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Boys Like Girls - Love Drunk Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 7
Lyrics 5.5
Production 9
Creativity 5
Lasting Value 6.75
Reviewer Tilt 5
Final Verdict: 67%
Member Ratings
Vocals 4.95
Musicianship 4.16
Lyrics 3.6
Production 4.61
Creativity 3.15
Lasting Value 3.58
Reviewer Tilt 4.36
Average: 41%
Inside AP.net

Boys Like Girls - Love Drunk

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (09/01/09)
Boys Like Girls - Love Drunk
Record Label: Columbia/Red Ink
Release Date: Sept. 8, 2009


For the better part of the last four years, it has been utterly impossible to escape the runaway single "The Great Escape," from Boston power-poppers Boys Like Girls (BLG). The song's feel-good chorus and soaring vocals were undeniably convincing and that track, along with lead single "Hero/Heroine," and yearning ballad "Thunder," thrust the quartet into the national spotlight. Now they're back with sophomore album Love Drunk.

The disc begins with the electro-inspired effort "Heart Heart Heartbreak," which features muscle-tight guitar tones, crystalline vocals, a sizzling snare and air-tight production. It also sounds eerily reminiscent of Slippery When Wet-era Bon Jovi, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just makes it less original. Title track and lead single, "Love Drunk," follows and opens with a chiming guitar line, blistering drums and a wall of na-na-na's. The exhilarating opening wastes no time and dives right into the chorus, "I used to be love drunk, but now I'm hung over." The song's shining moment is in the last 30 seconds, as a gorgeous key change and rousing final chorus kickstart this song to Billboard heaven.

The contrived and uninspiring should-be second single "She's Got a Boyfriend Now," spins a tale about the one that got away, and aside from a supremely catchy chorus, there's nothing substantial about the song at all. Johnson settles things down on the acoustic "Two is Better Than One," a string-backed ballad about a broken relationship that's rousing, reflective and passionate. Pop-country superstar Taylor Swift lends her vocal talents on the chorus, but her contributions aren't as promising as one would expect. Regardless, of the album's first half, no song is stronger than this one. Fifth track "Contagious" has monster single written all over it and the undeniably catchy chorus is certainly hard to resist, but Lord have mercy is the song's structure and format wholly unoriginal. The album dips even lower on "Real Thing," a song heavily indebted to 80s darlings Duran Duran, that works well if that's its purpose, but flops altogether if it is indeed going for something different.

Johnson returns to playing the pensive, heart-on-the-sleeve crooner with the soaring, arena ballad "Someone Like You," a touching lament to the prospect of newfound love. The song's structure and movement reflects the sort of maturity one would expect from a sophomore album, and aside from "Two is Better Than One," this is the first time BLG has displayed any profound sense of deep maturation, and even that term is a bit of a stretch. The kitschy, uncomplicated, boon "Shot Heard Round The World," follows and Lord love a duck it is painful. Boring, predictable and wholly analogous to the album's five other sugar-coated rockers, "Shot Heard Round the World," is the sound of a band being lazy and not testing their creative boundaries.

After the mildly appealing "The First One," Love Drunk ends with two of its best tracks: "Chemicals Collide," and "Go." The former is a hard-charging, top-down, fist-pumping fireball that explodes out of the gate with energy, charisma and confidence. Though "Heart Heart Heartbreak," is a solid opening track, the album probably could have used "Chemicals Collide," as its opener, as it has an authentic flair and zest that much of the album sorely lacks. Predictably, the disc ends with "Go," a touching ballad that oozes with sincerity, steam and saturnalia.

By the album's conclusion it's utterly obvious that Boys Like Girls know how to write a pop-hook. But that's nothing we didn't already know. That being said, eight of eleven Love Drunk's songs are sealed with danceable beats, hummable melodies and a bevy of gearshifts, dropouts and chorus chants. Additionally, Johnson is a surefire vocal talent, and knows how to throw his voice around a verse and a chorus. He dips his tenor into falsetto more than a couple times and the results are worthy of libations. The disc's main problem though is that its uber-glossy production and enormous wall of sound suffocate its intentions, often times strangling the emotion and passion that seemed to teem from their gold-selling debut. There's a good chance that these songs when melted down to their brittle, acoustic base are probably more engaging, more earnest and more welcoming. Instead though, the disc is eleven commercially viable tracks that scream radio airplay and Disney channel specials. But is this really what the radio needs right now?

It seems unconscionable that Martin Johnson can sit back in his Boston futon and smile at this body of work. Is this really what his few years in the business has created? These are trite, unconvincing, generic rock songs, tailor-made for Hannah Montana-loving tweens and pre-pubescents. There is little merit or integrity here. Moreover, Johnson's fleeting glimpses of lyrical acumen seem to have dissipated in the time in between albums, making for some of the most unoriginal lyrics since N'Sync's No Strings Attached. And yet, despite all this, it seems almost assured that these sugary, processed slices of radio-rock are going to find their way on the charts and remain there for days to come. Which poses the quintessential question, in an era of digital downloads and pay-what-you-want schemes, can radio-rock be taken seriously anymore? Is Love Drunk what high school freshmen in their parent's basements are trying to ascend to? Is this utterly uneventful album the future of music? Perhaps it's best these questions remain unanswered. After all, Willy Wonka once said, "We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of the dream."

