(2010) The America EP
Release date 3 August 2010
|Artist Ryan Star|
Label Atlantic Records
|Released August 3, 2010 (2010-08-03)|
Recorded 2006–2010 Calabasas, California
Length 36:29 59:57 (iTunes Deluxe Edition)
Genres Alternative rock, Post-grunge
Producers Matt Serletic, Howard Benson
Alternative rock albums Smoke & Mirrors, This Loud Morning, Scars & Stories, No Sound Without Silence, Out of the Wasteland
11:59 is the second studio album by American Rock singer-songwriter Ryan Star. The album debuted at #31 on the Billboard 200 after selling nearly 11,600 copies on its first week, making his highest chart debut on Billboard 200.
"I was writing in my journal I always carry. It’s a funny thing because that journal entry has kind of grown into a life of its own because people don’t know if I was writing a play, story, script, or a movie scene, but it was real. It was mostly truly inspiring. It was one of those trippy moments. People were screaming and it was getting crazy, and in that moment I thought I was going to name it "11:59". That’s where the inspiration came." -Ryan Star
"I was living on the beach making this album and had some real big exposure from a television show and started creating these new songs. I started realizing what I thought went wrong, not with what went wrong with my career with my band Stage, but what went wrong with the way I lived with my band Stage. We were best friends since we were kids, we were touring around the country, had a record come out, we should have really been enjoying every second of it, because whatever at the end of the day happened, happened and we couldn’t change it. I feel like looking back if I could talk to myself then I would have said, “Man, just enjoy it! This is a great time! Think about what you’re doing and who you’re with.” Really, just smile every day which I didn’t. I think that affected me and I figured regardless what happens now, I’m going to enjoy the process. That is powerful, I think. That’s empowered me a great deal to get through a lot of days and enjoy the moment, enjoy the process, because the process is life. Life isn’t the summary at the end of the story. Life is actually turning the pages. So 11:59 is basically just enjoying the journey. Just know who you are and where you are right now. If you want to be something, be it right now, don’t say it’s coming, just be it today." -Ryan Star
"Losing Your Memory", "We Might Fall" and "So Ordinary" are re-worked songs which were originally included in his 2005 independent release "Songs from the Eye of an Elephant". The re-worked song "So Ordinary" has added backing vocals of Juliana Hatfield, but eventually it didn't make the cut.
"There’s something about them. Songs from the Eye of an Elephant was just a stream of consciousness record, so there’s a lot of unfinished work there. “Losing Your Memory” and “We Might Fall” for me were ones I wanted to attack right now because I always had a dream of them sounding a certain way. I didn’t know exactly what that was, but now that I’ve heard them this way I’m so happy and gratified. They’re just beautiful, beautiful pieces on the album and I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own. They’re good examples of the collaboration involved with making this music. They wouldn’t have happened with just me. These are real collaborative song productions that I’m just so floored by." -Ryan Star
Losing Your Memory
In past interviews Star said the song “Losing Your Memory” was inspired by the 2004 film release Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but in recent interviews Star have said the song has taken on new meaning.
"It wasn’t so much about the film. I use movies to inspire ideas, colours, and emotions. I call myself a lazy filmmaker sometimes because I write three minute songs and not two and a half hour movies. So it was inspired, I sat with a pen and paper and wrote the words. But I was getting tired and exhausted emotionally, so I was determined to write a song not so much about me. I wanted to do something a little more secular. And then, sure enough, when I finished writing that song, I looked at the lyrics, and it felt like I was looking in a mirror. It was so real to my life and evident that it was from my heart and soul. It’s very in-tune with the cover artwork of 11:59, actually." -Ryan Star
Start a Fire
The song was added to the album three weeks before the album was released.
