Being a male/female duo within music is not a new phenomenon nowadays; many of these acts have come and gone along the years. Troy and Paula Haag are one of these couples; the two are certainly not the first married duo to come along in the music business, and they will certainly not be the last. The difference between them and others, however is that Troy and Paula Haag fill in where others within this classification seem to fall short.
Whenever an artist titles a song after a specific date and year, there is a good chance that there is additional significance within the song. In this case, the title is “April 8th, 1906.” They sing of the events that occur on the day before an earthquake hits. While the narrator of the song is out at sea, his love is taken away by this earthquake. The song contains an underlying message about constant struggle and the steady effort to overcome it. Troy sings, “I was just too late that day. The damned old quake took you away, and left me here to ride forevermore on the waves that keep me from the shore.” “Virginia” comes across more along the lines of a folk ballad. Like most of the album, this song is also a love song, though not a happy one. The style of storytelling coupled with the use of heavy finger picking within each chorus makes this song notable.
“Say Goodnight” is a song you could listen to over and over again without getting bored. They combine a catchy chorus with an acoustic guitar solo that verges on the edge of folk and country. The lyrics, which are about a relationship that has turned dull, are constructed ever so incisively. He sings, “I don’t want to say goodnight. I won’t convince myself I think of someone else.” And what first appears to be a great love song in “Tomorrow’s Yesterday” soon turns out to be a song filled with bitterness and resentment with just a touch of reminiscence. Troy’s words and the striking picture he paints with those words are incredibly poignant. For instance, the song begins with the lyrics, “Your kiss is like a summer breeze, your eyes are like a twilight moon. Your soul is somewhere in between all the brightness and the gloom.” The duo follows along the same lines of comparing a person with nature in “My Constellation,” though this is a song that you would most certainly want to dedicate to a loved one. This person is compared to anything imaginable within nature, such as the wind, the rain, and a constellation.
Troy supplies the majority of the vocals, while Paula provides backing vocals on each song. They are the contemporary Simon and Garfunkel. Their laid back, acoustic style is older yet their way of interweaving various instruments into their songs and their sound that veers more into folk and Americana is more modern. The subtle flaws and creaks within Troy’s vocals provide an even folkier sense to the album. And Paula’s lower tone does well to complement Troy’s voice, never overpowering it or taking anything away from any one song.
There are no filler songs on The Century. Each one serves a distinct purpose and complements the duo in various ways. Likewise, there are no filler melodies or lyrics within any of the songs. They do well to say what they mean, and to sing those lyrics as if they mean what they say.
Review by Alec Cunningham
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)