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Review by | September 22, 2014 at 2:00 AM
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“Now we’re swinging from the stars we were reaching for.”

Four years ago Jordan Witzigreuter, better known as The Ready Set, released his first full-length, the monumental I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming. Talk about a second full-length from the Indiana musician started soon after, making it a long anticipated release. Finally he’s made good on his promise with the energetic sound of The Bad & The Better. The new album strays away from the electronic elements I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming showcased and instead focuses a bit more on the sugary sweet sound of Top 40 radio. Of course, if Top 40 radio were this impeccable we wouldn’t hate it. There isn’t a song on the collection that doesn’t rise to the occasion and deliver the finest quality of pop. Add in a few genre-defying elements every now and again, and you’ll be hitting repeat until this time next year.

The Bad & The Better kicks off with a few familiar songs that have been previously released, including first single “Higher”, making the album a singalong from the start. Moments later the album launches into the most catchy of its incredibly memorable catalog, “Carry Me Home.” A good summary of the collection as a whole, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this song released as a single in the near future. Taking into consideration the fun energy, lightweight mood, and unmistakable tune, it’s the perfect soundtrack for all your upcoming escapades. The predecessor to “Carry Me Home”, “Fangz”, is also worthy of a mention. The song was recorded in the style of The Ready Set’s debut album Tantrum Castle, and its back-to-roots creation doesn’t go unnoticed. Plus the deep bass and club feel make it a total Breathe Carolina-style banger that’ll have you wondering what would happen were the frequent tourmates to collaborate in the studio.

After a few more flawless pop tracks, you’ll run into “Bleeding”. For whatever reason, this song just works, and if you’re like me you’ll spend a good amount of time trying to decipher why. Could it be the incredibly well-paced vocal delivery? The chorus that has you hook, line, and sinker from the word go? The beat that makes you feel 105% alive? The likely cause is that all these elements work so well together they become one of the album’s strongest attributes, and one of the best songs you’ll hear all year.

Following closely behind “Bleeding” is “Castaway”. The song is a force to be reckoned with, and puts up a damn good fight for best track of the album. It’s extremely difficult to describe a song with this much power–it’s something you have to feel to fully understand. It hits you with a force unimaginable, and when it does you have no choice but to take notice. Lyrically it’s some of Witzigreuter’s best work to date (and we’re talking about the man who wrote the exuberantly penned “Melody’s Song”), and he tones things down enough sonically to let the breath taking words take the spotlight. Only one listen forms an emotional bond with the song. “Castaway” is a feat that’s rarely accomplished, and Witzigreuter should be proud to have created it.

At the end of the day all that needs to be said about the eleven magnificent songs on this collection is that they’re a collection of fun, addictive, and enticing pop that sounds like sunshine and good memories. It might be the best release we hear all year, or possibly until The Ready Set puts out another. Which leads me to plead: please let it be a quicker turnaround this time. The Bad & The Better is an album worth any wait, but that doesn’t mean we want to go through it again.

Skip It/Stream It/Buy It: Buy it