The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Canadian rock band Sloan came back with their album Steady on October 22nd, 2022. Steady is a fitting adjective to describe them: the band has kept the same lineup since their beginnings in 1992.
As can be expected of a seasoned group with 13 albums, Sloan has developed a cohesive signature sound. While this signature sound can be found on Steady (“Spend the Day” and “Keep Your Name Alive” are the closest embodiments of Sloan’s typical style), Sloan never plays only one type of song. Steady forays into different sounds and styles without losing that cohesive Sloan sound. “She Put Up What She Put Down” and “Dream It All Over Again” sound like the lead pop-rock tracks in a movie soundtrack. “Human Nature” reminds me of a 60’s Beatles song (a Paul song, specifically), while “Scratch the Surface” dives into punk rock. “I Dream of Sleep” is a country song, while “Simply Leaving” is a ballad. Inexplicably, “Panic on Runnymede” and “Close Encounters” both have a strange ‘lonely cowboy lost in space’ vibe (you’ll just have to listen to them).
With such a range of styles, you would expect that Steady feels like a hodgepodge of sounds rather than a cohesive album. You would be wrong. While “Scratch the Surface” is quite different from the songs around it, the rest of the songs blend together well enough to not be jarring at all. Even “Scratch the Surface” feels more like a break between softer songs rather than an abrupt shift.
While some songs on Steady are more likely to be added to my playlist than others, I genuinely enjoyed all of them. I hope Sloan will continue steadily into the future with their next album.
My Album Highlights:
“Magical Thinking” is the album opener and my favourite song on the album. It’s a bouncy number with an enticing melody, tight lines in the guitar and bass, catchy hooks, and tight harmonies. The bouncing, forward momentum which carries throughout the song serves to build anticipation until the final chord. My favourite part is the line “I want it, I deserve it, so I’m gonna get it,” with its immensely catchy melody and “Yolo” attitude.
“Human Nature” sounds like it should live on the White Album. The vocal melodies, the drum patterns, and the harmonies all remind me of the Beatles. Still, though, I can’t point to one specific song that it is using as inspiration. “Human Nature” pays homage to its influences without feeling like a stale copy. It stands on its own two feet as a catchy and fun song which succeeds on all levels.
It should be said that I have never loved ballads or slow songs of any kind, with few exceptions. “Simply Leaving” is one of those exceptions. The melody is simple, supported by a simple guitar and drum line, with the occasional addition of harmonies and soaring strings. The lyrics tell a story of grief in a way that doesn’t seem overly dramatic or contrived. In this song the singer leaves out more emotion than he sings, to great effect.