At their best Plain White T’s resemble Dada,
especially the harmonies, though the voices don’t quite blend.
The first three songs require no additional equipment to enjoy.
No waiting around for the song to grow on you, no assembly
required. The pacing is swift and sounds as good as any radio-ready
relationship rock out there. The singing is generally adequate
for the style, if occasionally grating. The guitar-work shows
real promise. As catchy as the music is, I was surprised
to be hanging on for so long. Once I accepted the pop element
of it, the music slowed and the vocals started to show through.
The name says it all, these boys are plain white. The songs
are arranged in descending order from best to worst. The
remainder of the album seems dedicated to the same heartbreak.
They’re hurting, ladies. Better grab these sensitive guys
while you can, they need your love to keep them warm. But
if you think they’re going to get over it, take note of the
repetition inhabiting their stunted lyrics.
The chunking guitars on “Stop” bring to mind Sponge,
if anyone recalls that “alternative” outfit. Tom Higginson’s
pained vocals are tempered by the mainstream rocking.
“Please Don’t Do This” has the best melody of the batch. The
rhythms accommodate even the more awkward phrases with finesse.
The issue at hand is whether girlfriend’s buddies are platonic.
Everyone knows boys and girls can’t be friends, wake up.
The edgiest number, “What If” has a hint of Bad Religion
hidden in the soup. The progression moves along despite the
light harmonies. With “Fireworks” the vocal line becomes
cheap. No chances are made, and the vulnerability garners
no sympathy. It’s all a question of believability. Everything
from here on is a bid to become the next Goo-Goo Eyed Blind.
“Leavin’” is syrupy and uninventive with a seventies bent.
The pretty acoustic on “Shine” is thwarted by the singer’s
attempt at moves he’s not perfected. It’s slightly jazzy
and awfully trite.
Lyrics on “Happy Monday” are typical of the whole, it’s
just another Sunday/ a few more hours till it’s Monday/ the
weekend’s almost over/ I feel myself getting older/ it’s becoming
more apparent/ I’m turning out like my parents. Remember
Extreme’s sappy ballad? Check out “Lonely September.”
Same song, different dance. By the time “Can’t Turn Around”
tries to put some fire back in, it’s really too late. This
Bon Jovi imitation should have gone up with the more
aggressive songs. And why the hell did they re-write “Please
Don’t Do This” as “Penny?” I heard this jealousy song twice
the first time. I’m sure they had good intentions when they
wrote “Radios In Heaven.” But where do good intentions lead?
This awful death dedication states, up on the other side
of the clouds/ I hope I turn out to be as good as you.
I’ll second that.
Plain White T’s offer truth in advertising. Blue jean rock
for bland college girls. And while the vocals and lyrics
have much room for improvement Stop has plenty of decent
music on it. Buy it if you love top 40 because Matchbox
20 don’t need your money.
— Ewan Wadharmi
- Please Don't Do This
- What If
- Your Fault
- Happy Someday
- Lonely September
- Can't Turn Away
- Penny (Perfect for You)
- Radios in Heaven
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