When Gavin Rossdale and Co. (aka BUSH) announced that they were returning with Black and White Rainbows, their first album since 2014's Man on The Run, which came out to somewhat tepid reviews, the public and their critics were chomping at the bit to hear something worth listening to. It's safe to say that they have delivered!
The album starts with the title track, “Mad Love”, the opening notes of the lead guitar take you right back to the “Little Things” era grunge music that BUSH has become well known and well loved for. The majority of the song is made up of, “…still got mad love for you baby,”, with a child-like woman’s voice harmonising with Gavin…….is it supposed to make you wonder……”Where is Gwen?” or “this is the end, let’s say goodbye to this childlike voice FOREVER”, because I like hopeful, hot grungy guys like that and so does the rest of the world!
The next song, “Peace-S”, starts with a catchy riff that carries the song, it’s a light-hearted melody compared to the lyrical content, “…hold on to your innocence; hold on to your soul….” I am sure, as I have been asked before, Brits also wonder whom Gavin is singing about or maybe they are like me and quite frankly, don't care! The man makes mistakes; we all do, we are human; yet his mishaps make for quite good lyrical content! My favourite part of the song is the play on words; they are straightforward, Gavin is telling you what they mean and if you do not wish to hear them, stop listening and move on to the next track. Otherwise, P-E-A-C-E-S, you will hear. ‘Things might be in PIECES but when you come out the other end, there will be PEACE.” I Love the message and if you DON’T choose that, the alternative message is more or less, your life will be in “PIECES” – no PEACE. A bit sad really.
“Water” is the 3rd track and it's one of my favourites. With the 'Pro Tools' drum track starting the song, then the simplicity of the keyboard notes that follow, there isn't much NOT to like about the song. Once again, Mr. Rossdale is showing us the INSIDE ofhis woes, a beautiful thing to uphold, the simplicity of pain, of hurt and of life and how SIMPLE it can be to get back on the path today without hassle or some kind of personal gain. It was Bruce Lee who said, “….in order to understand WATER, we must BE WATER”, therefore, in order to understand BUSH songs we must BE BUSH.
“Lost in You” is the next melodic piece; this lovely tune evokes imagery of a safe place that the singer finds/is finding within someone else. It takes a backstreet to the earlier songs on the album, not being as aggressive and forthcoming as some of the prior tunes.
“Sky turns Day Glo” is the next tune, it's quite different from the rest of the album, a different sound, different lyrical content and it brings an entirely different VIBE to “Black and White Rainbows”. It;s as If Gavin and Co. would like to focus on the environment and what is happening AROUND THEM instead of what is going on INSIDE them, which makes for quite an interesting song. “…The earth keeps burning…..we’re digging the planet graves…..” ,one of my favourite lines to this song, heeded us to be forewarned at what can and WILL happen if human beings do not change their behaviour and live as one with Mother Earth, instead of trying to desperately do our OWN thing, which is clearly, slowly and surely destroying this planet at an insanely face pace!
“Lost in You” and “Toma Mi Corazon” seem to follow the same heart-wrenching model, I found you, I got you, I lose myself in you and now, can you please take my heart???? Yes, it’s been overdone and a bit UNEXPECTED from the older rocker who just went through a massive divorce (I would not be up for giving up my tea from Starbucks, let alone my HEART to another human being) but it seems as if Mr. Rossdale has put himself directly on the path of love and isn’t taking a detour anytime soon! What is it that great writers say? if you do not take any chances with your life, you will never know if it was a life worth living or a life just simply worth going through the motions…….. So, today, if you’ve been eyeing that guy or gal for a while, BUY THEM THAT SKINNY LATTE!!!! You never know where it might lead!!
“Nurse” is another of my personal favourites; it is a very emotional song with a lovely, catchy chorus….. “….I have fallen into you, I need a nurse to get me through. All of my injuries, all of my injuries, may the light, be always over you…”. It's a personal account of falling in love and allowing that person to ‘nurse’ you back to being yourself, despite coming from a heartache or a heartbreak. He is allowing himself to feel that love that he once felt and so desperately wants to feel again; no one likes to wallow in their own misery! We won’t count some of our favourite authors, who seemed to REVEL in their pain and make INCREDIBLE art from this pain and mental torture…… they are the exception to the modern rule (wink). “Nurse” also has some fantastic guitar riffs with those few minor chords that pull at the heart strings, exactly where they should. All around, it is a well-written song, musically AND lyrically.
The last “big” song on the record (that I believe will be the next single released if it hasn’t been already) is “Dystopia”, it starts out with a squealing guitar and then quickly leads to the drum hook that is consistent behind Gavin’s voice….. “….there’s seventeen ways you try to kill me from the inside, now all these scars, all these wounds, Will be healed……” and from there he launches into the chorus, which talks all about “Dystopia” (by definition, the word means to be in ‘an imagined place where everything is unpleasant or bad’) from which, you can tell he is speaking of his previous marriage in which things went HORRIBLY wrong but he got away from this ‘nightmare’ and will begin to heal. So, even despite the grim title and somewhat dodgy words, the message to come out of “Dystopia” is, ‘no worries, mate, I GOT THIS and I’ll be just fine’!!
Black and White Rainbows is available via Amazon and iTunes (you can also listen to the album on Spotify)
The band is also on tour on locations around the US; and their video for “Mad Love” is playing on VEVO’s regular rotation.
Congratulations to Bush; I wish them nothing but success with Black and White Rainbows.
By Marisa Dymond