The quartet that was once recognized as 21 Demands in 2007, changed their name to Kodaline after making their big break by appearing on a show called, You’re a Star, and finishing as the series runner-up. Together, the four members of the band, Steve Garrigan, Vinny May, Jason Boland, and Mark Prendergast, display great confidence that comes from their friendship and write beautiful songs that come from experience and life on the road. There is, although one problem. Kodaline isn’t getting enough recognition for their talent. Most listeners have said that they sound too familiar. The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, and Coldplay are some bands that listeners have compared Kodaline to. They’ve labeled Kodaline as a group of wannabe’s, and to me, they deserve more acknowledgement.
After performing on You’re a Star, the members of Kodaline wrote their very first album and called it In a Perfect World. The songs I am going to talk about in this album are “Love Like This”, “All I Want”, and “High Hopes.” The quartet sits together and talks about the most impacting experiences to write about. Most of the songs in this album are about relationships. The song “Love Like This” is about the lead singer’s, Steve Garrigan, first love. Once he noticed it wasn’t going to work out, Garrigan realized relationships don’t last forever; hence, the line “I know that a love like this won’t last forever” was written. This song does sound similar to The Lumineers or Mumford and Sons, but it’s important to note that it was never Kodaline’s intentions to make it seem like they were trying to be like these bands to gain fame. The songs are self written and very personal by coming from their hearts and their own experiences. During an interview with The Independent, Steve Garrigan said, “It’s intensely personal stuff, it’s like opening your diary and passing it around for judging. Every song has its own story.” “Love Like This” felt more like a folk song, giving such an upsetting experience an up-beat feel to it. I really like this song because people with any kind of relationship struggles can listen to this song without getting even more upset about it. It has the kind of vibe that makes an individual want to grab the closest thing to a microphone and dance around, completely forgetting about their problems and losing themselves in the moment.
This was in fact one of Kodaline’s intentions. Songwriting for the band is not just about music. It’s almost like therapy for them. While writing songs, there is a beautiful opportunity to put emotions into words. When the band discovered this, the quartet wanted their songs to be therapeutic for everyone and have the chance for listeners to relate and put their own meaning on the songs.“All I Want” is another song about Steve Garrigan’s relationships. Discovering the fact that his girlfriend at the time had cheated on him, put him in a dark place. Something the band likes to do though, is put a positive spin on their songs. The line, “I’ll find somebody. Life goes on,” is a good example of this. Kodaline can find the good in any situation and put it in a catchy tune. The whole message of the song is for everyone to keep their chins up because eventually, someone will come along the way and love them for who they are. According to a couple listeners of the song, they heard some Coldplay within the music. “All I Want” does start out slow like a Coldplay song would do, but eventually picks up speed. Besides the lighthearted lyrics in this song, it has an icy feel to it. Because of this, it makes it easier for listeners to relate to the song. The more people can relate to the song, the more popular the song gets. From this, the song has achieved great success. It’s appeared in sadder videos, tv shows, and even movies. The song can be heard in season 5, episode 10 of The Vampire Diaries and the season 9 episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “Remember the Time”. “All I Want” even played in The Fault in our Stars and was used as background music for Google’s 2012: Year in Review video.
“High Hopes” is the last song in this album I am going to talk about. This song is about the fear of letting something or someone go. From the line, “ But I’ve got high hopes. It takes me back to when we started.” we can interpret that Steve Garrigan thinks back to a harsh breakup and has hopes about getting back together then, going back to where it started. This song has a sorrowful message because he clearly lost the person he loved so dearly but in some ways, it’s adoring. The lyrics take us back to delightful memories he had with this girl and the beat of the song is very cheerful. The effect that talented musicians can have on a song is extraordinary. The band members play a huge role in making their songs come to life. Steve Garrigan is the lead singer but can sometimes find him playing the keyboard, mandolin, or guitar. Mark Pendergast is the lead guitarist and a background singer, and in some cases, he can also play the keyboard. Vinny May Jr. kills it playing the drums and he is a background singer as well. By killing it, I don’t mean he plays the drums like it’s a hard core rock song, but he sets a nice beat for the songs and is very talented. Last but not least, Jason Boland plays the bass guitar and is another background singer. Together the four members make a great band and give special meaning to their songs.
Overall, Kodaline’s songs are very meaningful and very personal. They come from the heart of all the band members, Steve Garrigan, Vinny May Jr, Jason Boland, and Mark Pendergast, and are written from experiences with each other. Obviously at the time, the band was a young, new band, trying to find their sound. Sometimes listening to songs while growing up, impacts how songs are written in the future. Saying Kodaline sounds similar to a band like Coldplay is not a bad thing at all, but I believe everyone should know that this was never Kodaline’s intentions. The quartet wants to share their personal feelings for others and maybe even help out or relate to their very own listeners. The band deserves more for their hard work, talent, and thoughtfulness. Kodaline is very good at taking a very negative situation and flipping it around to make it a more positive sounding song with a deeper message. I definitely recommend listening to their first album In a Perfect World and the three songs, “Love Like This”, “All I Want”, and “High Hopes” if anyone is looking for heart-rending songs twisted to sound uplifting.