Paper Route’s 2012 album “The Peace of Wild Things” remains in my all-time top 10. It was smart, audibly pleasing, produced well, and best of all – written really well. The follow-up to that album is “Real Emotion” and it’s not something that you’re going to jump in and love as much as the last album right away.
“Real Emotion” is an album. That’s it’s best quality. There are segues between tracks there are plenty of interludes too. Track placement was also done with some clear intention rather than just putting the best stuff at the front of the record. That said, most of these songs aren’t as good as what was on the previous release from the band and the interludes don’t feel like anything that’s worth your time, they just feel like interludes and they distract more than they add to the experience. I guess what I’m saying is that the effort is appreciated but the end result doesn’t work as well as one would think.
As far as songs go, there’s some good stuff on this album scattered about. “Pretend” is great, “Real Emotion” is good too. “Mona Lisa” is a favorite off of this album for me and despite a rough start, “Writing on the Wall” is really good too. Those are the highlights, and they’re all decent songs but nothing here has the same kind of impact for me as anything off of “The Peace of Wild Things.” I’m sure it will with a lot of people, it just doesn’t resonate as well with me.
Paper Route isn’t a good band. They’re a great one. I’m not so sure that the audience is going to be in the right place for this record. It’s not something you listen to and love right away. It’s something you listen to 20 times and find a new nuance on to really appreciate. There are some songs here for everyone, and the people who are big fans of the band will end up loving this album, it just might take a while to warm up to.