The 13 tracks on We Were Born to Glory are not simply the first handful of tunes that Royal Wood penned since his last album. In fact, in the wake of The Waiting, his 2010 Juno-nominated release, the Toronto-based singer-songwriter wrote a total of 50 songs. He selected a quarter of them for this follow-up album—a confident, consistently accessible collection of pop songs that feel comfortably familiar.
Not a significant departure from Wood’s earlier work, We Were Born to Glory borrows sounds and ideas from both classic and contemporary pop, whether it’s the Gaga-gone-folk chorus of “I Want Your Love” or the Springsteen-worthy album title. Though the album is, for the most part, guitar- and piano-driven, some of the more remarkable moments happen when Wood abandons his troubadour image and experiments with drum loops and synths (i.e.,“I’ll Be Gone”).
Perhaps the only criticism that can be offered of the album, which never noticeably lags, is that it lacks a certain room to breathe. The production is masterful and the attention to detail is assiduous, but it feels somewhat inorganic as a whole. Nevertheless, it makes you wonder what kind of album We Were Born to Glory might have been had Wood chosen his 13 tracks differently: More adventurous? Less polished? Whatever the case, the very fact that you’re left wanting to hear the leftovers that didn’t make the cut is a testament to the quality of the ones that did.
Playlist picks: “The Fire Did Go,” “I’ll Be Gone”