The Good Life - Everybody's Coming Down (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Good Life

Everybody's Coming Down (2015)

Saddle Creek

Yes, it’s been eight years since The Good Life put out Help Wanted Nights, but there’s been no shortage of Tim Kasher since. Between two Cursive records and a pair of solo outings, he’s kept himself busy in the public eye. Though many, including myself, were excited for a new The Good Life album, Everybody’s Coming Down may not be the Holy Grail we were hoping for.

The Good Life, tonally speaking, is a side project to Cursive, Kasher’s day job. But they do exist within the same realm. With Cursive, he puts all his energy into crafting unique stories designed for each record. They are tightly wound as there’s not a lot of wiggle room between twin sisters’s conjoined heads. Whereas The Good Life acts as the looser, more personal counterbalance -- Kasher as the troubadour. But since 2007, we've received two marginal solo albums that more or less scratched the same itch.

Kasher works best when he sets these limitations for himself. His biggest successes -- The Ugly Organ, Album of the Year -- are carefully constructed, allowing himself just enough freedom to stray here and there. Sometimes, when he commits too much (I Am Gemini) or too little the results vary. The latter is the case with Everybody’s Coming Down. What’s different now? We expect more than an album laced with sad songs and prefer the misses that are too ambitious. Songs like “Everybody” and “Holy Shit” are good, but don't exactly reach out of his comfort zone.

When The Good Life do try new things, the musicians (Kasher with Stefanie Drootin-Senseney, Ryan Fox and Roger L. Lewis) make you work to enjoy their product and commit to their sonic choices. Lyrically though, Kasher’s much more straightforward. “I’m singing for vanity. I’m singing for the world to want me. I’m singing cause I’m lonely” isn’t exactly open for interpretation. Compared to all the digging required with Cursive, The Good Life’s purpose remains clear as day.

The beauty of The Good Life is that each record sounds different than the last. This one, though, comes across as an older, kindred spirit to 2002’s Black Out. As is often the case, the melancholy yet harsh nature of the music combined with Kasher’s heady lyricism makes the listen a little challenging at first. But on Everybody’s Coming Down, the band seems to be enjoying the freedom they’ve allowed themselves. Unfortunately for us, that doesn't result in the strongest entry in their arsenal.