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Blue October, History for Sale (Universal)
Blue October makes some innovative gestures on History for Sale, its third album. However, the group does not maintain the creativity throughout the album and, as a result, fails to develop its own sound. Blue October has the potential for a unique voice, and that's what's frustrating about this album. Whenever the band tests itself a little, Blue October sounds as if it's starting to find itself. The club-inspired drums are joined by Eastern-style strings to open the album, and pizzicato strings appear throughout. Blue October begins to stand out, but it always slips back into its imitation of Seven Mary Three. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Justin Furstenfeld writes most of the lyrics on History for Sale. He's willing to take on difficult topics such as child abuse (in "Razorblade"), but he also lingers on bland love songs that never get off the ground. His finest moment comes on his most poorly-titled song, "Sexual Powertrip (One Big Lie) Bla Bla". On this track, his narrator is a conflicted but unreliable lover who's looking for both meaningless and (well, maybe) meaningful sex, explaining, "Don't trust my words when I'm in bed with you". Blue October seems to have the potential for a good album, but it hasn't fulfilled it yet. On this album, the band offers something out of modern rock history for sale; hopefully Blue October's next album will be a little more forward-looking.