Of the many beautiful things that our favorite artists provide to us, from the anthems that keep us company during those good or rough patches in life to the raw energy that pushes us into a euphoric moment on a night out, the one benefit that seems to go largely unnoticed and looked over is watching them grow up. After climbing to the level of global name recognition over the course of the past decade, Hedley returns once again with their highly anticipated album, titled Wild Life, and give all of us yet another peak into their maturation as musicians.
First of all, when looking at the aura and energy that oozes from an album, there might not be a more perfect title that so accurately describes the journey that the listener can expect to embark on upon pressing play than the words Wild Life that reside on this album. Many of us will be familiar to the notion of an individual that wears their emotions on their sleeves. Whether it is someone you’ve known all of your life or someone you bumped into mere moments ago, the signs that point to someone swimming so close to the surface with their full emotional and spiritual body is something we all can sense within minutes of meeting them. Similarly, unlike the many albums that we can sift through today, ones either clogged with tracks that have essentially been designated button line cash cows by corporate heads or others that just give off the wrong feel though the words seem to be in the right place, Wild Life is one that definitely one that stays true and puts it all on the line.
With that, we are given an album that really puts together the many jigsaw puzzle pieces that life is made out of, showering us with music that not only describes the perfect blue of a sky piece that symbolizes the happiness we can experience but also the pitch blackness of one covered completely by shadow or the bland corner piece that represent the dark times or moments of self-doubt and negative rumination that come along the way. Whether it is the uplifting energy of Anything or the teeth baring, anxious journey we all walk upon while seeking the people that will rid us some of that anxiety found in Wild Life, the voice of Jacob Hoggard somehow always manages to truly give off the vibe of being fed up, happy, longing or insecure. Likewise, the vocals and many sounds of the likes of Dave Rosin, Tommy Mac and Chris Crippin help to shape this album into a very memorable one.
Overall, the album really captures the nature of life and not just the nature of it at a certain point in time. In many ways, at least to me, it speaks of a life that is lived against the notions of the cookie cutter, socially accepted one where we do as others do and seek what others seek and the many hardships and rewards that come with it. In Parade Rain and Anything, we find the defiance of those expectations and ceilings that can be placed over us based on life’s circumstances or authoritative figures that attempt to hold us back. Past that moment of taking ownership of our lives, Wild Life speaks about the sometimes unnerving nature of travelling through a world searching for that golden apple when so many pitfalls potentially lurk at every corner. Once we find that golden apple, Pocket Full of Dreams and Heaven in our Headlights really speak volumes about how much that special someone can provide to us and how unimportant the rest of it all really seems once you find them. Finally, Almost Over provides the sorrow that undoubtedly will be present along the way. It is an album that really seems to put a little bit of every flavor that life can dish out at us and put it all onto one plate, where the band once again succeeds in connecting with its fans about the ups and downs that both they, along with all of us, can relate to.