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CD Reviews: Our Lady Peace
Our Lady Peace: Healthy In Paranoid Times
September 2005
By: Linda Spielman
album cover of Our Lady Peace's Healthy In Paranoid Times

With half a dozen CD releases to their credit, Our Lady Peace sets their musical standards higher and higher with each new release. Such is the case with the latest CD, Healthy In Paranoid Times. The only way to properly describe this CD is musically and lyrically orgasmic.

An emotional and musical tug of war between Our Lady Peace (OLP) producer, Bob Rock and Raine Maida and within the band itself helped to electrify the songs on Healthy In Paranoid Times. The end result is a CD that resonates with some of the band's most poignant and world-conscious lyrics and music to date. The creative power struggle, lyrical skill and unique musical style truly have made Healthy In Paranoid Times the strongest OLP effort to date and one that music lovers will enjoy from beginning to end.

At times the most emotionally charged musical relationships prove to be the most fruitful. "I fired [producer] Bob Rock at one point and I think he quit at another," Maida says. "It was a very emotional process because we were fighting to not compromise our artistic vision and bring as much artistry as possible back into our music."

Taking a different approach with this CD, the members of OLP opted for lengthy writing sessions with breaks in between working on their creations in order to reflect on the direction the new material would take. The new approach tested OLP's collective patience and confidence. At some points, the process even had members threatening to quit due to frustration.

The uniqueness of OLP has always been Maida's haunting yet empowering voice. However, the progression from their first album to this current release can be measured in leaps and bounds musically through all of the members. There has always been this tidal wave of guitar sound emanating from Steve Mazur in the past. Although the guitar riffs are subtle, Walking In Circles is almost like a tsunami of sound. And Duncan Coutts's bass lines are heavier on tracks like Boy. As a listener one is able to feel more of the band's music on this CD than on any other. Lyrically, Will the Future Blame Us speaks for itself. It is an introspective look by Maida and the band at the current state of the world, with all it's chaos and insanity. This is classic OLP writing at its finest.

A lot of the lyrical inspiration lies within Maida's charity work with War Child. Traveling to the Middle East over the last three years, the life, suffering and hardships of cultures many of us will never know now has a voice through Maida's experiences and songs. The first single, Where Are You is a heartfelt look into the search for spirituality in the world's sea of corruption. As Maida elaborates, "After spending time in the Middle East and Africa, I came back and saw just how powerful the religious right wing of North America is. I thought it was a culture shock going over to those places, but the real culture shock was coming back home." The tracks on Healthy In Paranoid Times piece together a great story-line of thoughts and feelings that draw the listener easily from one track to the other.

It has now been over ten years since Our Lady Peace emerged on the music scene. They have brought not only a very distinctive style to alternative music, but they have put a face and a voice to issues that involve all of us on this planet. Healthy In Paranoid Times is the most comprehensive, timely and amazingly creative body of music OLP has offered to the listening public to date. As drummer Jeremy Taggart puts it, "This record is a perfect representation of our personalities and our perspectives on things at the current moment."