Track Listing 1. Heart Heart Heartbreak
2. Love Drunk
3. She's Got a Boyfriend Now
4. Two Is Better Than One
5. Contagious
6. Real Thing
7. Someone Like You
8. The Shot Heard Round the World
9. The First One
10. Chemicals Collide
11. Go


Boys Like Girls is Martin Johnson (vocals, rhythm guitars)
John Keefe (drums)
Bryan Donahue (bass, backup vocals)
Paul DiGiovanni (lead guitar, backup vocals)


Recommended If You Like My Favorite Highway, All-American Rejects, We The Kings, The White Tie Affair


Find Them Here Myspace
Website
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 124.
10:53 AM on 09/01/09
#2
Max_123
@HeyMaxSup
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really disappointed with this CD. S/T was so much better
10:57 AM on 09/01/09
#3
xName Takenx
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just can't get into it. A lot of people on this site are praising it, but I just don't think it sounds good at all......
10:58 AM on 09/01/09
#4
John JD Dorian
walks amongst us, not one of us
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really disappointed with this CD. S/T was so much better
if i thought the S/T was really cheesy, should i even bother with this?
10:59 AM on 09/01/09
#5
Spenny
Hearts without chains.
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I prefer the S/T album too.
10:59 AM on 09/01/09
#6
Supernovacaine
givin'er
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Wowzers this was a splendid review! After hearing "Love Drunk" on the radio almost to the point of insanity, I think I'll check out the rest of this album.
11:02 AM on 09/01/09
#7
SingleDoubt
Strangers on this road we are on...
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Quote:
It seems unconscionable that Martin Johnson can sit back in his Boston futon and smile at this body of work. Is this really what his few years in the business has created? These are trite, unconvincing, generic rock songs, tailor-made for Hannah Montana-loving tweens and pre-pubescents.

i've been on my soapbox a million times on this site ranting about this band, and i called this from the very beginning. i knew martin in high school and i heard straight from the horse's mouth that this band was created by marketing execs. i called shenanigans on them and predicted this exact thing happening - the band would put out their first record, they'd act like they're so "part of the scene," and then as soon as they exploded, they'd ditch that image in a heartbeat. this band makes moves like clockwork.
11:04 AM on 09/01/09
#8
AaronBell
Aaron Bell
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this cd is so cliche' to any pop-punk formula... i'm sorry... i just expected more from the dudes.
11:08 AM on 09/01/09
#9
Phil507
Cynical and sarcastic dick
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I don't know. I'm not the biggest fan of BLG (or the genre in general) but this album sounds like what a band doing this type of thing SHOULD sound like. First album was short on hooks (NOTE TO AP.NET READERS: repeating a chorus ad nausea does not equal HOOKS). This one sounds like they at least got that part right.
11:09 AM on 09/01/09
trappedintime
Yea, you were right about me
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Nice use of a Willy Wonka quote. Never thought i'd see one of those.
11:19 AM on 09/01/09
d00d81that
Christine
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BLG may have taken a step back... or away with this one. It's definitely gonna be ear candy for radio though... i really do wonder how these songs would sound without the sugar
11:23 AM on 09/01/09
muzicislife31
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You pretty much put all my thoughts on this album into words on those last two paragraphs. Nice review. It helped me figure out why I'm not enjoying this album like I enjoyed their first one.
11:28 AM on 09/01/09
ACA
Next Show: Silverstein @ NYC 4/25
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The band's self-titled album was absolutely Top 5 in its genre, all time (whatever genre you want to call it.. it includes the likes of All Time Low, Cartel, Forever the Sickest Kids, Friday Night Boys, Cash Cash, Every Avenue, and whatever other bands I'm missing.. someone please toss them in there).

They aren't very good live, though.

I'm very interested in this album.. wonder if I'll agree with this review.
11:32 AM on 09/01/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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The band's self-titled album was absolutely Top 5 in its genre, all time (whatever genre you want to call it.. it includes the likes of All Time Low, Cartel, Forever the Sickest Kids, Friday Night Boys, Cash Cash, Every Avenue, and whatever other bands I'm missing.. someone please toss them in there).

They aren't very good live, though.

I'm very interested in this album.. wonder if I'll agree with this review.
I saw them in 2006, when the self-titled had only been on shelves for a few months. They played a tiny Connecticut venue and were easily the best band on the bill, which included the likes of Valencia, Punchline, and Spitalfield.

However, I've heard that since they moved to bigger venues, their live set has sorely been lacking. Rut-ro!
11:33 AM on 09/01/09
cory-182
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I just watched their video. Tisdale makes the video.
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