released August 3rd, 2010
from the album - Is There Anybody Out There
from all music
Much like Five for Fighting or Dashboard Confessional, Secondhand Serenade is the project name for a solo artist, singer/songwriter John Vesely. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in a musical family that included his professional jazz musician father, Vesely spent a number of years playing bass in local bands before picking up the acoustic guitar and refocusing his attention on composing original material. Rather than releasing the new material under his name, Vesely chose to group them under a different moniker, Secondhand Serenade, which paid reference to the notion that all his autobiographical songs were directed first and foremost to his wife (and thus made the rest of his audience bystanders to their pas de deux).
Vesely recorded his debut album, Awake, in 2005, originally self-releasing the disc and selling it online through his MySpace page and iTunes. Internet buzz led to a deal with Glassnote Records, who released an expanded version of Awake in February 2007.
Talking to Billboard Magazine in early 2010, John Vesely promised that Secondhand Serenade's third album would be “more upbeat” than those preceding it. Released several months later, though, Hear Me Now still clings to Dashbooard Confessional’s downtrodden template, with all 11 tracks subscribing to the notion that a song isn’t worth singing unless it involves heartbreak and defeatist lyrics. “I hate myself when I’m away from you… please don’t hate me, too,” Vesely pleads on the opening track. Over the next 35 minutes, he laments his loss of faith, his lover’s lack of confidence, and being “stuck in this life I didn’t ask for.” The tempos may be bouncy throughout — “So Long” is downright buoyant, even — but this is still fairly melancholic stuff, with every major-key chord progression being dragged into the murky depths by Vesely’s sad-eyed lyrics and open-armed embrace of emo pop clichés. Hear Me Now isn’t offensive; it’s just predictable and anonymous, since none of these songs offer up anything that Secondhand Serenade’s Warped Tour comrades haven’t already done with their own albums. For someone who’s completed three full-length records of his own, Vesely should know that standing out from the pack is better than disappearing within its ranks.
1 Distance Vesely 3:56
2 Something More Vesely 3:24
3 Stay Away Vesely 2:47
4 You and I Vesely 3:37
5 Is There Anybody Out There Vesely 3:42
6 Reach For the Sky Vesely 3:21
7 Only Hope Vesely 3:44
8 So Long Vesely 2:59
9 World Turns Vesely 3:42
10 Nightmares Vesely 4:03
11 Hear Me Now Vesely 5:24