Jason Falkner has been absent from my CD shelf for far too long. The funny thing about Falkner is that, even with just two full studio albums, two or three collections of demos, rarities and B-sides, one cover album and one EP, he’s hailed as a genius by a rabid fan base (of which I must admit to being a member). The irony of it is that his third studio album of original music hasn’t gotten a nibble from an American label as I write this; it’s currently available only as a pricey Japanese import.

Falkner’s sunny feel-good power pop is one of a kind. The raucous, jubilant guitar riff that runs throughout “The Knew”, the interweaving, meandering vocal harmonies of “Stephanie Tells Me”, and the hard-to-shake-out-of-your-head hooks of “Say It’s True” and “Komplicated Man” demonstrate why the man and his music have that devoted following. “Anondah” and “This Life Of Mine” hearken back to the best soft rock/power ballads of the ’70s, without most of the excesses cliches that go with that sub-genre (they’re not significantly longer than most of the other tracks, though they “feel” a bit more epic). Falkner also slides comfortably into ’80s-style new wave with songs like “Runaway” and the low-key but infectiously hummable “Hurricane”. As usual, he’s not emulating any particular song from those eras or styles, but is making them his own.

There’s a consistent laid-back vibe to I’m OK, You’re OK, and there aren’t many real “peaks” that break with that mid-tempo feel, with the possible exception of “The Knew”, and even then, there isn’t a blow-down-the-door standout track on the level of “Lost Myself” – and that was the standout from a 6-track EP. That’s not to count points off, but I’m OK gives us a much more subdued side of Falkner, without any big showpieces along the lines of “Lost Myself”, “I Live” or “Holiday”.

4 out of 4There’s one Japan-only bonus track, “I Don’t Mind”, which is a slightly rockier take on a lyric and a musical idea that’s used elsewhere on the album, almost as if it’s a demo. Whether or not that one song alone will keep Falkner’s fans interested enough to spring for the expensive import edition is really going to be up to the individual. Now I just hope there won’t be such a long wait between this and Falkner’s next solo album.

Order this CD

  1. This Time (4:39)
  2. NYC (3:52)
  3. The Knew (3:21)
  4. Stephanie Tells Me (4:50)
  5. Hurricane (4:51)
  6. Anondah (5:06)
  7. Komplicated Man (3:13)
  8. Runaway (6:24)
  9. Say It’s True (5:04)
  10. Contact (4:04)
  11. This Life Of Mine (4:13)
  12. I Don’t Mind (5:11)

Released by: Noise McCartney Records / Phantom
Release date: 2007
Total running time: 54:48