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Archive for August, 2010

CD Review – Secondhand Serenade

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Hear Me Now

Secondhand Serenade. the brainchild of lead singer/songwriter/guitarist John Vesely, made waves a couple of years ago with their hit “Fall For You.” Now they are back with their whiny heart-on-sleeve pop which only forlorn teenage girls will be clamoring over. Dashboard Confessional had this market cornered, but since Chris Carraba hasn’t issued an album in several years, Vesely has filled the void with essentially the exact same thing, but not as good. His voice is still a high-pitched whine coupled with radio-friendly music that follows the verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus with hardly any variation.

I have to be honest, at least he’s putting himself out there lyrically when he emotes the title of the track “Is anybody out there?” About halfway through the album, though, his voice starts grating and the songs start sounding really similar and like he needs to grow a pair. At some point, you have to pick yourself up and be a man. By the end of the album, I was ready to reach through my iPod and punch him in the face and tell him to stop writing lines like “I’m waiting for you to call me/ Can’t you see I’m lonely?” (Cue the gagging.) In a nutshell, if you are a tweenage or teenage girl, this is perfect for you. For everybody else, don’t bother.

http://www.secondhandserenade.com

CD Review – Margaret Cho

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Cho Dependent

Self-Released

Margaret Cho is a comedian that elicits either love or hatred. For me, I like her very direct (and often vulgar) humor which is why I was so intrigued by her debut album of music. Not only is her humor a little more subtle, but the music is actually really good, thanks to a number of high-profile guests.

Andrew Bird guests on the laid-back, but biting “I’m Sorry,” while Tegan & Sara help Cho with her “Intervention.” The Raconteurs’ Brenden Benson makes “Baby I’m With the Band” a perfect mid-tempo alt-country track where Cho explains her exploits with each member of the band, including how she “didn’t forget the bass/ I sat on that guy’s face.”

“Your Dick” with Ben Lee is a fantastic three-and-a-half minute Motown-esque ballad masquerading as a dick joke with the highlight, “Your dick is my BFF/ When the world ends/ It’s the only one left/ I wish I could bronze it/ It’s cool like the Fonz/ I want to sit on it.”

And yes, there is a Fiona Apple sighting! The notoriously reclusive Apple lends her luscious alto voice to “Hey Big Dog.” The song isn’t great (even though it also features Ben Lee), but getting to hear Apple again is a wonderful treat.

Cho’s musical debut isn’t anything groundbreaking except for the amount of talented help she was able to enlist. Her singing voice isn’t great, but it’s not terrible. Without the special guests, this would be largely forgettable. But Cho’s biting (and sometimes scathing) humor combined with the music, makes this better than it should be.

http://www.margaretcho.com