Approaching Normal

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Approaching Normal
Approaching Normal.jpg
Studio album by Blue October
Released March 24, 2009 (2009-03-24)
Recorded August 18, 2008 - October 24, 2008 in Austin, Texas and Tokyo, Japan
Genre Alternative rock
Length 48:10 (Explicit version)
48:03 (Edited version)
Label Universal Records
Producer Steve Lillywhite
Blue October chronology
Foiled for the Last Time
Approaching Normal
Ugly Side: An Acoustic Evening With Blue October
Singles from Approaching Normal
  1. "Dirt Room"
    Released: December 23, 2008
  2. "Say It"
    Released: April 24, 2009
  3. "Jump Rope"
    Released: November 20, 2009
  4. "Should Be Loved"
    Released: April 9, 2010
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Arkansas Democrat Gazette favorable[2]
Billboard favorable[3]
Entertainment Weekly B−[4]
The Hollywood Reporter favorable[5]
People Magazine 2.5/5 stars[6]
Rock Sound 7/10 stars[7]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[8]

Approaching Normal is the fifth studio album by alternative rock band Blue October.[9] The album was released on March 24, 2009[10] and debuted at number thirteen on the Billboard charts.


Justin Furstenfeld unveiled the title and tentative track listing on Blue October's website on January 31, 2008. Pre-production of the album began at the beginning of 2008 with demos being recorded at 5am Studio in Austin, Texas[11] The recording sessions for the album began on August 18, 2008, and were completed on October 24, 2008,[12] with the band recording the album at Willie Nelson's Pedernales Studios near Austin with Grammy Award-winning producer Steve Lillywhite.[13] They also recorded part of the album in Sony Recordings in Tokyo, Japan.[11] Post-production was completed on January 8, 2009.

The track listing consists of several new songs, as well as songs that Blue October and 5591 have performed live. A live version of the song "Weight of the World" appeared on Blue October's 2004 album, Argue With a Tree. The song "Say It" was first performed at KDGE's Edgefest 17 on April 27, 2008[14] The festival was Steve Lillywhite's first time seeing Blue October perform, and the band's set, especially the song "Say It" cemented his desire to produce Blue October's next album.[15]

During an interview with the music webzine Playback:Stl, Justin described the song "Blue Skies" as being one of the few happy songs he has written, saying, "There's nothing negative about it. It's all about beauty. It's really, really pretty and really, really happy, but it's going to be rocked out so crazy that people will kind of forget that it's a lovey lovey, dovey song."[16]

During concerts on July 4 and 5, 2008, Justin Furstenfeld confirmed that "Say It" and "Weight of the World" would be on the new album. On July 23, 2008, during a web chat with fans, Jeremy Furstenfeld confirmed the song "Dirt Room" would be on the album, and that of the new songs the band was recording, it was his favorite. Justin Furstenfeld first performed the songs "Blue Skies" and "My Never" at Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn concerts in August 2008. Furstenfeld also confirmed March 2009 as the anticipated release date for the album.

The first single from the album, "Dirt Room" was performed live by the band during concerts in December 2008. Immediately following the concerts, radio stations in Austin, Dallas and Houston put the song into rotation. The single reached radio nationally on January 13, 2009, and was available to digital outlets on December 23, 2008.[10] The song "Say It" is the second single and was released on April 24, 2009.[17] The song "Should Be Loved" is the third single.

Blue October released the song "Graceful Dancing" via an email gift to the public on January 7, 2009.[18] The song "Kangaroo Cry" was released on the NCIS official soundtrack on February 10, 2009[19] and featured in the coda of the season 7 Christmas episode, "Faith".

The album was released for pre-order on March 3, 2009. The album entered the Billboard 200 chart at #13 with sales of 33,778 and fell out of the top 50 in its second week. It also peaked at #5 on the Top Rock Albums chart. The album has sold 185,978 to date.

The song "The End" is about a man whose wife leaves him for a new lover. The man sneaks into his house and sees his wife and her new lover having sex and murders them both before turning the gun on himself. The song's controversial lyrics were used against Justin Furstenfeld during his divorce and parental custody hearing, with his ex-wife's lawyer claiming that the song was written about her and was released in order to threaten her. Justin claimed that the song was written about an incident that occurred in a neighborhood where he lived before he met his ex-wife.

