Zac Brown Band – Uncaged
Track by Track Dissection
I do not want to describe this post as a review. I have too much respect for the Zac Brown Band to “review” their music. This blog post is more of a dissection of each of the tracks by a fan who already had great admiration for the talents of each of the Band members. I must say I had high expectations for this album before I even listened to it – and it surpassed those expectations and more. Here are my thoughts about each of the tracks as I listened to the album:
1. Jump Right In
The name speaks for itself on the first track of Zac Brown Band’s third album, “Uncaged” as the band jumps right into the hit making music that they have become famous for. “Jump Right In” starts off with a short yet effective intro highlighted by the infamous Zac Brown guitar picking along with a few whistles and bongos, courtesy of new member Daniel de los Reyes. But after about ten or so seconds, the whole Band gets involved to create a musical explosion. The song has the inner linings of the country music jam band that the ZBB are, but with a commercial appeal that could easily make the song yet another #1 on the Country Music Charts. The song has lyrics that will stick in your head all day long: “…you can jump right in, let music pull in you in, you can jump right in…it’s the Southern Wind, sings again, an idle lullaby“.
Uncaged lets the Band showcase their southern rock side as the song includes a multitude of guitar licks, drum bashing, and all out jam outs alongside the powerful Zac Brown voice. I can easily see this song becoming one of those songs that the Band goes nuts on for about ten minutes in their live shows as the song is more about the musical instruments than the lyrics. The euphoria of the seven ridiculously talented members showcase why the Band is truly on a different level than any Band in any genre in today’s music.
3. Goodbye In Her Eyes
This song may go on to become the most successful song, commercially, off of this album. It is an epic story of a man who knows the woman who he loves so much is leaving him and he cannot do anything about it. The song unfolds with the lyrics painting a vivid picture that could almost be the summation to a sad romantic movie. Zac is never better as he hits low and high octaves with ease and the Band gets to sing background vocals as a unit, more so than any song I’ve heard from them before. Furthermore, it is the first song on this album that fans get to hear the immense talent of Jimmy De Martini on the fiddle. Overall, this song is sad, beautiful, and powerful all at once.
4. The Wind
The first single released to country music is ZBB’s ode to bluegrass music. The picking and strumming of the guitars as well as the rapid fire fiddle and quick moving vocals create a song that I challenge anyone to not want to at least tap their foot to, if not get up and dance to. After just a few short weeks it is already in the top 20 on the country charts and moving quickly up from there. The Band just released a unique, animated music video to the song which can be seen here:
5. Island Song
For me, this was the absolute stand-out song on the album. It is a reggae song more than it is a country song. But for all intensive purposes, Zac may have created a new genre of music with his reggae-country masterpiece. The lyrics immediately take you to a place “down in the islands, down in the islands”. Zac’s reggae delivery is that of perfection. I had heard him sing in this style before at a few of his past shows, but he really nails it in this song. I found myself daydreaming as he sings about drinking rum at a tiki bar down in the islands. ZBB has always had a beach themed song on each of their albums, whether it be “Toes”, “Knee Deep” or “Where the Boat Leaves From”, but this track takes that theme to a whole new level.
6. Sweet Annie
Musically, this song reminds me a lot of “Colder Weather” as it gradually builds from a soft melody to a power ballad. The lyrics depict a man who has seemingly let everyone down in his life and he is pleading with a woman Annie to not give up on him and to give him another chance. He starts out defeated, but by the last verse he seems to gain more confidence in himself and makes his plea to let him stay with her. It is another sad yet beautiful ballad that portrays the pain that love can have on a man.
7. Natural Disaster
Another very unique song which starts out with a forty second acapella intro singing about a preacher’s daughter when all of the sudden the pace of the song picks up tremendously. It becomes a rolling country song that has beautiful lyrics about a woman who the man knows may bad for him, but cannot stop himself from loving her. The vocals pick up in pace as the song goes and creates a very effective song in which both the lyrics and the melody are equally phenomenal: “She’s like rain when she rolls in, but there’s sunshine in her thunder, it makes the loneliest heart wonder if the ride is worth the pain”.
8. Overnight (Featuring Trombone Shorty)
Simply put, I was not expecting this song when it came on. It is, in no way, a country song. It is a flat out R&B song. That being said, Zac showcases the unbelievable depth of his talent. His delivery alongside the blues guitar, trumpet and trombone and that are featured in the song make this song, by far and away, the most unique that I have heard from ZBB. It is smooth, sexy and totally out of the box. Zac is definitely not afraid to do things his own way and he does not disappoint with his track.
9. Lance’s Song
I need to learn the real meaning behind this song, but it is clearly dedicated to a musician who has passed away. The lyrics tell a story about a man who obviously lived his life engulfed in music, but apparently was not given the credit and respect he deserved until he passed away. Zac sings, with love and pain in his voice: “But they don’t know what they got, until its gone, like it or not. You live on life, you try to do what’s right, we’re all here a-waiting for our silver invitation to the big band in the sky”. It is a beautiful dedication to someone the ZBB obviously admired.
10. Day That I Die (featuring Amos Lee)
This, for me, was yet another stand-out on the album. When I first heard this song, I thought to myself that Zac Brown has probably never been more truthful in his songwriting than in this song. When he states that “I believe that I was born with a song inside of me” and “when I live out my days and to the very end, I hope find they find me in my home with my guitar in my hands” I know he is being competely honest. While I always give full credit to ZBB as a Band and completely respect each Band Member’s outstanding talents, this song is all about Zac and his dedication to music. Amos Lee is feautured on the track and his verse echoes what Zac is saying. Throughout this masterpiece you can hear the honesty that both artists are singing about. It’s very hard to think about your life, your legacy, and how you spend the last moments of your life. Zac has figured it out. I found myself getting goosebumps while listening to his sincerity.
11. Last But Not Least
A simple song about a man letting his woman know that he loves her and that she is important to him. Charismatic Clay Cook adds his vocals to the middle verse as he and Zac make it known to the woman they are with that they may have been their last love, but that it is the one that means the most because they will end up wit her. The song also works well as it was undoubtedly strategically placed as the last song of the album.
Top Picks: Island Song, Day That I Die, Goodbye In Her Eyes, Jump Right In