25 August 2006

is it the end of the line?

all i ever wanted : train
click here or on the image below to listen
mississippi : train
click here or on the image below to listen

Pat Monahan is one of my favorite male voices in rock. I think his voice has a rare combination of passion, power and distinctiveness, with a sharpness that cuts through jaded ears – as rousing, brooding or numb as he wants it to be. And edgy as it is, his voice is best suited for materials of a similar nature, which is why I find it difficult to like Train's latest album, For Me, It's You. The band has been accused of being faceless and middle of the road, and I can understand that given the lack of consistency in every album they've released so far. Monahan seems comfortable straddling the border between radio-friendly rock and rock that just doesn't give a damn. He's better at the latter when he writes songs so personal, even cryptic, that they're almost mystifying, not just in words (songwriting is not actually Monahan's best suit) but also in melody. Mississippi, from Train's second album Drops of Jupiter, is a midnight musing over an unattainable relationship, aptly laid with an aching opening bass line and slow, rippling guitar. In All I Ever Wanted – and, in fact, the entire new album – Monahan sides with the universal as opposed to the intimate, resulting in some of the most mediocre lyrics he has ever written. Take this from Cab, the album's first single: New York snow this time of year/There’s nothing more beautiful to me/Except for you. Wow. Deep. That said, I like the arrangement of All I Ever Wanted, especially the diversity of its melody and how Monahan flirts with the falsetto which he hardly uses. This song must kick ass live.

1 comment:

  1. mississipi is love. just finished downloading the mp3. sorry about your bag.