My dudes, if you haven’t already heard …And the Flowers Are Still Standing, Tedd Hazard’s latest album, I’m telling you right now to check it out ASAP. Just a few months ago, Hazard gave us his album Marshall Law, which I really enjoyed, but Flowers takes it to the next level.
Still holding to his brand of upfront, raw honesty, Flowers doesn’t require a whole lot of deciphering to get the message. The message in each song is clear and concise while also having the ability to spark important conversations. As I mentioned in my review on Marshall Law, Hazard has a strong Bob Dylan vibe in his instrumental work as well as his ability to see what’s going on in the world and translate it through song to give society an honest look at itself. A big difference, however, is that Hazard doesn’t just call people to action as Dylan did, he also calls them out on their bullshit, right there, up front, and in your face.
That confrontation that Hazard’s songs contain are not your typical, “yeah, fight me bitch” confrontation, but much more “I don’t care if it’s Thanksgiving, Uncle Dick, you’re a racist asshole. Prove me wrong.” And while topics such as racism and social injustice are addressed, so are more personal issues, such as grief and disappointment from friend or “friends” letting you down. In the album’s first song, “Penultimate Warrior”, Hazard talks about the disappointment and hurt from feeling like second best when people who claim to support you don’t just drop the ball, but drop you as well by not doing anything that’s actually supportive. I don’t know who this is referring to, but you know who you are. Support your creative friends, damn it! We creative types are broke as hell and don’t have money for ads and to make tons of merch, we need your help, so try to, you know, actually be supportive. If you care about a person, then you care about their work, it goes hand in hand. Okay, that rant aside…in this particular song, there are also references which I just loved, such as people preferring Scooby-Doo to Jabber Jaw, and while I am a die hard Scooby-Doo fan, I also loved Jabber Jaw growing up and can’t get over that that reference was made!
On the subject of grief, the song “Honorable Disgrace” touches on death, grief, and truth. While having lost a friend, Hazard is still honest about how that friend had let him down. Grief is complicated and messy, it’s never easy. And while when a person dies, many others will give them sainthood status, with “Honorable Disgrace”, Hazard points out that just because someone has died, doesn’t mean that their sins or the negative effects they had on other people, just go away. While there is probably more to this song and the situation, I cannot speak to it, for grief is a very personal experience to each individual person. So I’ll leave it at that.
Now, there are several excellent songs on this album, but I have to say, my absolute favorite is “Fear and Loathing in Schuylkill County pt. 4”. Any of you who know me, know that I am a die hard Hunter S. Thompson fan and I truly believe that if HST was alive today, he and Hazard would have a hell of a time hanging out and discussing the times as they both seem to be of a very similar mind. The song expresses frustration and rage at the injustices of what’s going on in our world and calls out those who are perpetuating those injustices. The line that sticks out to me most is, “You claim you’re color blind, but leave them black and blue, but all those rules you put in place, they don’t apply to you.” Holy shit, that is powerful.
So many artists don’t want to get caught in the political crossfire right now and so many of them are keeping silent about the social and political issues, but Hazard doesn’t care. This is an artist who stands up for what they believe it, for what is right, and call out what is wrong and he does so without dancing around the subject. We need more artists like this, we need more honesty – not just in the music world, but in our daily lives, in our own minds, and in our actions. By staying quiet to avoid name calling and political finger pointing, you’re actually saying a lot. Hazard’s album …And the Flowers Are Still Standing just goes to show that no matter what you do or don’t do, you’re saying something loud and clear, so you might as well be honest, and speak your heart and mind.
You can find …And the Flowers are Still Standing on Spotify right now and I highly recommend you do.