt a little more connected. It’s about enjoying the personal time we have with our music and those we cherish in life, laid out in an absolutely beautiful tune.
The song starts with a wonderfully sweet piano line, typical of Five For Fighting’s style. Right away, Ondrasik’s voice is the first thing you’ll notice. Chances are you’ve heard other songs by Mr. Ondrasik on the radio, but if not, then you will hear one of the sweetest voices in modern songwriting. The early lines make a nice reference to Don Mclean’s “American Pie,” as does the chorus line “we’re more than just a slice of American Pie.” But more on that later. The first two verses paint a beautiful picture of how in the early days of rock music, people formed bonds over this brand new type of music that just seemed to have a way of touching people. It’s a great sentiment, and one that’s sorely needed in our modern era.
The chorus is astonishingly catchy and extremely stirring. It reinforces that sense of personal brotherhood and friendship that was a huge facet of the 60’s and 70’s, or as we kids like to say, “like forever ago.” The melody is gorgeous, and the hook will keep you coming back for more. He sings with so much passion here that it’s hard not to tear up. It goes to show how fondly Ondrasik remembers the capability for connection years ago, and you find yourself wondering if that kind of connection still exists.
The next two verses are where the rest of the instruments come in, and although they don’t truly stand out, that’s not their point. They simply add layers to the song that give the song a sense of grandiosity. This is what the song is all about, the fullness of life from decades past, and the instruments portray that beautifully. The lyrics here contrast the nostalgia of the first two, speaking of blog reading, putting off personal time with friends, and how we feel strange when we come across others from different parts of the country that turn out to be just like ourselves. We think, “how can you be so much like me? I don’t know you and we live so far away.” It’s a feeling that, while I don’t believe is completely true, Ondrasik seems to feel is permeating our internet culture today, instead of connecting on a face to face and heart to heart basis.
The chorus repeats twice, this time with more gusto and passion than before. Then the bridge section comes in, and I absolutely love this bridge. It has so much imagery in it that you can almost feel what he describes, even though I never lived in that time period: Driving with the top down, music blasting, friends singing along, a starry moonlit night, and warm wind whipping at your face. This is how friendships and relationships were forged back then. Not through tweets and posts, but through good times together and being together in the moment. I could not agree more with this section, and some days I long for experiences like this.
The instruments cut out and the piano plays over the first verse again. It’s a subtle, but very nice pull back from the section before, bringing us back to reality. There’s a short quiet section, and then the final choruses kick in with a bang, and the whole group just kills it. The final choruses are very emotional, and the final piano line almost tells us, “This can’t be the way it’s going to be forever…is it?”
However you feel about the song’s message, Slice is a beautiful track with stirring vocals and lyrics. It’s a song you can tell was written with a lot of emotion going into it, and Mr. Ondrasik knows how to touch a chord with listeners both old and young. If you’re looking for a meaningful piece of music with an insanely catchy chorus and lyrics to ponder, Slice is for you.
What do you all think of the review and song? Let me know below.