Probably the most interesting tidbit about Vertical Horizon’s upcoming sixth album is how it came together. The band worked with PledgeMusic, which can possibly be best described as “Kickstarter for bands,” to fund the making of the album. Fans pledged varying amounts of cash to get the album started, and the band rewarded them with different giveaways depending on how much money they gave (they even had dinner with fans that donated at least $2,000… if Alter Bridge ever does this, I think I might faint).
Because the band funded the album themselves, they were free of many constraints that a major label would put on them. Lead singer Matt Scannell described this process in an interview with Alternative Addiction, “My mind was completely pure during the creation of this record,” said Scannell. “I didn’t have any other considerations going through my mind. I wasn’t trying to write songs to be singles, or writing any type of sound. The only action I was concerned with was following the muse and following inspiration.”
That said, their first single from their new album, “Broken Over You,” largely sticks to the formula that has made them a success for years. Most of Vertical Horizon’s songs have a wistful and contemplative air to them, and this song is no different. The synthesizer intro demonstrates this right away. The main guitar riff fits in very well, and mixes in some scat singing to a nice effect. But beyond that, the instruments largely step aside and let him do his thing. The guitar and bass kind of blend in with each other to create a wall of sound in the chorus, and neither distinguishes itself much at all.
Ever since VH had their mainstream breakthrough in 1999 with the album and namesake single Everything You Want, Scannell has largely been the star of the band. When VH was an indie outfit, he shared singing duties with Keith Kane, the band’s original guitarist who left in 2010. “Broken Over You” pushes Scannell even more to the forefront, and with good reason, as he has always been a solid singer. He also has a very upfront and honest singing style, which I’ve always appreciated.
“Broken Over You” also shows off Scannell’s songwriting chops as well. His lyrics have always been accessible, and he is able to put his own spin on lyrical topics and themes that have been done before. He also has these subtle shifts as a song progresses that change their meaning slightly, but that you can miss if you’re not listening for them. For instance, the song repeats the phrase “I’m broken over you” many times, then shifts to “How do I get from broken to over you?” a slightly different take. It reminds me of their biggest hit song, where the lyrics shift to “He’s everything you want,” to “I’m everything you want,” toward the end.
Overall, while this single doesn’t break much new ground, it serves to reintroduce music listeners to Vertical Horizon, and makes me quite excited for their new album. I’m interested to see if they experiment with anything on this album, with the newfound independence that Scannell described. I think it’s definitely worth a listen, and I’ll be picking up the album when it comes out on September 10, so check back around then for a review.