An Epic of Epic Epicness
Nashville singer/songwriter Carey Ott may be only two records deep into his career, but with Human Heart he has unleashed what can only be described as an epic. It is 20 songs long and runs for about 73 minutes, making it what us old-timers stuck in the vinyl age would call a double album. Bursting with all sorts of ideas and enough genre-switcheroos to make your head spin, you would be forgiven if you were to think that Human Heart sets itself up for an epic fail just in its scope and ambition. But you know what? It generally works and hangs together well. There are a bevy of highlights to be found here, from the rootsy Jack Johnson-esque “Ain’t No Upside” to the Michael Penn sound-a-like “Style” (which incorporates lyrics from “The Star-Spangled Banner”) to the Madness-meets-U2 sound of “Wish I Could”.
The sole fault with Human Heart is that the heart of the album, its midsection—from tracks “Overflow” to the Sgt. Pepper’s-inspired “Je Suis Borderline” (the weakest song on the record)—is a bit on the experimental side, and some of these adventures threaten to swallow the music whole. Thus, like many a double album, you could easily do a bit of pruning to obtain an absolutely stellar single disc (well, Human Heart is already on one CD, but you get the drift). However, Human Heart is a sprawling, ambitious listen and one that rewards listeners who want to hear an artist in possession of a dynamic range with his songwriting chops. Ott clearly has a lot of heart, and if you’re looking for an album that you’ll have to call in sick to work to fully digest, Human Heart clearly delivers.
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