Thursday, April 23, 2009
I've talked about supergroups before, in my CLASSIC ALBUMS REVISITED review of The Traveling Wilbury's second album. It was there that I said:
"Supergroup-defined (in the music world) as a group/band consisting of members whom are already famous. Most "supergroups" fall into one of two categories--awesome and lame. For every Blind Faith, CSNY, or Gorillaz...there are a dozen Damn Yankees or Bad Englishes out there, stinking up the joint."
Supergroups fall into one of two categories:
1. Holy-shit! All those guys are getting together...awesome
Tinted Windows fall into the second group. I guess it's Hanson's fault. Taylor Hanson (the middle Hanson, or so I've been told by my sister Amber, who has seen them 3 times) is the lead singer of Tinted Windows. Everyone else in the band has solid rock (or pop) credibility...but Taylor is the member that's the hardest sell. I can imagine James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins, A Perfect Circle) and Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) getting together. That one's not hard. But the middle kid from Hanson???
Then there's Bun E. Carlos who's the drummer form Cheap Trick.
Now I'm supposed to imagine a band where the members run the gambit from rock, Power-Pop, Hanson (which I'm told is it's own lame-ass sub-genre) BUT ALSO are from not one...not two...but three different GENERATIONS?!?
The story goes, the band wanted that "Bun E. Carlos-sound" for the drums, and decided "what the heck? Let's just ask Bun E. Carlos!" Carlos, who is still very much active in Cheap Trick (on tour this summer with Def Leppard AND with a new record in the works) said: "I'll do the songs for $100...$50 if I like the songs." Turns out he liked the songs...really liked them, because he officaially joined the band (even embarking on a mini-tour this summer when not on stage with Cheap Trick).
Now, I know I just slammed Hanson a bit...but I have to say--compared to a lot of the crap out during Hanson's "salad days," hell...compared to a lot of the crap out NOW--Hanson was/is not that bad of a band. They're definetly not for dudes like me, but I respect the fact that they played their own instruments and wrote their own songs. Compared to The Monkees, Hanson is The Beatles (Jesus, that was painful to write).
Anyway, the point is Taylor Hanson isn't a poser, he's the real deal and this band is awesome because it allows him to kind of branch away from that. TINTED WINDOWS is an amazing POWER-POP record that packs a punch. The songs are a little basic when it comes to lyrics, but the music is classic guitars+bass+drums--and NO CRAP.
Schlesinger's other band, Fountains of Wayne is famous for being super-catchy, and he brings those killer hooks to Tinted Windows. And like all good Power-Pop bands, Tinted Windows is all about the ladies. All the songs are about love and chicks. Nothing political, nothing dated--just the timeless thing of love and girls. This is why this album will no doubt join the pantheon of classic pop records someday.
This stuff isn't rocket science, and yes...you probalby could write one of these songs if you tried hard enough (the rhymes are sometimes painfully obvious in the lyrics). And yes, the music isn't over-the-top awesome (only a few solos on this one, despite having Iha (who is an interesting, brilliant guitar player) in the band. But these qualities are part of the throw-back quality of the band, and the album.
The lead single, "Kind of a Girl" had catchy, fun chorus. It's a light snack of a song, and it's an utter delight. I love the awesome stomping drums of "We Got Something." Another great track is "Without Love" which sounds like a long lost Cheap Trick track (I can almost hear Robin Zander singing this thing). But the song that I keep playing is "Dead Serious" which is so fucking catchy it's burrowed into my skull and is devouring my brain.
Do I feel lame for gushing about a band/album featuring the kid from Hanson? Yes.
Do I feel lame for gushing about a record that's so light? Yes, the last record I bought before this one was an Iron Maiden compilation! Why does this shit work so well, even for someone like me, who's been in a "metal mood" lately?
Because it's fun. Plain and simple.
I'm not sure how big this group will end up being, but they're pretty damn SUPER in my book.
Jason gives TINTED WINDOWS an A++ (and wonders why you haven't bought it yet!)
Two people that NEED THIS RECORD (and boy do they fall into two different demographics): my sister Amber and my Uncle David J. This thing will blow their minds...