5.19.2005

IP Review: Reel Big Fish's We're Not Happy 'Til You Are

An IM chat with Rick evolved into me taking on the reviewing of some of the music that he and his crew are either not all that interested in or its so far down their list that it would never get the attention it thinks it deserves. [Update: Rick forgot he asked me to do it and farmed it out to someone else who could turn it around faster.]

So here's my first official music review. And I got to start out with the musical equivalent of low-hanging fruit.

Reel Big Fish, for those that didn't get to hear one of the roughly eight hundred million trillion replays their "hit" got on the radio waves, made their mark with the tongue-in-cheek "Sellout", a song about a ska band that makes it big by selling out. Strange the parallels between the song and the band, eh?

I've had the song in my playlists for a few weeks now and really the only conclusion I can come to on the music that this band produces is that it instincually makes me reach for the "Next" button on my iPod.

This is a band that makes a reasonably good song, gets some reasonable fame from it and then rides that song into the sunset. Most every song on this album is all about lamenting their fame or how it sucks to be rich and famous or how your life sucks because you're not Reel Big Fish or something to that effect. Maybe they're a really great live show, maybe they're the funniest interview of all time but, when push comes to shove, their music is tired, blah and the whole self deprecation stuff gets old after after five seconds.

The Fire - starts out with some decent toe tapping beats and then quickly settles into their tired formulaic ska song, complete with screeches and accelerating scales, hooting and the like.

Revolution - hey, here's an idea, let's take a good song and sing it like we're far too cool for this universe and suck the life out of a good song. Have I mentioned that this album's only saving grace is that I can skip it when it comes up?

Story of my Life - This actually isn't a terrible song. It could be decent filler on a mix tape without messing it up too badly. It still smacks of "Poor me"ism on Reel Big Fish's part but its muted somewhat here and it actually sounds like they may have enjoyed playing this song.

Last Show - If they'd named this the Last Song then it might have been something to look forward to but instead its just more "Poor me" crap wrapped in what's gotta be labelled as "Ska" beat on their keyboards. Nothing new to hear here.

One Hit Wonderful - wow, another tongue in cheek, we hate being famous anthem that's tired from the first note. Apparently the worst that could have happened to Reel Big Fish was that people started listening to them, they got some radio time and their freakin' heads swelled up to the size of Zeppelins. Seriously, aside from one mildly decent song about 8 years ago, have they done ANYTHING noteworthy? No, I didn't think so either.

Drinkin' - a catchy melody overlayed with yet another anthem to what a bummer some modicum of fame is. I feel awful for these guys, the world has done them so wrong that all they can do is write songs about what a crappy deal they've gotten.

Don't Start a Band - you know, at this point, I'm beginning to wonder if they think they are the wittiest and funniest musicians that ever lived. Or, I wonder if they're playing a big old joke and intentionally producing tripe in the hopes of making more money off it. Either way, this song sucks too. And I think I know why, the lead singer has virtually no range, his voice goes to crap quickly. In fact, it starts out pretty bad and gets worse quickly. There's no inspiration, no nothing, just a dude wailing away and imagining all the money he's making. Bleh.

I could continue on and shred each song on this really bad album but I think you get the point. This band had one hit and has been lamenting (and trying to capitalize) on the hardships of their "fame" ever since. This album would be best used as a drink coaster since listening to it invariably puts me in a bad mood.
Venom -1
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