Sunday, June 22, 2008

Music Theory: Cute Break Out, Rip Off

-I'll probably get some shit for reviewing the new Cute Is What We Aim For album, but the shit will probably come probably from the same people who secretly rock out to Cute when no one is around. I've got nothing to hide, my music policy is simple; If it makes you feel like moving then it's all good.
-The band's new disc, Rotation, is in obvious tension between holding on to the great niche the first album carved out, and trying to grow a bit and aim more for a mainstream audience. The album drops Tuesday on Fueled by Ramen Records.
-What made the Cute's first album, The Same Old Blood Rush With a New Touch, great was that the songs bluntly told you what the guys were about - sex, girls, sex, and not giving a shit. The new album backs off a bit from the comical physical allusions of the first album, though the tracks Navigate and Time reminisce a bit.
-Overall though, the production value and structuring of songs has improved a great deal. The depth of production is aided by strings and synth parts that were absent on 'blood rush'. The song that stands out to me the most from this release is called Safe Ride. This song sounds the least like classic Cute and is the most mature track they've ever put out. This song could help them grab those on-the-fence pop-punk fans because it mitigates the uber-whineyness effectively.
-The single, "Practice Makes Perfect" is an microcosm of the whole album, same solid Cute poppy hooks, but with more attentive production and a broadening of themes. I think it has potential to blow up the TRL scene.
-If this was the first I'd heard form Cute Is What We Aim For, I'd think it a great effort. But the fact that every single track on the band's first album had a habit of sticking in your head for days hurts their second effort a bit. Overall grade-B.
-Sadly, the thing that may end up getting this album the most publicity is the fact that they seem to have ripped off some album art. Apparently, the band's management approached a firm called Alphabet Arm Design about doing the cover art, citing that they really liked the work Alphabet Arm had done for Counting Crows. According to the design firm, Cute's management eventually decided to get someone else to do the album art. And, well, you can see the result. Tsk Tsk.

-A little note, Alphabet Arm did some shirts for a band that was one of my all-time favorites, Mae. I loved Mae until their super shitty major label release, Singularity. Mae is a perfect example of how changing the long-crafted unique traits that make a band great to conform to mainstream trends can completely fuck your shit up.
-source: you thought we wouldn't notice via we don't buy your merch


Anonymous said...

the old ciwwaf album was with a new touch.. not a new twist. but this is a great review otherwise!!!

classact said...

oh duhhh ha im retarded, my bad. now corrected. thanks for the heads up.

Alphabet Arm Design said...

Thanks for helping to get the word out. We're talking to CIWWAF's management, and hopefully something positive will come out of this mess. Glad you like the MAE shirts too. We just put up a new shirt on our store. Check it.