Of Men and Angels

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Of Men and Angels
Studio album by The Rocket Summer
Released February 23, 2010
Recorded March–August 2009 at:
Ocean Studios
(Burbank, CA, USA)
Pedernales Studios
(Austin, TX, USA)
Genre Pop rock
Length 55:15
Label Island Def Jam
Producer Bryce Avary, CJ Eriksson
The Rocket Summer chronology
You Gotta Believe
(2009)
Of Men and Angels
(2010)
Life Will Write the Words
(2012)
Singles from Of Men and Angels
  1. "Walls"
    Released: February 23, 2010 (2010-02-23)

Of Men and Angels is the fourth full-length studio album by American pop rock artist The Rocket Summer, and was released on February 23, 2010.[1] The album debuted at No. 1 on iTunes, surpassing The Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D. which had previously held the #1 spot for Top Album.[2][3] Three songs on the album were initially featured on the 2009 extended play, You Gotta Believe. Leading up to the album debut, The Rocket Summer released the entire album for preview on The Rocket Summer MySpace on February 15, 2010, just eight days prior to the in-store release.[4]

The Rocket Summer recorded the new album at Ocean Studios in Burbank, CA, from February to April 2009,[5][6] with the band undertaking mixing with Neal Avron in May 2009.[7] Frontman Bryce Avary played all of the instruments on the record and produced the album with CJ Eiriksson.[8]

Production[edit]

Avary recorded the album in Ocean Studios in Burbank, CA, from February to April 2009,[6] and later wrote and recorded new songs in Austin, TX, while waiting for industry issues to clear.[8] In creating the record, Avary intended "to keep the record as organic as possible."[8] As a result, Avary minimized the chopping of the drums, did not use Autotune on the vocals, and featured longer takes on the guitar. Avary additionally mixed some of the tracks with Neal Avron, and produced the album with CJ Eiriksson.[8]

The album's title and title track Of Men and Angels comes from the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 13: "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal" (NIV).[9] The title track, on which the album is based, is consequently what Avary considers to be "spiritually charged," despite the self-made distinction of not being a solely "Christian" band when it comes to categorizing The Rocket Summer's music.[2]

On January 8, 2010, The Rocket Summer announced the Of Men and Angels cover art, which features a thoughtful Avary leaning against a white, concrete wall. Opposite the wall is an ink-drawn angel, pushing away a black burst; the black burst accords with what Avary has termed in interviews as life's troubles.[10] Avary has also stated that the artwork represents his perceived reality, where "sometimes things are actually supposed to be even worse than they are."[10][11]

Release and promotion[edit]

On January 13, 2010, the lead single "Walls" premiered on the band's MySpace,[12][13] and on January 14, 2010, the album's track listing was announced on Facebook.[6][14] Preceding the in-store album release, the music video for the album's second single "Hills and Valleys" was released on February 22, 2010.[15]

To promote the new album, Avary performed the album's lead single "Walls" on KDFW's Good Day Dallas and KTBC's Good Day Austin,[16] and held a hometown album release party at the Granada Theatre in Dallas, TX, where Matt Thiessen of Relient K and a contest-winning unsigned band opened.[17] Leading up to the album debut, The Rocket Summer released the entire album for preview on The Rocket Summer MySpace on February 15, 2010, just eight days prior to the in-store release.[4]

Touring[edit]

Starting March 13, 2010, The Rocket Summer commenced a two-week tour with OneRepublic and Goo Goo Dolls.[17] Avary also played an acoustic set at the SXSW Music + Film + Interactive Conference in Austin, TX, on March 20, 2010, and performed at the Slam Dunk festival on May 30. He additionally performed at the 16th annual Vans Warped Tour 2010, which opened in California the last weekend of June 2010 and ran through August 15, 2010.[17]

Prior to the album release, in October 2009, The Rocket Summer headlined a 34-city North American tour to promote the album.[18]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[19]

Of Men and Angels has received much critical acclaim since its debut. Allmusic's George Heaney likened Avary's voice to Michael Jackson's, stating that "Avary’s Michael Jackson-esque voice soars high over sunny power pop riffs, giving the listener a nice respite from the half-sung/half-screamed vocals that seemed to have fully infiltrated the world of emo rock."[20] Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News gave the album a strong, positive review, stating that Of Men and Angels could be "the brink of [Avary's] mainstream pop breakthrough."[21]

