We recently discovered Safetysuit’s Life Left To Go, nearly a year and a half after it was released, and were thoroughly impressed. Catchy pop choruses, soaring melodies, and meaningful lyrics make this an album that begs to be played over and over again. But why did it take us so long to hear about Safetysuit? Maybe it was poor radio promotions, lackluster management, or record label issues. Whatever the reason may be, let me introduce you to a great band that you’ve never heard on your radio dial.
SafetySuit is Doug Bown, Dave Garofalo, Jeremy Henshaw, and Tate Cunningham; four longtime friends from Tulsa, OK. They got their start by winning a battle of the bands concert in Tulsa under the band name ‘The Crew.’ The Crew quickly became a local smash hit– their shows drew up to 1000 people per night. After winning over their hometown crowd they departed for the country recording mecca of Nashville. While most pop-rock acts don’t choose this obscure path, it eventually paid off for them as they landed the opportunity to record an EP with producer Greg Archilla (Matchbox 20, Collective Soul, Buckcherry) in the summer of 2005. Shortly after, they landed a deal with Universal Motown and released their debut, Life Left to Go, in May of 2008.
Their first single, “Someone Like You,” is a fresh tale of doubt and relationships, and reminiscent of the likes of 3 Doors Down mixed with a dose of Matchbox 20. It’s a solid track, but not strong enough to be the lead single off a major label debut album. The second single “Stay” landed at #1 on VH1′s Top 20 Countdown. Repetitive and formulaic, it’s not hard to see why the music video generation voted this song atop their charts. But it failed to win over the radio listening audience, never coming close to a Billboard chart. The choice to make these two songs the singles is most likely what has kept SafetySuit out of the spotlight.
Their course of action should have been the following:
1) Lead with the infectiously catchy track “Annie.” This song would have meant instant success for the band. While they recently released this song as their third single, it should have been the lead-off hitter to capture listener’s attention with a bang.
2) Follow that up with equally as catchy “Apology,” a song that’s sure to get you singing.
3) Next, mix in the feel good song, “Gone Away,” with its slow, building structure and chorus-filled ending. It’s hard not to imagine this song in the background of any prime time television drama, furthering the success of the band.
4) And why not add a 4th single and milk that album for all that it’s worth? “Something I Said” is brilliantly produced, complete with a string section and grandiose hooks, and would be a popular addition to the airwaves.
“Something I Said,”
The bottom line is SafetySuit makes inspiring music with powerful messages and deserves to be heard. While their previous tactics may not have brought them the spotlight have warranted, momentum is building and big plans are in the mix. First up in 2010, a tour with rising pop stars Parachute, followed by a few stops on the traditional college tour, non-stop writing and recording for their next album, and topped off by VH1′s Best Cruise Ever with the likes of 3 Doors Down, Lifehouse, Green River Ordinance, and many others.
So do yourself a favor, download the album, add their iphone app, and call your local radio station and demand to hear SafetySuit. Bands as talented as this deserve commercial success.
RIYL: 3 Doors Down, Matchbox 20, The Fray