Mack: Say Anything, just not in angerWritten by Jason Mack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Say Anything, “Anarchy, My Dear”
When the album strays away from prototypical punk rock, “Anarchy, My Dear” is original and engaging. This is on display with softer songs like “Night’s Song” and “So Good.” However, some songs, like “Admit It Again,” fall completely flat. Max Bemis’ voice is not built for singing angry, and the result is laughable. The band apparently has an ax to grind with posers with cheesy lyrics like, “Don’t wanna hear about how the latest Rihanna single is a post-modern masterpiece.”
On the flip side, the track, “The Stephen Hawking” is a highlight of Bemis’ lyrical creativity with lines like, “You’re Jesus growing fat off a warming girl. Moses making up the Commandments too.” The combination of clever lyrics, unique arrangements and Bemis’ distinct voice leads to more good than bad, but overall the album is average and inconsistent. It looks like Say Anything’s work will always be eclipsed by its 2004 release “… Is a Real Boy.”
**1/2 out of 5
Meat Loaf, “Hell in a Handbasket”
Meat Loaf’s theatrical vocals aren’t quite suited for the anger in this album, but he manages to pull it off. The guitar riffs and overall tone of “Hell in a Handbasket” are solid, but there are also some odd moments. On the track “Stand in the Storm,” Meat Loaf enlisted the help of his “Celebrity Apprentice” teammates Lil Jon, Mark McGrath and John Rich, along with Trace Adkins. The combination of rock, country, rap and rock opera is a classic case of too many cooks in the kitchen.
The album features rap on three other songs with guest appearances from Chuck D. It’s like Meat Loaf is trying to evolve beyond the days of “I’d Do Anything for Love” and develop some street cred, which is unlikely. Some of the odd moments pay off, like the decision to cover The Mamas & the Papas’ 1965 classic “California Dreamin’.” The song perfectly fits Meat Loaf’s vocals and is one of the highlights of the album.
*** out of 5
One Direction, “Up All Night”
One Direction is pandering from the start of the album, trying to be a pop success. “What Makes You Beautiful” is trying too hard to mimic the sound of bands like Neon Trees and the lyrics of Bruno Mars: “You don’t know you’re beautiful; that’s what makes you beautiful.”
It’s not surprising to see such a lack of originality from a boy band formed on a reality show. The five members failed to qualify as individuals on Britain’s “The X Factor.” The judges suggested they form a group, and they went on to finish third. They have undeniably good voices, but the album is nothing more than a forced clump of pop love songs that have all been done before.
*1/2 out of 5