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Bob Schneider
Lonelyland
Universal


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

Track Listing:

  1. Metal and Steel
  2. Big Blue Sea
  3. Jingy
  4. Bullets
  5. The World Exploded Into Love
  6. Round & Round
  7. Moon Song
  8. Madeline
  9. Tokyo
  10. Under My Skin
  11. Blue Skies For Everyone
  12. Better
  13. 2002
  14. Oklahoma

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