‘Blue Flower’ album review
album: Blue Flower
artist: The Gray Havens
genre: alternative pop
release date: October 8, 2021
star rating: four out of five
review by Jacob Friesen
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
The bittersweet images that come to us in our quiet moments – memories of carefree childhood, silent meadows that ring of distant magical worlds, mountaintops that speak of more majestic heights – these longings for more are the blue flower.
The Gray Havens’ new album, inspired by the writings of Lewis, is a reflection and a story of this longing. Both lyrics and melody follow the pursuit of desire; from simple piano and string riffs that remind of the meadow in autumn to pulsing, rhythmic drum beats that match the joyous wonder of nearing the elusive blue flower. The album is typical of The Gray Havens’ previous works – lyrics as a poetic narrative, complex melodies, and creative sound blending – but has its own feel that is unique to the theme.
The first two tracks set this theme musically and lyrically; the pace of “Blue Flower” quickens into “Rhythm of the East,” showing the pursuit of longing. “Endless Summer” then strikes on the pain of doubt. What if the desire isn’t true? This doubt is portrayed as an “endless winter.” The storyteller holds on to the wonder and continues the pursuit. These ideas are then woven into the rest of the album. “It’s Possible” and “Pale Moonlight” – one catchy and one haunting – sing of the difficulties in understanding desire. “Paradise” (my personal favorite track) is a look back at a life that has sought the blue flower and resolved to continue chasing.
Overall, I would give this album four out of five stars. At first listen, Blue Flower was underwhelming, not being as upbeat as past albums. Upon further listening, the album has grown on me. Though subtle, it is musically genius, and the more I listen to the poetic story told, the more I understand the tale of the blue flower and the Creator of all beauty and desire.