Listening to Justin Posey's new album, "Parachutes," is kind of like eavesdropping on his prayers and sneaking a peek at his journal.
It's a personal record, whether it's about his relationship with a girl or with God, but it's also colored with Posey's signature wide-eyed optimism.
It's like the Saltillo songwriter combined his sunny "Seasonal" EP and his mature "Bending Love" debut album and made "Parachutes." There's nothing wrong with that; in fact, "Parachutes" is everything that makes Posey's music worth listening to.
He matches his insanely catchy, cheerful pop tunes with serious, steady songs that take a long look at relationships. "Parachutes" is actually a two-part album, in a way: the first half is pure pop, while the second half is more serious and contemplative. There's no whiplash in going from one to the other, as Posey creates a fine balancing act.
The star song of the first set is "Make You Mine," a song that rivals puppies and kittens in cuteness factor. It has adorable lyrics and an infectious melody, and the classic Posey claps and cheers make it impossible to resist.
The second half of the album seems to answer "Make You Mine" with "Strange." It's just as hopeful as "Make You Mine," but "Strange" is from someone who's spent some time on the battlefield of love. It's an interesting twist.
His worries and wonders are laid out in the beautiful "Scars," one of the best tracks on the album.
The record closes with the graceful love song, "Forever." It's a timeless, gorgeous song.
"Parachutes" is different from Posey's previous albums in that there's more than just him and his guitar. He's got a full band backing him, and it suits him well. Posey's songwriting is strong enough that his songs have room to breathe with little instrumentation, or can sound full and fun with a band.
A good example of this is his re-recording of "Space Shuttle," which appeared as an acoustic track on his "Seasonal" EP. On "Parachutes," "Space Shuttle" has a little more to grab on to, making the song's child-like love sound a little more grown-up.
Kudos to Bobby Hudspeth and Cody Hickman at House Creative, who recorded and produced the record. It sounds terrific.
"Parachutes" is an earnest record. There are catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics – those are on every Justin Posey album – but never has he been this open. That's what makes "Parachutes" his best work to date.
Justin Posey is hosting a CD release party at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cafe 212. It's a free show, and Drew Gatlin and Cory Taylor Cox are opening.
"Parachutes" is $10 and is also available at iTunes.
"Parachutes" is the June album for Album Club. Posey will perform and talk about the making of the record. The meeting will be 6 p.m. June 16 at the Link Centre. It's free.