In a sense, Sarantos is as much a realist as he is a romantic; his best songs are about fearing the worst, hoping for the best, and getting lucky sometimes. His best songs are also about three or four minutes long and loaded with licks and melodies befitting of a great singer-songwriter reared on the musical legends of our time. All of those influences coalesce on “Why Ask Why”, a tight, spirited rock track. Purely as sound, this track unquestionably succeeds; though AOR is basically a primary color of modern pop at this point, Sarantos’ vocals and lyrical tics are so well established that any genre bends to his will. Above all else, “Why Ask Why” is a showcase for his vocals, and they’re uniformly excellent throughout. He shows a great deal of range without reverting to any predilections for smarmy play-acting.
The production is lush and immaculate, and you can hear every bit of space between Sarantos and the other musicians, as well as the always tasteful guitar work. But you can also hear that there are some very expensive microphones: it’s a warm recording, but one that has a glossy coating.
Sarantos has used several of his recordings in the past to stake out new stylistic territory the way other bands switch wardrobes. Now with “Why Ask Why” he goes back to basics, or rather back to his fusion of 80’s and modern rock – the thing that he probably does better than anything else. And it’s a winning formula for him.
But aside from all the stylistic changes, one common thread always runs through Sarantos’ music – the thought provoking lyrics. So once again he turns to existential problems, and his question this time around is “Why Ask Why”: “I keep trying to figure out my life. I’m always asking and wondering why. Why do bad things keep happening to me? Eventually I do what I love and music helps turn the tide. I meet the love of my life and like a fairy tale ending, all ends well. But life isn’t always like that, not even in the movies anymore, is it? The hidden message in the lyrics is about hope and never stopping,” says Sarantos. “Never give up on life or yourself because your luck can change at any moment, even when you least expect it. If you believe in yourself, eventually someone else will too and when you least expect it, your life can change in a heartbeat! But is it really luck or just perseverance?”
There are two versions of Sarantos out there in the world jostling for your attention. There’s the singer-songwriter who plays it straight and, on some level, tries to appeal to a mainstream audience that still buys records. And then there’s the unreformed chameleonic artist who impulsively changes styles and genres at will.
However in both of these, there is Sarantos, the generous person, who is always tending an eye towards needy charities. This time around Sarantos and fans chose the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation, that offer support services for children with cancer from the moment of diagnosis extending through treatment and beyond.