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FM Static - Dear Diary Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.75
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 6
Production 8.5
Creativity 5.5
Lasting Value 7
Reviewer Tilt 8
Final Verdict: 73%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.25
Musicianship 8.79
Lyrics 8.42
Production 8.88
Creativity 7.67
Lasting Value 8.21
Reviewer Tilt 8.58
Average: 85%
Inside AP.net

FM Static - Dear Diary

Reviewed by: Jeremy Aaron (04/22/09)
FM Static - Dear Diary
Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Release Date: April 7, 2009

Who?

FM Static is the other project of Trevor McNevan and Steve Augustine, frontman and drummer, respectively, of Tooth & Nail band Thousand Foot Krutch. Dear Diary is their third full-length, following 2003's What Are You Waiting For? and 2006's Critically Ashamed.

How Is It?

FM Static is a fitting name for a band whose music is so centered around radio ready hooks, much like Thousand Foot Krutch. Either band's music would have sounded very at home on modern rock radio ten or twelve years ago, with Thousand Foot Krutch covering the harder-edged post-grunge and nu-metal and FM Static staying more in the realm of pop-rock and pop-punk. Put both bands' discographies in a CD changer and set it to shuffle, and the mix you'd hear is pretty much what rock radio sounded like a decade ago. That's no great compliment, to be sure, but I take a certain pleasure in this type of pop songcraft, which is mostly cheesy, totally derivative, and always catchy.

From an artistic standpoint, Dear Diary is no great achievement-- it sounds pretty much just like FM Static's two prior albums, which in turn sound exactly like that radio DJs were spinning in 1997. McNevan seems to draw from few influences other than radio and MTV, as his lyrics throughout all the band's albums namedrop a veritable Who's Who of stars whose days have come and gone and many of whose claims to fame were questionable to begin with. It seems like a bit of a contradiction that the music's lyrical focus is high school, yet a good portion of the album's pop-culture references will likely be lost on anyone actually still in high school.

Musically, the album is both appealing and frustrating, because the songs are ably performed and the production is squeaky clean, but everything sounds so uncannily familiar. The hooks and riffs are ultimately rewrites of songs you've heard over and over again before, and while this is disquieting to my critical mind, I find it impossible not to tap my foot or drum my fingers along with these songs. Any one of these tunes could have been a hit single years ago, but time has pretty much passed this style by.

Despite the strikes against it, I'd classify Dear Diary as a guilty pleasure, not because I can sympathize with FM Static, but because I can at least recognize what they are, or at least what they seem to be. Like the star high school quarterback who led his team to the state championship only to stay in town and take a job at the hardware store, FM Static don't seem to have had anything happen in their lives worth writing about since graduation. Listening to this album is kind of like driving by a field and seeing said former star tossing a ball around with some buddies-- you might feel a little bit sorry for him, knowing he'll probably never capture that kind of magic again, or perhaps a bit nostalgic because you, too, remember those days like they just happened. One emotion I can't conjure is disdain-- unlike the easily-hated trend-hoppers, FM Static are making music that's decidedly uncool because it's what's closest to their hearts. While I'm the last person to advocate living in the past, I do appreciate the occasional time warp, and for me, that's what Dear Diary represents.

Recommended If You LikeSugarcult's Start Static
Sum 41's Underclass Hero
In Stereo's Return to Alternative
Eve 6's Eve 6
Quietdrive's When All That's Left Is You


Check out FM Static on Myspace.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 18
03:03 PM on 04/22/09
#2
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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Quote:
Like the star high school quarterback who led his team to the state championship only to stay in town and take a job at the hardware store, FM Static don't seem to have had anything happen in their lives worth writing about since graduation.

Perfect line! That's pretty much the band's biggest handicap: these guys are nearly 30 and don't write songs for people their own age. I feel like FM Static aims everything they do to a younger teenage crowd. I wish they would grow up -- they hint at it early on with this album, then just stop.

Either way, good work J-Bone!
06:42 PM on 04/22/09
#3
ndmill
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Word sounds like it'll be a fun summer album. All I expect from FM Static is for it to be fun and catchy, even if it's a little stale.
09:29 PM on 04/22/09
#4
briXinRhands
>>----------;;----l>
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love the last paragraph of the review, it sums up this band perfectly.
01:15 AM on 04/23/09
#5
Broden Terry
I'm glad I built myself an igloo
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I still need to check out this record. I really enjoyed the review.
08:22 AM on 04/23/09
#6
Gin
What'd those animals say to ya?
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A really solid summer-record.
Nothing special, but entertaining every now and then.
good review!
08:31 AM on 04/23/09
#7
ThaRealNC
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Their first CD, What Are You Waiting For?, is one of my all time favorite pop-punk records. I don't feel like their last album or this one elevate them back to that for me, but it's definitely fun to listen to on a sunny day.

Also, not sure if anyone had heard, but this album debuted in the Billboard 200 last week. No small feat for a side project on an indie label.
08:32 AM on 04/23/09
#8
trappedintime
Yea, you were right about me
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I hate this review. It barely said anything about the actual album. It was the same thing over and over. "Sounds like music from 10 years ago, sounds like a hit from a decade ago, blah blah", we get it. I haven't even listened to this record and just from this it makes me no want to. But regardless, I will since I still have a lot of hope for FM Static.
08:54 AM on 04/23/09
#9
combatchuckaa
blammo!
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I hate this review. It barely said anything about the actual album. It was the same thing over and over. "Sounds like music from 10 years ago, sounds like a hit from a decade ago, blah blah", we get it. I haven't even listened to this record and just from this it makes me no want to. But regardless, I will since I still have a lot of hope for FM Static.

I have to agree. It didn't say a lot about individual songs/highlights/lows. It was a good review but would have been better with a few more details.
09:13 AM on 04/23/09
S9Dallasoz
Knows the words to 'Bye Bye Bye'
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Big step up from "Critically Ashamed", still think these guys coulda been huge back in '04 if the track "Definitely Maybe" would have been released mainstream.
09:47 AM on 04/23/09
batmannj
"No more half measures Walt"
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I really enjoy this album because of its sugary chessy ness. Nothing innovative or special, but its fun and passionate.
10:23 AM on 04/23/09
Jeremy Aaron
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I have to agree. It didn't say a lot about individual songs/highlights/lows. It was a good review but would have been better with a few more details.
I typically provide details on many of an album's songs and frequently on all the songs. This album didn't lend itself well to that, as I'd find myself saying the same things about each song. They are all catchy and none of them is the least bit interesting musically. It's still a fun listen, though. There really weren't any high points or low points-- if you're into catchy pop-rock, it was all merely pretty good. If anyone thought this review was kind of like beating on a dead horse, it could have gotten a lot worse if I did a song-by-song run-down, and I didn't feel this album really deserved that, so I described it summarily.
11:45 AM on 04/23/09
roisterboy
roisterboy
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The review could have at least mentioned the song "The Unavoidable Battle of Feeling On The Outside," is a complete rip off of New Found Glory's "My Friends Over You."
12:46 PM on 04/23/09
DandonTRJ
~~~ヾ(^∇^
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Haha, not surprised. I got this exact vibe with their first album and wrote the project off then and there. Still haven't given up on TFK, though their last album has me worried for what's in store...

Oh well. Good review, Jeremy. Last paragraph nailed it. At least we'll always have Phenomenon.
01:42 PM on 04/23/09
Ryzenfall
makin' good time
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Good review. That last paragraph again was pretty spot on.
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