Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Feb 20th, 2015

Joshua Radin: Onwards and Sideways

joshua rJoshua Radin
Onwards and Sideways
(Glass Bead Music)

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Joshua Radin’s music provides a perfect soundtrack for emotional moments, particularly falling in love, which is why his tracks so often appear on television shows. Onwards and Sideways has no shortage of tender love songs or soulful depictions of longing, but this isn’t a hook that will capture any new fans who aren’t already taken with the singer/songwriter formula.

Radin certainly has a flair for imagery in his writing. In the charming, summery “Let Our Sun Shine Down,” he declares,”But I’ll be your sea/If you’ll be my land/I’ll crash my waves upon your sand.” Radin rerecorded “Beautiful Day,” a track featured on his last album, to create a duet with Sheryl Crow. Crow’s sunny reputation and near-country style works well with a song about “learning to fly” and spinning life’s troubles into positives. Indeed, female backing vocals from the likes of Rosi Golan and Z Berg often elevate tracks on Onwards and Sideways beyond Radin’s whispery delivery.

But therein lies the main trouble with Onwards and Sideways, if it can be seen as a complaint at all: everything is just a bit too soft and pretty. There’s no sense of urgency or ache beyond matters of the heart here. That’s fine if that’s your thing, but I like a bit of grit with my polish, and there is none to be had here.

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Joshua Radin: Onwards and Sideways