Hello, Good Friend

Music review by
Scott Bierko, Common Sense Media
Hello, Good Friend Music Poster Image
Full of effort but lacking in quality material.

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The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this CD has no objectionable material. There are subtle references to Bryce Avary's Christian faith in the CD packaging, but only the most sensitive listeners would find any of his lyrics overtly religious in nature.

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What's the story?

Bryce Avary presents a surface full of musicianship and drive, but not the depth to match. The talent is there but the songs on HELLO, GOOD FRIEND have no hooks, and no amount of pyrotechnics can save poorly written material. Sure, his rock productions sound like Billy Joel or The Who, but they all follow the same predictable arc of starting out softly and then ascending to all-out rockers by the second verse. Avary's vocals are painful to listen to -- not because he lacks vocal power -- but because he's always singing full tilt without creating any opportunities for nuance or development. One might suggest that he listen more closely to Billy Joel, Peter Gabriel, or Bono for how to deliver a song without performing vocal gymnastics on every line.

Is it any good?

Avary needs to study the art of pop songwriting -- it's not until the last three songs that we begin to hear the possibility for a chorus that we'll remember after the music stops. "Show Me -- Everything You've Got" is okay, but it can't save this CD from bland mediocrity. If Avary could grow in his writing (or find a collaborator) and let go of some of the vocal flab, we might find a real artist buried underneath.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the potential for Avary to one day become a great star if he weds his considerable talents with better material. Parents can compare him to other pop stars who had mediocre starts and found their "voice" later in life.

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