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JFH Staff Review




Hawk Nelson
Letters To The President: Deluxe Edition



Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 20 tracks: 54 minutes, 33 seconds
Street Date: October 4, 2005


The extended edition fad strikes again! Fans eager for new material from their favorite artists are once again expected to shell out their treasured allowance for the same record again with just a few extra bonus materials. The latest project to be given this treatment is pop/punk band Hawk Nelson's standout debut Letters To The President. (Note: This review will cover the Deluxe Edition as a whole, focusing on its features. For our review of the original 14-track release and those songs, click here)

Letters To The President: Deluxe Edition, as with most extended rereleases, is essentially the must-have version of this album if you stack the original release up against the Deluxe Edition. The Deluxe Edition adds six new tracks and three videos that are accessible on your computer. The six new tracks are somewhat of grab bag of bonus materials. Following the original album's closer "Long and Lonely Road," vocalist Jason Dunn introduces the band's Fall 2004 appearance on TV show American Dreams, preceding their rough and raw version of The Who's "My Generation" from the episode. It's the first time this song has been made available to fans on a Hawk project and it's a nice bonus. The other three songs are stripped-down acoustic versions of tracks that appear earlier on in the record. "Take Me" and "Every Little Thing" are transformed into great acoustic-driven ballads while the pop/punk anthem "Letters To The President" is completely reworked into a beautiful piano ballad. Finally, a less then thirty second spoken word track entitled "Jason's Thoughts In French" is merely Jason speaking something entirely in French. Unless you passed Intro To French in middle school with flying colors, you aren't likely going to understand a lick of it. Last, but not least, the bonus videos are interesting enough. The "live" version (as it says on the cover) of "Letters To The President" is merely the studio music from the CD set to random footage of the band on tour and, disappointingly, isn't live music at all. "Hawk Vs. The Roller Coaster" is a silly video that shows Jason's view of riding a rollercoaster and some overly excited teens sitting behind him. The best video of the three, however, is "Jason Vs. The Chairs" which shows a stack of folding chairs set up at one of the locations on this Spring's "The Diverse City Worldwide Tour" with Jason taking a running leap into them. And the remainder of the new stuff, the album's art, is slightly redone, adding a few tour photos from the past year in the middle of the booklet and a sleeve for the CD with a new cover.

Letters To The President: Deluxe Edition is a fun treat for fans waiting for the band's sophomore record to release next year, but it's also rather unfair for labels to keep expecting them to re-buy records they already own. I still would have rather seen an EP released (much like the new Relient K Apathetic EP which appears to have similar content like acoustic mixes), with an extra song or two than another release of the same album. But alas, what we have instead is Letters To The President: Deluxe Edition and it's a great collection in its own right, even if it isn't especially necessary.

- Review date: 10/3/05, written by John DiBiase


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. Artist Info: Discography
. Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
. Album length: 20 tracks, 54 minutes and 33 seconds
. Street Date: October 4, 2005
. Buy It: Amazon.com

  1. California (2:52)
  2. Things We Go Through (2:31)
  3. Every Little Thing (3:07)
  4. From Underneath (2:45)
  5. Letters To The President (3:13)
  6. Right Here (3:11)
  7. Recess (0:50)
  8. Take Me (3:30)
  9. Someone Else Before (3:17)
  10. First Time (2:37)
  11. Like A Race Car (2:48)
  12. Late Show (1:53)
  13. 36 Days (3:42)
  14. Long And Lonely Road (3:09)
  15. American Dreams: The Story
  16. My Generation
  17. Every Little Thing (Acoustic)
  18. Take Me (Acoustic)
  19. Jason's Thoughts In French
  20. Letters To The President (Acoustic)
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