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My Private Nation

My Private Nation

4.3 13
by Train

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As they proved on their 2001 breakthrough, Drops of Jupiter, Train excel at crafting songs that loom large without losing sight of the little things. This attention to detail earned the San Fran band a "Best Rock Song" Grammy for the title cut -- and it informs their follow-up, as evidenced by the soaring ballad "Calling All


As they proved on their 2001 breakthrough, Drops of Jupiter, Train excel at crafting songs that loom large without losing sight of the little things. This attention to detail earned the San Fran band a "Best Rock Song" Grammy for the title cut -- and it informs their follow-up, as evidenced by the soaring ballad "Calling All Angels," which wraps a simple acoustic melody in wave after wave of swirling guitar and harmonies. That's one of Pat Monahan's typically broad treatises, of which My Private Nation has plenty: He comes down to earth, however, on songs like "Save the Day," a surprisingly brawny rocker that name-checks a slew of pop culture icons in its tongue-in-cheek poke at the cult of personality. The band worked with the same team that helped craft Drops of Jupiter, including producer Brendan O'Brien (who co-wrote a pair of songs with Monahan) and Grammy-winning arranger Paul Buckmaster, who adds strings to the wistful travelogue "Lincoln Avenue" and the buoyant "Your Every Color." The departure of co-founding guitarist Richard Hotchkiss -- who left, amicably, during the recording of My Private Nation -- has scaled back the sound somewhat, but the disc's overall tenor is as breezy and amiable as Train's fans have come to expect.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Following a hit is a tough thing for any band, and for Train, a cult band that literally came out of nowhere to land a monster single like "Drops of Jupiter" and a platinum album to boot, the pressure to deliver something "more" from label execs is intense. In addition, usually when a band decides to scrap its plans for one album and go back to the drawing board and do something else, it doesn't bode well for the finished product. Train has turned the tables on the redo jinx. Creatively, My Private Nation, Train's third album, is the moment this band has worked for since it started making records. Bringing Brendan O'Brien back on board as producer (perhaps the best rock producer out there right now) and as a co-writer on three songs, Train has upped the aesthetic ante by stripping away any notion that it has to prove that it is "sincere" as a band. The songs speak for themselves. The opening track, "Calling All Angels," which also serves as the first single, is the one song the Counting Crows wish they could still write. It's a huge rock song that signifies what the rest of the album elaborates on. Guitars, drums, backwards tracking of keyboards, and a huge chorus make it an anthem. But it's not so much how hooky and beautiful the tune is -- and is it ever -- as what it says: That in a time of great confusion, loss, and disorientation, one does not call for redemption, but asks for a sign of inspiration, for the courage to not surrender to despair. It's a tome about hope against the odds, acknowledging vulnerability, and accepting responsibility to remain focused and critical enough to win one's own redemption in everyday life, in order to become a better human being. Other tracks -- "All American Girl," "Save the Day," and the title track -- may not feel as benevolent, especially the ones where O'Brien collaborates. These take on pop culture, social malaise, the pretension of honesty, and the selling of everything, and skewer them with acidic wit, huge monstrous guitars, and sonic architectures that defy description other than they make great rock & roll. Pat Monahan and Train don't pretend to speak for anyone; they speak about themselves in relating to the externals and internals of existence in the new century. These things include relating to each other, to their culture and generation, and to the world at large. In order to accomplish this without merely sounding the obvious, a certain degree of intimacy has to be given up in the mix, and "When I Look to the Sky," "Get to Me," "Following Rita," and the closing "I'm About to Come Alive" (one of the more honest love songs written outside of soul and country music in a decade) do just that. Under O'Brien's gorgeous multi-layered production with guitars coming from everywhere (remember how big he made Springsteen's sound on The Rising?) and strings floating and darting through the mix, chromatic shadings and the textures of contemporary psychedelia are rooted in the heart of an ambitious garage band. In other words, O'Brien doesn't make the band sound big, he gets the sound of how big Train actually is in a context that is as aurally beautiful musically as it is emotionally and lyrically poignant. My Private Nation is not an album about angst, but about transcending it and the paralyzing cynicism that goes with it. The question is, when was the last time listeners got a rock & roll album that could do that without cowering in fear of having its optimism shattered? Not in a long time. But that's because My Private Nation isn't about optimism; it's about the flickering glimmer in the darkness, in the heart, in the culture, in the world, and how it should -- and can -- be seized, right now.
Entertainment Weekly - Ken Tucker
The quartet's fourth and best collection. (B+)

Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Train   Primary Artist
Larry Corbett   Cello
Pamela Goldsmith   Viola
Brendan O'Brien   Organ,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Marxophone
Soozie Tyrell   Violin
Jane Scarpantoni   Cello
Scott Underwood   Percussion,Piano,Drums,Keyboards,Group Member
Charlie Colin   Bass,Guitar,Background Vocals,Group Member
Rob Hotchkiss   Bass,Guitar,Piano,Background Vocals,Group Member
Pat Monahan   Percussion,Vocals,Group Member
Jimmy Stafford   Guitar,Mandolin,Background Vocals,Group Member

Technical Credits

Paul Buckmaster   String Arrangements
Steve Churchyard   Engineer
Nick DiDia   Engineer
Brendan O'Brien   Producer
Billy Bowers   Engineer
Scott Underwood   Programming
Karl Egsieker   Engineer
Tom Garner   Art Direction
John Bostwick   Art Direction,Cover Photo

Customer Reviews

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My Private Nation 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is good. When it was available, I immediately went to Barnes & Noble to get it. Calling all Angels is my favorite. I do hear their cry for help and their confusion about the future. Calling all Angels gives me hope. This group has worked so hard. It's time they receive recognition for their outstanding talent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I definitely prefer this cd over Drops of Jupiter. My Private Nation has more of a rock feel than Drops of Jupiter ever had. I am still a little disappointed that Train continues with producer Brendan O'Brien, who seems to take away from Train's distinctive rock sound. My favorite songs on this cd are "Calling All Angels", "Get to Me", "Following Rita", and "My Private Nation". I think that the song Get to Me will be a huge hit for train
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is one of my favorite cds that i own...im listening to it right now! i love get to me and save the day and my private nation...ok fine...i love the WHOLE cd!!!!! it rocks out loud and i dont say that very often. if you are a fan of any kind of rock what so ever, you will love this cd! BUY THIS CD!!! IT IS NOT A WASTE OF MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!peace out and ROCK ON!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a very appreciative fan of Train. They have two sides- the pop side, which they do very well and The blues side, which you never hear on the radio, but they rock out just the same! I thought after Drops of Jupiter they would peter out, but boy am I glad I was wrong. Every song on the CD is awesome. Personal fave- I'm About to Come Alive. One of the most honest love songs I have ever heard. If you can get it, there is a single they released of Led Zeppelin's Ramble On and that rocks too. They also did a pretty good job with the Spiderman 2 soundtrack "Ordinary"- a little overproduced but still a good song.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I highly anticipated the release of "My Private Nation" having loved "Drops of Jupiter"! I am not disappointed! To me this CD has a little lighter feel to it then "Drops of Jupiter", but is just as good!! The lead vocals of Pat Monahan are great once again and the lyrics paint a picture and tell a story. I love it!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a solid follow-up to "Drops of Jupiter". Too often bands and artists will re-hash a previous successful effort to hopefully ensure big sales. Despite losing a key member of the band, Train has evolved and explored new musical territory, and has established themselves as possibly the key American band in the industry. "Calling All Angels" is a worthy first single, but my choices are "Get to Me", and "All-American Girl". Great tunes for a long, summer drive!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just love this CD. It's just as good as train's other CD's. I think if you like their style then this is the CD for you my friend. (oh and the other person who wrote about his knee, well, dude that's not a review ok man!)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just purchased this album a few days ago...have listened to it once. It's a pretty good album -- mellow, light...just what you'd expect from Train. I guess anything after "Drops of Jupiter" would kind of be a slight "let-down" though. But the disc is definitely worth the money. Oh, by the way....hey, Yitz (author of one of the previous reviews), do everyone a favor and start start saving your "CD money" to pay for some electroshock treatments. I'm definitely glad that I don't know you personally, because I can tell from your entry that you're just one of those really annoying people who would be doing everyone a favor if they just took a dive off a bridge. Consider it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This ought to be pretty good. I can see myself listening to it. This band is really great for summertime music. My knee is killing me for some reason. Just my right knee. It's been acting up for about a year now. My lower back is also sore as heck from my crapppy matress. Both of my rotator cuffs are screwed up from lifting weights, so periodically they kick in, too. It's a bit of a juggling act with all of these ailments. Right now, it's my knee, though. I can't seem to pinpoint where exactly I damaged it, but I sure hope that it heals. Whoa, I just had a twitch in my leg, kind of like those twitches you get when you fall asleep. Those are called hypnic jerks, by the way. Look it up. If this cd is anything like the last couple Train cds, I think we're all in for a summertime treat. I'm looking forward to seeing them in concert, that is if my knee gets better.