Who titles an album Ode To J Smith? Who is J Smith? Do I care? Never trust a band that boasts of how they recorded their album in two weeks. Poor greying Franny Travis... this truly is the sound of his career ending. Third strike for a formerly great band. The band needs a fresh perspective on arrangements (see Keane and The Killers for how to do it right). That said, the following songs still have a bit of what made Travis so good back in 2001:
Download: Song To Self, Quite Free
NeYo Year Of The GentlemanBig disappointment, this record. It is loaded down with lugubrious ballads. He also tries to do these Michael Jackson epics, but lacks the voice to make the song become "transcendent." Sorry Chimere, there is no Man In The Mirror here. Closer is, of course, one of the best pop songs this year. So You Can Cry is great, except that it's an "A" song with a turgid "D" grade bridge. What's The Matter is fabulous 70's Elton balladry and totally unexpected.
Download: Closer, Single, So You Can Cry, What 's The Matter
Dig Out Your Ass would be a better title. While Q gives them the special issue treatment - as if they are U2 - Noel and Liam remind us that they still cannot pull out a decent album 13 years after the epic (What's The Story) Morning Glory. In the press, they still slam everyone, most tellingly Noel hating on Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys because he knows that Alex is brilliant. So transparent. Lyrically, embarrassing and gunked up with turgid 60's/70's ripoff arrangements, this album is just shit. There is one brilliant song that sounds nothing like Oasis (Falling Down) and 2 bearable tracks that fit okay into a mix filled with songs from their first two albums.
Download: Falling Down, The Turning, I'm Outta Here