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We Were Here

We Were Here

4.8 5
by Joshua Radin
This Cleveland-bred singer-songwriter got his first big break when longtime pal Zach Braff sneaked one of his tunes onto an episode of Scrubs. That showcase certainly didn't hurt him in terms of exposure, but as this full-length bow proves, Radin doesn't need to piggyback on anyone in order to put across his warm, evocative songs. Radin, an old-school


This Cleveland-bred singer-songwriter got his first big break when longtime pal Zach Braff sneaked one of his tunes onto an episode of Scrubs. That showcase certainly didn't hurt him in terms of exposure, but as this full-length bow proves, Radin doesn't need to piggyback on anyone in order to put across his warm, evocative songs. Radin, an old-school storyteller in the manner of James Taylor and Paul Simon, doesn't often bother cloaking his songs in fancy arrangements, preferring to let the universality of tales like the breathy "Everything'll Be Alright (Will's Lullaby)" carry them into listeners' memory banks. On occasion -- most notably on the spangled "Closer" -- Radin does augment the spare piano/guitar instrumentation with strings, but not to the point where his intimate vocals get lost in the mix. Radin's voice, while not classically perfect, is a plaintive tenor that shades the margins of tracks like "Sundrenched World" in welcoming sepia tones. That sort of sense memory looms large over Radin's own compositions, as well as his eye-opening cover of the Yaz classic "Only You," which pares away the layers of electronics to reveal the bittersweet melody at the core. Radin gives his intention away with the title of We Were Here -- and, true to his word, he delivers an album that makes an indelible mark.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Marisa Brown
Oh quick, before it goes away, let's look at another example that shows the interconnectedness (dare we say incest?) of television and popular music: Joshua Radin, who would have never even pursued a songwriting career if it hadn't been for his friendship with Zach Braff, star of Scrubs and introducer of the Shins to the masses. Braff put Radin's song "Winter" on the show, a move that eventually led to a recording contract with Columbia and his debut, We Were Here, much to the excitement of thousands of female fans. Radin plays the role of the quiet, romantic, sensitive guy, obsessed with his own heart and that which surrounds it, and does it all pretty convincingly. His songs are intimate, vaguely postmodern (his frequent references to the entity of a song within the song itself) affairs about love, addressing an unnamed woman and contemplating the state of their relationship over quietly picked acoustic guitars and the occasional bowed accent. His voice is soft and airy, timid and gentle to the point of fragility (it is extremely hard to believe when he sings "I scream that I wanna be anyone but me" in "Amy's Song" that he's not being hyperbolic), and layered as if he were a kind of sickly, half-rate Elliott Smith. The late singer is definitely a huge influence for Radin (he's even thanked in the liner notes), but while Smith was able convey emotion not just through his words but through his voice, Radin is so expressionless (besides the occasional breathy sigh), or at least monotonous in his expression, that even the happier pieces still sound as if they're being sung upon his deathbed. And while he does have some good lines ("There's a hole in my pocket that's about her size," "I keep your picture in my worn-through shoes"), many of his rhymes seem a little forced, almost corny ("Photographs and brightly colored paper/Are your masks you wear in this caper," he whispers in "Closer"), which greatly takes away from the profundity he's apparently trying to reach. Add this to the fact that the songs all have a very similar, redundant quality to them and suddenly We Were Here doesn't distinguish itself much from any other semi-talented male singer/songwriter. Except this one is a friend of Zach Braff's, which has clearly made all the difference.

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We Were Here 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Had the good fortune to catch him at "The Living Room" down in the East Village last Friday night. All I can say is that I truly believe he's going to hit massive. His lyrics and voice remind me of the perfect mix of Paul Simon, James Taylor, John Meyer, and the like. Glad I got to see him while it was still possible.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've heard several of his songs through MySpace and his website (joshuaradin.com) His voice is amazing! He also does a duet with Schuyler Fisk (not on We Were Here)which has become one of my favorite songs!
Colbi_Beam More than 1 year ago
Joshua Radin's , We Were Here, challenges modern folk artist to consider a whole new sound. His tracks contain both subtle melodies and whispering voices that are common within the genre, but modern sounds that have the capability to attract an entirely new audience. We Were Here is Joshua Radin's first album, and became the #1 bestselling folk album on iTunes when it was released in 2006. Radin's music became widely discovered thanks to close friend and actor Zach Braff. Braff heard Radin's single "Winter" and decided to use his music for the soundtrack of his movie The Last Kiss and continued to use Radin's music on the show "Scrubs." Since then Radin's has become a house hold name for "whisper rock" fans across the U.S. Much of the album is about a struggle of love. It begins with the song "Sundrenched World" about wanting to belong with someone who is caught up in their own world. The song is beautifully accompanied with strings in the background and a female harmony. The song "Star Mile" seems to give a piece of advice to men, saying "And if you burn the road, That'll lead you back to her in time, I watch you turn to stone, You can't find the sunlight." The first real upturn in the album is the song "Everything'll Be Alright (Will's Lullaby)" where Radin' seems to be trying to comfort himself and those who are around them, although he is unsure himself. This song leads right into one of the most upbeat songs on the album, "These Photographs." It is the kind of song you want to hear walking down the street on a sunny day, a very happy song. Then, for an emotional twist, the fifth track, "Closer", is about someone hiding their feelings. Radin is urging this person to cry and asks him or her to allow their true emotions to show. Unfortunately, the beauty of this song is lead into a less impressive song "Today". This track was my least favorite from the album, both lyrically and musically. The seventh track is the one that gained Radin his fame, "Winter". Musically, this is the best song, the male and female harmony is astoundingly beautiful and it is matched with heart twisting lyrics that everyone can relate to. The next two songs, "Someone Else's Life" and "Amy's Song," both are heartfelt songs depicting the battles and trials of love. All of this leading into my favorite song from the album, "What if You," the song about saying goodbye; ending the romances that the previous nine tracks had laid out. Truly a masterpiece! The final two songs are a cover song called "Only You," originally written by Vince Clark, and performed by the band Yazoo in the early 1980s. Radin's version includes chiming bells and soft lyrics, a modern take on the original. However, the final track is a remix of this song with Imogen Heap that plays with new sounds, echos, and stereo functions. Both versions are incredible. I would suggest this album to anyone that really appreciates indie rock/folk music. Especially fans of Damien Rice, The Weepies, or Jack Johnson.
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