Artist: Jared Adams
Album: Halls, Brawls, and Bathroom Stalls
Comments: Any failures (there are a few) or success (there are a few more) that "Halls, Brawls, and Bathroom Stalls" has in it are the fault of one man and one man only. Jared Adams stands alone on his debut album, making it a one man show where he is the opening act and main event. Adams's show invites the listener into his world, which he discribes through bloodshot eyes and beer soaked breath, as he takes the listener on a drinking tour of Albany, New York. Armed with only his guitar, his voice, and a handful of friends, Adams sets out to tell the story of every college kid, while putting his own spin on it.
Adams's songwritting is driven by the wild life he lives, fueld by alcohol and drugs. This is the main focus of the album, whether he is trying to convince a woman to leave the door open for him ("Don't Shut The Door") or getting caught by the police for public urination ("Pissin Ain't Easy"). This one sided focus on the non stop party of youth is something we can all associate with, but is limiting at times as the subject matter of the album rarely changes.
Because the album is independently written, recorded, produced and distrubted, it posesses a very stripped down, basic sound. Most songs are just the man and his guitar, allthough the occasional bass line or chorus of friends can be heard on some tracks. This minimalist sound can sometimes hurt Adams; when he tries to sing outside his range, he has nothing to hide his straining voice behind. At the same time, his confidence and charisma can bend the basic sound into a song that is both intimate and engaging (the hilarious epic of "Pissin Ain't Easy" comes to mind).
Don't get the idea that Adams is nothing more than a drunk with a guitar. His guitar playing, while not mind blowing, is more than good enough to carry the songs. He playing style is somewhere between G Love and James Taylor (I would say young James Taylor, but that man was born at age 45), while his writting has a sort of everyman quality that remindes me of Bruce Springsteen. Adams even has a friggin folk ballad in the shape of the six miunte oddesy that is "Matty Rodgers". That being said, this is definetly a party album; songs like "Disco Shit", "Bum Rush" and "Havoc" will get the party rocking, but are somewhat shallow and unfullfilling.
Two songs on the album stand out amongst all other and give the impression that in time, Adams could blossom into a serious deal. The first is the title track "Halls, Brawls, and Bathroom Stalls" which touches on the sense of emptyness that one can feel from a life of non stop parting. The other is the 10 minute long "Thursday". The song, mid tempo and upbeat, focuses on the waiting and longing everyone feels, that if we could just have this one thing, everything would be allright. The first half of the song features voice mails from Adams's phone; friends calling to party. As the song winds down, we here Adams on his phone; his night over and his friends no where to be found. This peice of vocal imigry serves as a bridge between the glamour of the party and the wisdom that there is more to life, and suggests that Jared Adams has got potential to be more than just a party MC
For all its flaws (repetive at times, shallow material) "Halls Brawls and Bathroom Stalls" is a solid bedut from Jared Adams. Its an album that is made for the drunken college kid in all of us; partying hard making mistakes before we're forced to step into our real lives. Thats what Adams is doing now, parting hard. I for one can't wait to hear what he'l sound like when he starts his real life.
OVERALL RATING: 6.5 our of 10
WORTH THE MONEY: If you like to party on a Saturday night and think about it the next day, this album is for you.
KEY TRACKS: "Pissin' Ain't Easy" "Halls, Brawls, and Bathroom Stalls" "Matty Rodgers" "Disco Shit"
NOTE!!! - Spelling errors? You Bet! Will I fix em? No!