The cover of Schaeffer’s sophomore release, Something Worth Fighting For says it from the start – there’s something different about this album. Underneath the title, the byline reads “As Told by Schaeffer.” It’s a gutsy and creative concept album put together by three brothers who, in writing it, may have unwittingly raised the bar for themselves and other young rock bands.
Concept albums are nothing new to the world of popular music. In fact, arguably some of the greatest albums of all time have been concept albums: The Who’s “Tommy” and Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” are probably two of the best examples. Even modern day bands like My Chemical Romance have attempted it. But, let’s face it – most music today is made with the idea of producing singles.
That’s why it’s so impressive that this young band from Detroit has successfully put together a concept album that is both musically solid and tells an honest-to-goodness story – and leaves the listener with a message. Without detracting too much here from the story, in summary Something Worth Fighting For is the tale of a couple, a car accident, and the damage left in its wake.
Lyrically, the writing is smart, strong and incredibly literary (for a sneak peek without hearing a note, just check out the song titles). Melodically, the songs ebb and flow with the emotion of the story, but this is anything but a melancholy album. And the music itself is just as intelligent and intricate, with time signature and tempo shifts that tie themselves to the theme. The songs seem to move from one into the other, yet they sound entirely different from the song before.
Even more compelling, each song has strong enough merit to stand on its own; mini-stories amid the big plotline, if you will. Whether you’re left dangling with “iloveyouwithacrash,” singing along to the unbelievably catchy “Tell You, I,” or rocking out to the title track, there are great things around every curve.
Conceptualizing and pulling off this type of unity in an album is difficult for even accomplished artists, so it’s hard to deny a young band the kudos for doing it … and doing it well. If you’re in the market for hearing a band on the cusp of big things, pick up this album. Something Worth Fighting For is as good as it is ambitious and will certainly put Schaeffer on the map as a band on the rise.