American Authors – The Best Night of My Life | Album Review

Alt-rock band American Authors released their fourth album, The Best Night of My Life on February 10. The trio features frontman Zac Barnett, Dave Rublin on bass and keys, and Matt Sanchez on drums. This album marks the ten-year anniversary for the band, and Best Night of My Life highlights all of the signature American Authors elements: plucky guitar, high register harmonies, upbeat rhythms, and catchy melodies. Barnett stated that, “We wanted our 4th album to be the most Authors album we’ve done & who knows American Authors better than us. We wrote & produced the album ourselves & I truly feel it’s our best & most cohesive album yet.” Overall, the album is a feel-good record, poised to capture the hearts of new listeners and die-hard American Authors fans.

The album Best Night of My Life presents itself in three distinct acts. American Authors take the listener on a relationship journey, starting with some summer fun, growing into a real love, and then moving on after it ends. The first act contains of “Best Night of My Life,” “We Happy,” and “One Step Back.” The titular track thematically references their hit single “Best Day of My Life,” released in 2014, with bright vocal accents, sweet lyrics, and their signature acoustic sound. The glittery instrument accompaniments underscore Barnett taking a trip down memory lane, reminiscing on his favorite nights across the US. He looks back at his experiences with loved ones, dancing through the streets of different cities. The next track, “We Happy,” samples heavily from the melody Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” for this sweet love song. American Authors use whistles, claps, the plucky guitar, and harmonica to support their dreamy harmonies while Barnett croons along. By using a more organic approach to instrumentation, it’s easy to picture the band singing this around a campfire at someone’s house or on the beach. The first act wraps up with “One Step Back,” a more introspective track about taking a zoomed-out look at life. Keeping with the theme, the guitar provides twangy accents to brighten up the heavier messaging in the track. The blend of bright intonation and serious lyrics provide solid transition to the second act of Best Night of My Life.

As the album moves on, American Authors delve deeper into their love story with “Same Bed,” “Blind for Love,” “Live On,” and “All Roads Lead to You.” This section starts to incorporate more prominent bass lines from Rublin and vocal effects, maturing from act one. Kicking off with “Same Bed,” Barnett writes a love letter home. The track pushes forward as he sings that he can’t wait to fall asleep in the “same bed” as his partner. It’s clear from the driving beat and quick guitar melody that he is rushing home as fast as he can. There is also a cute reference to road trip playlists, and the band even includes a line from The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and Blink-182’s “All the Small Things.” It’s assumed he made it home, as “Blind for Love” takes that relationship to the next level. The track opens with whistles and an acoustic guitar, but quickly deepens. Barnett uses a vocal filter to add a grittier tone and capture an earnest desire, and the chorus kicks off with an explosion of sound. This is no longer a puppy love; he is all in and can’t see past his passion. “Live On” fleshes out the intimate nature of the relationship. American Authors significantly strips back their instrumentation to a bass, ukulele and skillful percussion from Sanchez. Coupled with deeper register and harmonies in the vocals, the track feels like it could have been recorded at a coffee house. The second act concludes with “All Roads Lead to You.” This track draws heavily from R&B and gospel – a bit of a departure from the rest of the album. A piano takes center stage, with the acoustic guitar providing a subtle countermelody. Fuzzy harmonies coupled with hand claps take the listener to church, evoking imagery of a gospel choir, as if the relationship is a religious experience. The piano is gorgeous and serious, bringing finality to this section of the album.

“Best Night of My Life” music video

American Authors close out Best Night of My Life with “Good Times,” “Madness,” and “Movin’ On.” These tracks are groovy, mixing their plucky guitar with a funky bass line and some techno beats. If the instrumental change wasn’t enough to suggest turmoil, the lyrics seal the deal. The opening lines of “Good Times” declare “I see the sky is falling down and I should run for cover, cover/I feel the ground beneath me cracking from the lightning and thunder, thunder.” Throughout the track, Barnett repeats lyrics, which bring a sense of urgency when paired with clapping and swirling guitar lines. It’s as if he is being pulled forward through the music as it crescendos over and over to build intensity. “Madness” brings back the summery vibes of “We Happy,” but instead blends in a funk bass and organ to deepen the overall intonation. The chaos is bringing American Authors down, but they know they have to press on. The final track, “Movin’ On,” makes it explicitly clear that the relationship is over. The track opens with a melancholy guitar, but slowly builds before hitting the listener with an upbeat techno drum and breathing life back into the song. Barnett actually credits leaving an abusive relationship as the inspiration for this track. He notes, “Even when you leave, you’re dumbfounded because the other person never understood it was an abusive relationship. You’re breaking free, moving on, getting out from underneath the situation, and knowing the best is yet to come.” It provides a fitting end to the journey that is The Best Night of My Life.

American Authors released Best Night of My Life to kick off their 2023 tour with Billy Raffoul. Check to see if they will be in a city near you for the best night of YOUR life now!




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