The debut from this Indiana-bred singer and songwriter is proof that he finished at the top of his class at Anderson University. Jon McLaughlin studied piano while his classmates studied business and took other typical college courses. His independent album entitled Up Until Now caught enough attention to land him as the first act to sign with AU's record label, Orangehaus Records. A musician with this much talent needs not go unnoticed. Indiana is, if anything, a fresh take on a fairly overplayed genre.
The opening track, "Industry," is a song that will connect the listener to the musician. Most musicians will probably confess that when they sign their record contracts, they get nervous about the whole industry in which they are entering. It's new territory and they fear the path in which they've yet to tred. Musicians want to connect with and entertain their fans, not confuse and bore them and Jon really makes his uncertainty about his new found career known in this track. Up next is "Beautiful Disaster," the song that has become a countdown favorite on MTV and has found numerous supporters in the mainstream market. It's a catchy song with an unrelenting message about the constant push for beauty in society today. "Already In" is a downbeat ballad about love that will remind listeners instantly of the likes of Gavin Degraw.
"Human," is likely to please anyone currently involved in a relationship. It makes a point to say that relationships have ups and downs, but it's alright because of our imperfect humanity. McLaughlin also seems to be acknowledging the fact that we can't be perfect because we all fall short of that line of perfection. "Anthem For American Teenagers" is a song every teenager in America should hear at least once. In a world where youth doubt themselves and strive harder to be recognized, a song like this is needed and my hat goes off to Jon for writing this one. The lyrical message is to rely on God because everything else in this world will let you down. Idols and musical icons will all fade away, but God will always be there. That's something teenagers don't get to hear in this day and age much due to all of the restrictions non-believers are currently trying to put on Christianity, especially in our school systems.
Indiana ends with "Until You Got Love," a declaration stating that love is what makes someone wealthy because without it, you've got nothing. Without love, there will always be this void in your life that you will try to fill. This ending was pretty appropriate for such a strong record.
It was easy to fully expect another pop record with the same old thing we hear over and over, but this album offers much more than your typical ballads on love and life. Indiana is one everyone can relate to, young or old. If you were going to invest in a pop/rock record this year, look no further. Not only does Jon McLaughlin offer up piano-playing talent on a silver platter, he offers an acceptable and more artistic alternative to the likes of Gavin DeGraw and Josh Kelley.- Review date: 11/2/07, written by Jessica Gregorius
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