Songs selection[edit]

On October 21, 2008, Justin Furstenfeld confirmed the twelve songs to be released on the album.[20] and that two versions of the album would be released; one version with explicit lyrics, and one version with censored lyrics. A different bonus track would be included on each version.[21] Approaching Normal is also the first Blue October album to be released on vinyl, with the vinyl version including all the bonus tracks.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Weight of the World" Justin Furstenfeld 4:05
2. "Say It" Justin Furstenfeld 3:38
3. "Dirt Room" Justin Furstenfeld, C.B. Hudson III*, Jeremy Furstenfeld*
Ryan Delahoussaye*, Matt Noveskey*
4. "Been Down" Justin Furstenfeld 4:19
5. "My Never" Justin Furstenfeld 3:47
6. "Should Be Loved" Justin Furstenfeld 4:02
7. "Kangaroo Cry" Justin Furstenfeld, Jeremy Furstenfeld* 4:53
8. "Picking Up Pieces" Justin Furstenfeld 4:22
9. "Jump Rope" Justin Furstenfeld 3:22
10. "Blue Skies" Justin Furstenfeld 3:44
11. "Blue Does" Justin Furstenfeld 3:27


  • Justin Furstenfeld - vocals, guitar
  • Jeremy Furstenfeld - drums, percussion
  • Ryan Delahoussaye - violin, mandolin, keyboard, vocals
  • C.B. Hudson - guitar, vocals
  • Matt Noveskey - bass and acoustic guitars, vocals
  • Produced by Steve Lillywhite
  • Mixed by Steve Lillywhite and CJ Eiriksson
  • Engineered by CJ Eiriksson
  • Mastering: Gavin Lurssen at Lurssen Mastering
  • Co-writer for "The End": Patrick Leonard
  • A&R: Paul Nugent for Brando Records
  • Executive Producer: Sylvia Rhone
  • A&R Coordination: Elizabeth Vago for Universal Motown
  • A&R Administration: Michele Goldberg for Universal Motown
  • Art Direction: Joe Spix and Justin Furstenfeld
  • Design: Joe Spix
  • Photography: Chapman Baehler
  • Photo Model: Kathryn Olsen
  • Management: Paul Nugent, Mike Swinford and Randy Miller for Rainmaker Artists
  • Booking Agent: Kevin Daly for Monterey International
  • Label: Brando/Universal Motown


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Arkansas Democrat Gazette review
  3. ^ Billboard review
  4. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  5. ^ Hollywood Reporter review
  6. ^ People Magazine review
  7. ^ Durham, Victoria (June 2009). "Blue October – Approaching Normal." Rock Sound (123): 81. ISSN 1465-0185.
  8. ^ Rolling Stone review
  9. ^ Justin Furstenfeld (2008-01-31). "Songs Thus Far For Preproduction on Next Album". 
  10. ^ a b "Blue October Set Date For 'Approaching Normal'". 2008-12-10. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. 
  11. ^ a b "Blue October and Universal Motown Records Choose 5am Studios for New Album Pre-Production". 
  12. ^ Justin Furstenfeld (2008-10-21). "The Label Came to Hear the Album". 
  13. ^ Meghan Jones (2008-06-02). "Catching Up With...Steve Lillywhite". 
  14. ^ "Blue October at Edgefest 2008". .
  15. ^ Meghan Jones (2008-06-02). "Catching Up With...Steve Lillywhite". 
  16. ^ Laura Hamlett (2006-02-26). "Blue October : Some Sort of Crazy". 
  17. ^ Scott Kiefer (2009-04-02). "Blue October bring rock act to The Pageant Sunday night". 
  18. ^ Justin Furstenfeld (2009-01-02). "Special Gift". 
  19. ^ Official Blue October e-mail subscription.
  20. ^ Justin Furstenfeld. "The Label Came to Hear the Album". 
  21. ^ Gary Graff (2006-12-30). "Blue October Expands Reach On New Album".