"It’s kind of like the miracle song. It’s last minute, the record is being pressed. I mean, we’re talking about an album that has been in the works for four years. Then last minute it’s being pressed and basically we stopped the pressing. It was like, “Stop the press! We wanna put this song on it!” It just felt important to me because from one angle it was fresh and so many things were happening. I’m a believer when the world gives you little miracles, you gotta accept them and you can’t turn them down. So it was the little things like having the time to write it – staying up two nights in a row, not sleeping, doing a demo for it. Then finding out I could get to L.A. to finish it. All these things kept saying that I needed to get this song recorded and it just made the cut off. So because of the fact I was even able to get it done, it became my mission to get the song on the album."
"That being said, it’s so fun to have something fresh on the record that I haven’t heard in the last few years. It really infused a breath of fresh air into the album. It’s an exciting song. It’s unlike any other tune I’ve ever done and definitely not like any of the songs on 11:59. I think it’s important that it’s there because if 11:59 is the blueprint for the rest of my career and the albums I’ll ever make, I think it’s good that we have a touch of each thing. You have me on the piano alone and then you have this rock kind of pop song, so I’m really excited because to me it made the album more complete." -Ryan Star
"Somebody’s Son" and "Orphans" these two songs were taken off from the album, but they will be included in his forthcoming release "America EP"
"The song was cut simply because we had too many songs. I recorded 17 songs for this record and counting the iTunes deluxe version there will be 13 released all together. To be honest, two of my favorite songs didn’t make the album. One was called “Orphans”, I couldn’t keep one on without the other. I knew they both couldn’t make it. The original idea was that “Orphans” was going to start off the album. But at this point I realized I needed to keep them together. Now I have a vision of releasing an E.P. called America." -Ryan Star
All tracks produced by Matt Serletic, except for "Breathe" and "Start a Fire" produced by Howard Benson.
An exclusive deluxe iTunes version of the album includes additional three bonus tracks, three music videos, and a digital booklet.
The album has received generally favorable reviews from music critics.
Billboard states that "the singer's voice throughout the set has a rocker-gruff quality that often stretches into melodic overtones as displayed on the track "This Could Be The Year"." Star is also complimented on "Losing Your Memory", for giving "an impressive delivery on the emotional track, belting about the loss of his place in loved one's heart." (favorable)
Jon Regen for Keyboard Magazine notes how "Star surrounds himself with a cast of keyboard killers including Serletic, Kim Bullard, and Patrick Warren, who bathe his soaring pop choruses in an ever-evolving sonic glow". (favorable)
Melodic.net gave the album 4 stars (out of five), and said: "It is a fitting end to one of the most complete albums of the year thus far. Ryan Star deserves a chance. This might just be his."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic gave the album 3 stars (out of five), "11:59 is the kind of slick, splashy debut designed to launch a career that has no ties to television. Thing of it is, it’s so cleanly commercial that it could use an outside boost, something to lend this collection of atmospheric anthems, passionate pleading, manicured rocking, and snappy AAA pop a bit of a defining personality."
Tunelab gave the album 8.5 stars out of 10, "Every instrumental on "11:59" is great, and every bit of vocal passion that emerges from Star is fantastic. The man sings as though he really feels what he is singing and he has the range to back it up. Despite only ten tracks being present on the album, each is memorable and unique to the rest of the set. The biggest faults the album has are minor. It is awfully short, especially considering how long it took to release, and the album doesn’t really have much of a flow. Each track is so different than the others, it feels more like a mixtape than an album, though a very good mixtape."
Some of music critics gave the album very negative reviews.
Rolling Stone gave the album 2 stars (out of five), "Ryan Star returns with a much-delayed major-label debut album filled with second-rate pop rock and a formula he beats senseless: He takes his brooding rasp from a muttered whisper to an overwrought rock howl about nine times too many."
The album debuted at #31 on the Billboard 200 and #10 on Billboard Rock Albums chart, and made it to #4 on Billboard Tastemaker Albums chart, with 11,599 copies sold on its first week of release.
Uses in media
1Brand New Day3:14
3Last Train Home4:14