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'Hollywood' Collective Soul | 2007

August 26, 2007|BY GEOFF BOUCHER

Collective SOUL is a very serious band. Its name was plucked from the pages of Ayn Rand, and its songs are usually built around brooding lyrics that are as bouncy as granite. Take this opening line from the appropriately named 1999 hit "Heavy": "Complicate this world you wrapped for me / I'm acquainted with your suffering / And all your weight falls on me." Cheery stuff.

"Yeah, it's true," songwriter and lead singer Ed Roland said with a chuckle. "Everyone has this image of us being very heavy, very serious, but actually we're a bunch of goofballs who love to play rock and have fun. And you can hear that in 'Hollywood.' It's definitely a different thing for us."

"Hollywood" is the first single from the new Collective Soul album "Afterwords" and it takes the hoarse-voiced Roland and his post-grunge band into a strangely giddy territory. "We grew up in the 1980s and loved the Cars, and we wanted to do a song that was just fun."

Summer it never leaves your face

You've got that sunshine



Cotton-candy taste

The song began with a phone call. Two years ago, Collective Soul drummer Ryan Hoyle decided to leave the band's Georgia base. "He told me he was going to Hollywood," Roland said. The word echoed in the songwriter's head that night in his home studio in the leafy Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. An hour later the lyrics were all but done.

The band then went on tour with Metallica and kept working on the song -- quietly. "We were in South Africa, in Capetown, and we played it real low in the dressing room. We didn't want the Metallica guys to hear it and think we were too soft, too poppy. I'm serious!" Guitarist Joel Kosche then added a brawny solo for the song's bridge. Roland heartily approved: "We needed that."

The sometimes gloomy band had finished a song of West Coast sunshine. "You should drive a convertible in L.A., right? The top down -- that's the way I think of Hollywood, driving a rented convertible. That song is us with the top down."

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