ALL OF THE THINGS THAT MATTER
Released in April 2021(Jamie Allen)
I can’t recall ever listening to an all acoustic album without knowing at least some of the songs beforehand but there’s always a first for everything. To me, hearing acoustic renditions of songs has always been when one of my favorite groups decides to do something different and in some ways reinvent their songs in an acoustic fashion. It’s always neat to hear how songs can sound so different in an acoustic setting. Three of my favorite acoustic or unplugged albums are KISS‘ Unplugged, Tesla‘s Five Man Acoustical Jam and Dokken‘s One Live Night. What made those three albums easy to get into was that I knew most, if not all, of the songs already and I was just hearing them played in a slightly different manner.
Unfortunately, that is not the case for Jamie Allen‘s new acoustic album All of The Things That Matter. I didn’t know any of the songs prior to listening to them in an acoustic fashion. There is a good reason why I’ve rarely listened to an acoustic album of brand new songs before. I really want to hear the songs plugged in. That’s it. Sure, once I’ve gotten used to the songs and they become embedded in my mind, it’s pretty cool to hear them in an acoustic format but just not the other way around. As I was listening to Allen‘s All of The Things That Matter, I was actually thinking how some of his songs would sound really cool plugged in. Some artists like to write their songs acoustically and then record them plugged in. A recent example is former Iron Maiden lead vocalist Blaze Bayley whom I believe wrote all, if not the majority, of the tracks on his latest studio album War Within Me acoustically along with guitarist Chris Appleton. That being said, Bayley delivered a plugged in album and didn’t subject the listeners to his acoustic renditions.
When I listen to Allen‘s All of The Things That Matter, it feels that I am listening to songs that for the most part haven’t been quite finalized yet. I wonder what it would have been like for the songs to be done plugged in. For an album of brand new material, I wouldn’t mind hearing a few acoustic tracks but 15 in a row is simply hard to get through. Funny enough, Allen‘s look reminded me of WWE wrestler Shawn Michaels and his voice reminded me of Bret Michaels quite a bit. It’s perhaps then not surprising that my predecessor Skid opined in his review of Allen‘s previous record The Storyteller that the singer was a Bret Michaels impersonator. The songs on All of The Things That Matter are actually pretty well crafted and for the most part enjoyable to hear so I would think that anyone who likes Michaels‘ solo stuff and Poison ballads will eat up Allen‘s latest album. Unfortunately, I am simply not someone who can get through so many Michaels like acoustic ballad type songs.
Putting aside my reluctance to listen to 15 acoustic songs in a row that I am not familiar with, there are a few songs that stand out. The opening song “Great Western Theatre” is actually pretty good with a cool guitar melody during the chorus section. The peppier “The Pump House” and “Pause” have some pretty cool sections. Probably the track that caught my attention the most after the opening track is the closing one “Never Drink Alone.” Not that I’m much of a drinker these days and although I’ve never really taken to drinking alone, I thought the lyrics for the song “Never Drink Alone” were rather poignant and memorable. Overall, Allen‘s new album will likely have limited appeal but there is no doubt that the singer sings from his heart and is not afraid to go against the grain by releasing 15 brand new acoustic songs.
01. Great Western Theatre
03. The Pump House
04. The Shouting
06. About The Weather
07. Kicking Around
08. Against The Ceiling
09. Kiss Me
10. What I Don’t Know
12. The Moment
14. The Things That Matter
15. Never Drink Alone
Jamie Allen – lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar
Johnny Monaco – acoustic rhythm and lead guitars
Produced, engineered and mixed by Johnny Monaco
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, June 2021
Jamie Allen‘s “The Things That Matter” video: