Blue October – Any Man in America

Genre: Alternative rock, post-grunge, experimental rock

Release Date: 16 August 2011

Length: 62:26

Origin: Houston, Texas

One of the most anticipated alternative rock albums of the year – Any Man in America, has finally been released.

Blue October’s ‘Any Man In America’ is the band’s sixth studio album and perhaps one of the most anticipated albums of the year and for good reason as it’s a brutally honest masterpiece about heartbreak and healing as told over thirteen songs in the band’s traditional, alternative style.

The distinct honesty of Justin Furstenfeld and his raspy voice are as evident as ever as Any Man in America primarily focuses on his divorce and custody battle over his daughter, a battle he has seemingly lost given the content of the songs, it was also made apparent before the album’s release with the single – The Feel Again (Stay) on YouTube, the music video focusing almost exclusively on Furstenfeld’s face with the pain and anguish of loss evident in his features.  Due to the song’s overwhelmingly positive feedback, the song was released on iTunes five days later.

Blue October front-man, Justin Furstenfeld (born – December 14, 1975 in Houston, Texas) is also an author, having released his first book; Crazy Making – The Words and Lyrics of Justin Furstenfeld in April 2009, the book details the thoughts and inspiration behind each of the Blue October songs, on a side note, he has also written over 500 songs.  Furstenfeld is also an artist, with two of his paintings being used as covers for the Blue October albums; The Answers and History for Sale.  The cover art of Any Man in America is a drawing of Justin Furstenfeld by album producer Tim Palmer’s (then) three-year old daughter, Bluebell.

Examples of Furstenfeld’s artwork;

Cover artwork for The Answers (1998) and...

...History for Sale (2003).

Furstenfeld is also a long-time sufferer of bipolar disorder but has publicly stated in an interview that he has the condition under control.

To break down Any Man In America – it is a thirteen-track album, detailing Furstenfeld’s thoughts and feelings of an extremely difficult time in his life, divorce, custody battle and so forth and it is done so in the  alternative rock/experimental style that fans have been accustomed to over the years.  Furstenfeld’s control over his voice is worth noting as he changes pitch and tone on several occasions throughout the album to better suit certain songs (like Worry List) but sometimes he just lets it all out with heartfelt shouts such as can be heard in The Feel Again (Stay).  Very impressive indeed.  It is also worth noting that the album is rather long, running for just over an hour though it is obviously necessary as Furstenfeld has a lot to say.  The overall musical style is also quite diverse, while the band is primarily an alternative rock outfit, there are many non-rock components added to the songs that create the unique style that has made the band so distinctive and successful.

Blue October front-man, Justin Furstenfeld (centre).

In conclusion, I cannot think of anything negative to say about Any Man in America, it is a wonderful and impressive addition to the band’s repertoire, and after listening to this album ten times over (I’m guesstimating here), I can honestly say that it only gets better with repeated listening.  Blue October’s latest edition will not disappoint though if you are expecting a string of upbeat tunes look elsewhere, those familiar with the band know this.  Any Man in America is an extremely personal and heartfelt work and something I think a lot of people will be able to associate with.  Any Man in America will make you fall in love with this band from the get-go, and if not, well then…what’s the matter with you?  Highly recommended.

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