Thanks to spinner.com, I was able to stream and listen to this album online yesterday, prior to my download starting at midnight. And in one word - its absolutely incredible. (Ok, that's two words). It's deeply personal, raw, emotional, and touches my soul in places that I never knew anyone could except for Jimmy. I have heard a number of these songs live before, but to hear studio versions is a totally different experience. And through my headphones is the best way to experience The Heart, hands down.
On first listen, my stand out favorite track is Patiently Waiting. The piano in the beginning is just raw. And haunting. The words are emotional and dark - and the transition at the end into Its Only Love is perfect and beautiful. For some reason, I tend to gravitate towards the more emo, angry, and darker songs on albums first, and this will be absolutely incredible live.
The Heart is the Murder track on this album for me. Its great on the album, but live its totally intense and seriously just kick ass. Full band with the instruments, just jamming and letting go - I can't wait. I think I will like These Are My Hands more when I hear it live - I like it a lot, its beautiful, but it's definitely going to grow on me. Days gives me chills from the first notes, and does not let up throughout. Its another raw, hauntingly emotional song, much like Mystery is. I'd kind of like to know who or what he wrote it about, but I feel like its so personal, I'll never ever ask. It's going to be the track that will sneak its way into my brain and not leave, much like Ran Away does on Mercy since it is lodged between two very upbeat songs - These Are My Hands and Gravity.
The first half of the album is very stripped down (the first two tracks especially), but I feel like as this album progresses, it takes you on a journey. The tracks get faster in tempo, the emotion builds, and at the end, you feel like you've run a race but you want to go back and do it all over again. It leaves you breathless, with all the hair on the back of your neck standing up on end. I'm sure I'll have more to say over time, but I wanted to get all my first thoughts and impressions out before I lost them.
The Heart is on itunes, Amazon, at local indie music stores, Best Buy, and also available through Bright Antenna. Definitely pick it up, listen to it, and be prepared to be taken on a musical journey like no other.