Triumphant Hearts | Jason Becker
Updated: Nov 4
Once in a while, I’ll talk about love. Not often. But it happens. And it’s not the kind of love that people often hear or think of. It’s a different approach, and one I can only find in music. Rarely. Just look out over the upper deck in Amoeba Records at the vast ocean of music, and I will tell you there’s only 20% of the kind of love I’m talking about in that building. You’ll know it when you hear it. When it’ll tingle your senses and send a rush of blood through your body.
That’s Triumphant Hearts.
There are thematic proliferations that happen as the Triumphant Hearts progresses. A theme of mortality develops, which is heard in one of my favorite tracks on the album, “Hold on to Love”, which I fully understand and hope that this is the single that resonates within the rock n’ roll–if not the entire music–community. Time ticks by. The gap closes. Yet every moment we spend here, we do it out of love. We do it to experience the beauty of this life–no matter the hand that’s been dealt to you. We learn to cope. We learn to move forward and use our talents in any way possible.
Enter Jason Becker. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: Jason Becker is Beethoven for the 21st Century. Listen to how he composes each song. Each delicate note has purpose. Every instrument ebbs and flows throughout each piece. Each guitar lick enriches the depths of each intricate movement. It makes sense that this isn’t a rock album. It’s a classical album. One I hope that will be around long after I’m gone.
“Fantasy Weaver”, “Once Upon a Melody”, and “Triumphant Heart” are good examples that represent how Jason’s diverged away from his days of classical metal. Remember, “wave goodbye to yesterday.” The man may not have his fingers, but he’s got that rapid-fire brain that instantly propels you forward into any song. Triumphant Hearts stays prolific and gives back to his fans in any way he can. There’s a bit of everything here. You can get a taste of his Van Halen days in “Taking Me Back”. “Hold on to Love” throws us back into an ‘80s contemporary ballad. “Magic Woman” goes full Renaissance and lulls us into a gentle lust with its use of multiple genres and beat structure. The producers did a wonderful job of mixing tracks for each of these songs.
If you listen to this album for any reason at all, play it out of respect for the music. Combine that love with the efforts of folks like Steve Vai, Marty Friedman, Richie Kotzen, Joe Satriani, and Guthrie Govan, you will see that Jason has hit his stride with the culmination of years of hard work that has led this ultimate payoff. The album is a love letter to the best parts of life–those parts that come after we’ve waded through pain and ventured through rough times. They’re glimmers of hope and wonderment. A small sliver of happiness shines through, and those are the moments that make us truly appreciate every sunrise and sunset. Listen to “River of Longing” (both parts). Get lost in it. Remember the brain who composed each song. Learn the incredibility of each musician’s talent. Replay. Rinse. Repeat. Do it for the entire record.
His album has been a long time coming, and the anticipation of the wait has been worth it. Listen, just listen to how rich each instrument sounds and what it brings to the table. I was–still am–in a stupor with how eloquently didactic the deeper meanings of Triumphant Hearts brings. Maybe I’m looking too far into it, but I can’t help see my own story being interwoven into the music. This is what music is. What music is supposed to be. What music represents.
I’ve known Jason now for a couple of years, and he has inspired me to keep going. To be free to be who you want to be. To learn the instruments. To teach the poetics. To push past the shitty parts of life, and to enjoy the good parts, and to embrace what has yet to come. Don’t dwell on the past, it does nothing for nobody. And to be kind.
I think Jason teaches that to us all through his music. Life is hard enough as it is, be kind and listen to the music. With the kinder we become, we have the potential to become empathic by choice. Empathy is what motivates us to be stronger.
I wish I could meet Jason and everyone involved in making this. Especially his parents and family, who through so much love and kindness have allowed their son to continue to flourish with what he does best. They are the stars here. The heroes of this love story. Thank you for doing what you do to keep his love alive. This album has been quite an emotional ride, and I am always thankful for such a feat. This is my love letter to music, and I appreciate that Jason Becker is the man I get to write it to.
“This flesh has much more to say.” I think I can speak for us all that we are all listening.