Brother, Bring the Sun and Chasing Mississippi were done right. Sadly, Dave Barnes’ latest album, Me and You and the World doesn’t have the same quality as its predecessors. Perhaps the new record label Razor and Tie is to blame, or maybe Barnes has lost his touch.
It is difficult to listen to this album all the way through partly because of the way the tracks are organized. The first half of the album is solid work. “Brothers & Sisters” jumpstarts Me and You and the World with a humanitarian plea. The upbeat track has the same funk that made Brother, Bring the Sun and Chasing Mississippi special, but it adds a chorus that repeats “I believe that we can change the world” over and over again, to the point that it’s hokey (unless in concert due to audience participation. Then it sounds really, really good). The next track, “Since You Said I Do” has a grungy feel that is similar to “Crazyboutya” in Brother, Bring the Sun and “All That Noise” in the sophomore album. He reverts to his original feel, and it works.
Barnes takes up two tracks in the first half of the CD with what he calls “oldies but goodies.” He rerecords “Until You” and “On a Night Like This.” Admittedly, the new sound is awesome, though far more Top 40 compared to the rest of his work. Likely, Razor and Tie is to blame, but this is something they got right.
After “Believe,” a ballad that Barnes is so adept at bringing to life, the album goes downhill. Part of the problem is that all of the quicker charts are found on the top of Me and You and the World, so the slow songs stacked on each other grows difficult to handle. The final two tracks (“Annie” and “Adeline”), which should end in a bang, sound frustratingly similar, and “Nothing Else” seems old school and misplaced. He should liven up this half of the album, or cut two or three songs.
Me and You and the World loses the soul and country that the preceding albums carried through. The lyrics are wholly predictable and everyone in the music industry has heard Dave Barnes’ “new” hooks. Despite these fallbacks, Barnes still brings some fun music to the plate. Ultimately, however, he should revert to his original sound.
Recommended Songs: Until You, Brothers & Sisters, When A Heart Breaks
Toss These Songs: Nothing Else, Adeline