Songs New and Old Collective Soul Members Want You to Know from Their Catalog

Upon bursting onto the airwaves with “Shine” in 1994, Collective Soul kicked off a lengthy run of commercially successful albums and a string of dozens of chart singles. One thing the post-grunge band from Georgia did not do over their first three decades was release a double album. They had intended to in the late 2010s, but ultimately released Blood (2019) and Vibrating (2022) as separate single albums.

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With their 2024 follow-up to Vibrating, Collective Soul is finally giving their fans a double album in the form of Here to Eternity. The length of the sprawling 20-track collection isn’t the only thing that’s unique about the band’s latest effort, which drops today (May 17). The quintet recorded Here to Eternity at Elvis Presley’s former estate in Palm Springs, California, becoming the first act to record there other than Presley himself.

Frontman Ed Roland also tells American Songwriter he “opened up” in his approach to songwriting on the album. Inspired by Mick Jagger’s freewheeling lyrics from The Rolling Stones’ “Miss You” (A case of wine? They’re not bringing a bottle, they’re bringing a case.) Roland brought more sides of himself to this album.

In interviews via video call just prior to the release of Here to Eternity, the Roland brothers, Ed and Dean (the band’s rhythm guitarist), and bassist Will Turpin each highlighted a track from the album that they think deserves some extra attention. For good measure, each of them also cited an older track that they feel more people should know about.

Ed Roland’s Recommendations

From Here to Eternity: “Be the One”

This was the last song Ed Roland wrote for Here to Eternity, and it’s just him on vocals and piano. Roland says it came together quickly, recalling “I wrote it at like 9 in the morning, demoed it at 10, the guys are coming in at 11. So when I played it, they looked at me, and my brother Dean was like, ‘I’m not playing on that.’… That’s the song, that’s how I should present it.” The spare arrangement works perfectly for this love song, and it’s a fitting change of pace that closes out the first of the two discs.

From the back catalog: “Him” from Youth (2004)

This track from the 2004 album Youth was “a proud moment” for Roland. The entire song consists of a two-chord riff, but a variety of different vocal melodies keeps the song fresh and interesting. Roland likened the song’s composition to that of their massive 1995 hit “December.” The smash from their self-titled album was not initially a hit with the rest of the band. Says Roland, “When I first presented it to the guys, they told me ‘that’s the most boring song we ever heard in our life.’” “December” caught on with the band and millions of listeners, but “Him” was never released as a single, so it didn’t receive the same exposure.

Dean Roland’s Recommendations

From Here to Eternity: “Bluer than so Blue”

Dean Roland calls the second track on Here to Eternity “a quintessential Collective Soul song” he thought should have been the lead single from the album. (It was released as the album’s second single, after “Mother’s Love.”) “Bluer than so Blue” has various elements, he says, are a “culmination of all the parts I feel like we do well … a rock riff with a nice, fun open melody that happens in the chorus.”

Listeners may notice that Ed Roland’s vocals on this track (and several others on Here to Eternity) sound an awful lot like David Bowie. When asked if this was an intentional tribute to the late icon, the Collective Soul vocalist—who happened to be sporting a David Bowie 1990 tour t-shirt—responded, “It’s subliminal, because he’s a hero of mine.”

From the back catalog: “Needs” from Dosage (1999)

This track was released as the third single from Dosage, but it was the only one of the five singles from the 1999 album that failed to chart in the U.S. Dean Roland says “Needs” is “probably one of my favorite songs the band has ever done.” He appreciates several of the song’s elements, from the string arrangement to the breakdown section just before the final buildup and “how it all comes back together in the end.” He also cites the “redemptive quality” of the reflective lyrics as part of what makes “Needs” a catalog highlight for him.

Even though the single did not catch on, Roland says that “Needs” is a “fan favorite.” He is not exactly sure why the song hasn’t resonated with a larger audience, saying, “You never know what connects on a bigger, broader scale.”

Will Turpin’s Recommendations

From Here to Eternity: “Matter of Fact”

Here to Eternity takes a few stylistic twists and turns, and “Matter of Fact” is one of them. Turpin says it’s a unique song for Collective Soul because “we were trying to swing for the first time.” He adds, “It’s a little Stray Cats, it’s a little Beatles, and it’s a little straight-up just walkin’ the bass and swingin’.” It may be a different sound for Collective Soul, but it turns out they can swing with the best of them.

From the back catalog: “Big Sky” from Blood (2019)

Turpin was enthusiastic in talking about this track from Blood, saying the song is “so my style.” He likes the smooth quality of the music, which leaves him “floating and flying high.” The vibe is a great match for the song’s message “about things being bigger than what we are as individuals here on Earth.” Turpin is a fan of the album in general, and he also names “Over Me” and “Them Blues” as standout tracks that more listeners should know about. He says the band “had a blast” making Blood and sharing a house on Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey, just across from Barber Shop Recording Studios, where they recorded the album.

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Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for IEBA

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