Year 3, Day 14: Valencia – We All Need a Reason to Believe
- Better Be Prepared
- Where Did You Go?
- Head in Hands
- Carry On
- All at Once
- Safe to Say
- Listen Up
- I Can’t See Myself
- The Good Life
About the Album
We All Need a Reason to Believe is the second studio album by Philadelphia based pop punk band, Valencia. The album was released in late August of 2008 through Columbia Records. The album peaked at number six on the United States Billboard Heatseekers chart.
Thoughts on the Album
For the third year in a row, I am proud (and always proud) to feature a local band on this project. And for the last two, I’ve featured albums by the band Valencia. While it’s a shame that the band is on hiatus, they are/were one of the few good Philadelphia bands. As wrote in the post about Dancing With a Ghost, one of Valencia‘s strengths is their ability to play off the emotions of the listener. This allows the band to brilliantly captivate their listeners, while keeping their attention, and keeping them inspired throughout the album.
Today’s album is their second studio album, We All Need a Reason to Believe. It’s an emotional pop-punk rock release, and their first album released through a major studio label (Columbia). The problem with the genre of pop punk, is that it is an overcrowded one. By signing on with Columbia, the band had set themselves up to rocket up to mainstream. The album opens up like a wave crashing onto the shore with Better Be Prepared. The track kicks off the album with huge guitar riffs and even huger and grander vocals from Shane Henderson.
The second track, Holiday, is a hook-filled, catchy toe-tapper that features dueling guitar riffs that anchor the track. While the sound is more polished than any other song off their previous release, it doesn’t come close to it sucking the band’s originality or soul away. Valencia’s delivery throughout the album, is fantastic as they fuse slower and quieter parts with bigger, faster, and rawer, thus avoiding any monotony on the album. The third track, Where Did You Go?, is the first instance on the album where Henderson wears his heart on his sleeve and delivers it in a way that doesn’t come off as clichéd. The band brings it all together on this track with a big bass and drum driven verse and a huge chorus. The outro of the song ends it in a grand way with strings and bells that ends it in a grand way.
All at Once, is a very dynamic and dramatic track that literally screams, “HEY! I’M THE SINGLE!” Henderson’s vocals on this track are damn near perfect and it’s the type of song that with practically sweep you away. The bridge of this track gave me chills with it’s frantic and frenetic riffs. The album closes with the song, Free. Free, ends the album in a huge and grandiose fashion. Full of moxie and needlepoint guitar riffs, and an unrelenting drum line, the song is the perfect closer, relieving all the tension that rest of the album built up.
I really wish that Valencia didn’t go on hiatus. Why? Because they proved that heart, passion, a little bit of blood and sweat, and intensity can make for a great album. The album can be both heavy and light at the same time, while invoking your emotions, and never sounding contrite. The album is a memorable listen. Give it a try.