He's someone whose stage presence and music can make girls
swoon hysterically, a sight which can be better described
as a courtship than a moshpit. These twenty-somethings who
found their grunge-filled adolescence lacking a real heartthrob
have now found bliss with Bob Schneider. Schneider
really started turning heads about nine years ago when he
formed the memorable Ugly Americans. In 1996, convinced
his heart wasn’t in the Americans anymore, he created the
boundary-less band The Scabs that was able to share
equal success from both critics and an avid college party
scene. An eventual transition to a more experimental band
called LonelyLand led to a solo effort that included
songs on a major motion picture starring ex-girlfriend Sandra
Bullock and an eventual deal with Universal Records.
Schneider’s debut release on Universal, appropriately entitled
LonelyLand, blends a few music styles. It creates
more of a funk rock that mixes some jazz and blues – music
you can jam and chill to. He finds a way to throw in some
bongo drums too, finding this eerie yet? It undeniably is
a unique sound, and it would be unjust to categorize it into
any culturally accepted variety.
The first song on this 14-track album is “Metal and Steel.”
This acoustic soft tune draws you in from the start with its
catchy chorus. The metaphorical lyrics and murky undertone
radiate throughout the rest of the album. “Big Blue Sea”,
reminds us of the roller coaster ride life can be, adequately
summed up in the first few lines: woke up in a stupor/guess
its time to face the pooper/sometimes I feel like superman/sometimes
I’m just recooperating. It is wonderful lyrically, and
Schneider succeeds in the song’s requirement of strong vocals
to uphold the harmony.
The album does have some hiccups. “Jingy” goes a little overboard
with funk to fit in with the rest of the record. Although
this maybe a song that Schneider’s is letting loose and having
some fun with, it doesn’t help the flow of the album, and
just unpleasant to listen too. The opening lyrics: I have
a monkey and his name is Jingy, gives you just this disgusting
feeling of cycling through mellow James Brown tunes.
The pseudo-ska “Bullets” is another song worth skipping, and
should just be saved for filler on a live album. At best it
could entertain a sit-down bar crowd finding the time during
this song to break the seal. These sound more like songs put
on the album to boast the musical range of Schneider rather
than add any value.
Schneider quickly recovers with “The World Exploded into
Love,” and “Moon Song.” These tracks lets you know there is
still some happiness in his sometimes-gloomy beats and narratives.
“The World” is a gentle ballad that helps Schneider describe
love in the simplest way - The world exploded into love
around me and every time I take a look around me I have to
smile. While “Moon” makes you feel like you are sippin'
mai tai’s with Gypsy Kings on a remote beach, somewhere
in the South Pacific.
If you want to impress your friends, play “Tokyo” for everyone
you know. This is the middle ground that showcases Schneider’s
musical intellect with his knack for writing great melodies.
This track is adequately placed to serve as the climatic point
of the album. The track’s surprising jazzy edge really showcases
Schneider’s musical range. The album ends with a couple of
strong songs “2002” and “Oklahoma.”
LonelyLand is an album that might not sprint, but
will eventually walk, sit, have some pie and may never leave
your CD changer.
— Andrew Arora
- Metal and Steel
- Big Blue Sea
- The World Exploded Into Love
- Round & Round
- Moon Song
- Under My Skin
- Blue Skies For Everyone
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