Singles[edit]

  • "Walls" was the lead single from Of Men and Angels and was released in February 2010. In an interview with AOL, Avary stated that the song is "about struggles and about having issues in your life that you just can't seem to quite get a grip on, whether that's depression or whether that's anything."[2]
  • "Hills and Valleys" was the second single from Of Men and Angels and was released on February 22, 2010, along with its music video.[22][23] Its release coincided with the in-store album release.
  • "You Gotta Believe" was the title single from the 4-song You Gotta Believe EP released on December 7, 2009, in advance of the album Of Men and Angels.[23] Coinciding with its release was also its accompanying music video, directed by the award-winning Randy Slavin.[23]

Tracklist[edit]

All songs written and composed by Bryce Avary. 

No. Title Length
1. "Roses"   3:46
2. "You Gotta Believe"   3:16
3. "Hills and Valleys"   3:45
4. "I Want Something to Live For"   3:59
5. "Walls"   4:48
6. "Pull Myself Together (Don't Hate Me)"   3:34
7. "Of Men and Angels"   3:45
8. "I Need a Break…But I'd Rather Have a Breakthrough"   3:27
9. "Nothing Matters"   3:24
10. "Japanese Exchange Student"   3:37
11. "Tara, I'm Terrible"   3:01
12. "Hey!"   2:43
13. "Let You Go"   4:26
14. "This Is a Refuge"   3:49
15. "Light"   4:02

Personnel[edit]

The Rocket Summer
Additional personnel

Chart history[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
US
[24]
US
Rock
US
Christian
US
Alternative
New Zealand Albums Chart
2010 Of Men and Angels
  • Released on 23 February 2010
  • Label: Island Def Jam
  • Producer: Bryce Avary / CJ Eiriksson
38 4 2 3 30

References[edit]

  1. ^ MySpace
  2. ^ a b c Exclusive JSYK Interview, AOL, retrieved 28 February 2010 
  3. ^ Video Interview of The Rocket Summer, CBN, retrieved 11 March 2010 
  4. ^ a b Official MySpace Blog, MySpace, retrieved 27 February 2010 
  5. ^ All Music Guide: Of Men and Angels, AllMusic, retrieved 14 March 2010 
  6. ^ a b c Schultz, Brian (16 April 2009), The Rocket Summer complete tracking new album, retrieved 15 March 2010 
  7. ^ "Alternative Press | News". Altpress.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  8. ^ a b c d "The Rocket Summer -"Of Men and Angels"- In the studio - Episode 2". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  9. ^ J-14 Interview http://www.j-14.com/2010/02/exclusive-qa-with-the-rocket-summer.html
  10. ^ a b Alt Press Cover Art http://www.altpress.com/news/8375.htm
  11. ^ Nichole Fazekas. "Exclusive: The Rocket Summer reveal art for upcoming album". Alternative Press. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  12. ^ New Single "Walls", retrieved 26 January 2010 
  13. ^ The Rocket Summer Releases Of Men and Angels, retrieved 10 March 2010 
  14. ^ THE ROCKET SUMMER * OF MEN AND ANGELS (track listing) 
  15. ^ 'Hills and Valleys' Music Video Released, retrieved 22 February 2010 
  16. ^ FOX Good Day Performance 
  17. ^ a b c TRS.com Press Release 
  18. ^ HM Magazine: News Collection Week of 12/13 url=http://www.hmmagazine.com/2009/12/news-collection-week-of-12-13/ 
  19. ^ Heaney, Gregory. "Review: Of Men and Angels". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  20. ^ AllMusic Review http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1718995
  21. ^ Dallas News Review http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/ent/music/stories/DN-rocketsummer_0224gd.ART.State.Edition1.4c15ec3.html
  22. ^ The Rocket Summer 'Hills and Valleys' Music Video, retrieved 11 March 2010 
  23. ^ a b c The Rocket Summer Premieres "You Gotta Believe" New Video Today on AOL, Island Def Jam, retrieved 11 March 2010 
  24. ^ "Artist Albums Charts History for: The Rocket Summer". Billboard. Retrieved 12 March 2010.