Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Music Theory: Rookie's Sophomore Slump

-I don't know why, but every time I really love an album, the band's next album disappoints me greatly. I'm not hating Rookie of the Year's new disc (out today) Sweet Attention as much as when I first listened to it a few days ago, but the drop in quality still hurts. I'd like to say it's only because I loved the group's first album, The Goodnight Moon, so much that nothing could satisfy my needs, but it's more than that. The new album attempts to mold itself more towards the MTV crowd, which I can't diss because that's generally the goal of any up and coming band, it's just that the elements they chose to drop and to emphasize from the sound of there first album are backwards. Read the rest of the (kind of long) post after the jump.

-What made the first rookie disc so great was that they didn't seem to care about the conventions even within their own genre: The bridges were long, deep layered compositions. The intro and 7 minute final track on The Goodnight Moon were the best songs. But the heart of the whole album was that even the poppiest track on the disc, "Pop Destroyed the Scene", had the depth and attention to production detail of the longer tracks.

-So what's wrong with the new album? Whereas on the first disc there was one poppy track amidst a deluge of sweeping layered falsetto, Sweet Attention is one after another forced wannabe pop anthems. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is if it's such a divergent path from what you've already established as your sound. With a quickening of pace, singer Ryan Dunson - who's forte is near-falsetto soft spoken, is forced to drop his tone, rendering him unsuccessful as a pop-punk lyricist. And then there are the out of nowhere, unneeded vocal effects on a couple songs that just make me as "what the fuck?" The last two songs are slower more classic rookie songs, but their pace seems even more forced than the pop. It's like their thought process was "People who like the first album are going to expect songs like this," but they didn't really feel inspired to write those songs.
-Not all of what I have to say is negative, however. Three songs in there is a nice trio of well balanced, acoustic pop-jams - "Summer," "What is Love," and "Sooner or Later" are tracks I would enjoy if this album was my introduction to rookie. But a line from the album's worst song "Vampire Vegas" sums of the disappointment I feel after 2 years of waiting for a new rookie album - "Oh, I'm tired of waiting. Yeah, give me a sign. I, want to fall in love like the first time."
-But still, this is of my favorite bands and The Goodnight Moon remains one of my all-time favorite albums, but overall I give Sweet Attention a C+.

No comments: