Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America

Boys and Girls in America is such a blatant rip off of early Springsteen in every respect that you’d think these guys would be embarassed.  Harmonies, melodies, rhythm patterns, song hold steadystructure, vocal style, music style, all of it is warmed over early Springsteen.  As the album wore on (and it takes some doing for a 40 minute album to make you feel like it’s wearing on) I found myself thinking “Do you guys have one, just one, musical idea of your own?”  Apparently not.  I’m not sure what this is supposed to be.  A Springsteen tribute band?  I don’t think so because they’re doing their own songs, not Springsteen’s, and the lead singer’s voice doesn’t sound like Springsteen although he apes every Springsteen vocal mannerism in the book.  Repeatedly.  Are they trying to pass this off as original?  Are you kidding?  Given Springsteen’s enormous popularity and the ever-healthy nostalgia music business there can’t be enough people out there who haven’t heard early Springsteen to be fooled into thinking this is anything other than an unimaginative rehash.  Is it supposed to be a form of homage for an admired predecessor?  Typically bands show respect for other musicians with work that reflects influence not by slavish mimicry. I just don’t get it.  Every review I’ve read of Boys and Girls in America has been very positive so it may well be the case that I’m really missing something here.  Even if I’m not overly thrilled by the music I usually try to put at least a track or two up on the radio station but with this album I couldn’t bring myself to do even that.  If you like this kind of music, dig out the early Springsteen albums and listen to it done much better by the people who had all these ideas in the first place.

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03/21/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music

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