Monday, July 6th, 2009

Love & Theft – Runaway

When has anything named after a Bob Dylan album ever been bad?…


Frank Kogan: Average Midwestern dudes roll along an average Mellencamp highway, veer left and find themselves on a California breezeway, just as average. They’re actually from the South, where these old breezes still feel new, and they make the road sound better than anyone has in 20 years.

Anthony Miccio: This has the smooth ’80s pop-rock drive I’m surprised the Jonas Brothers aren’t better at, but — while I’m glad they don’t go for Chad Kroeger colon blow — the vocal lacks the earnest intensity of golden standards like Bryan Adams and 38 Special, who would have saved this track for single number three in their heyday.

Richard Swales: It took me all of 2 seconds of the chorus to realise the vocal hook is straight out of a Nickelback tune. As soon as I realised that, I pretty much couldn’t hear anything else in the song.

Martin Kavka: Any country-rock song about getting out of the strangling boredom of small-town life treads well-worn territory. This could be better, but without its harmonies, it would be far far worse.

Ian Mathers: They get some points from the lovely way all three of their voices are marshaled for the chorus (these are some of the best “ooh ooh ooh”s I’ve heard all year), but they lose more for such a pedestrian, callow narrative. I’m not opposed to songs about leaving it all behind to start a new, aimless life, but they’re supposed to be inspiring, not leaden. And one extra point for occasionally sounding like they might have heard Blue Rodeo growing up.

Chuck Eddy: Three heart-throbs strumming and chiming close harmonies; one said to be the Stephen from a Taylor Swift song. Squeaky-clean soft-rock teen-pop boy-band country (a trend: see also Carter Twins, who judging from “Heart Like Memphis” aren’t as good), more Pure Prairie League/Bon Jovi/Collective Soul disciples than late Dylan (much less George Strait) disciples, fine by me. As is the fact that their hit gets that running-on-empty escape-to-less-sleepy-town parallel-to-railroad car-words-plus-car-rhythm ethos like no hit in ages. And the chorus melody totally reminds me of “Just Remember I Love You” by Firefall! So far, my favorite new track of 2009.

Michaelangelo Matos: Super-sheeny Nashville, the cheery surface inviting rather than mall-sterile, pop-rock catchier than most of what traffics under that broad umbrella. The singing isn’t original, but there’s just-understated-enough passion. “I’m down to my last ring/It’s time to sell my things” — I don’t quite know what that means (what kind of ring?) but still like the way it slams the situation home. Keep wanting to play it a bunch more, always a good sign.

Alfred Soto: We need more country rock hitting the top 40, but not generic examples (lyrics cite parallel lines, railroad tracks, pedals to the metal, breaks of day, and sleepy towns). Bumped up a notch because there’s a moment in the solo that evokes the one in Rosanne Cash’s great “Rosie Strikes Back.”

Additional Scores

Anthony Easton: [7]
Martin Skidmore: [5]

5 Responses to “Love & Theft – Runaway”

  1. hahaha Miccio I was going to make the JoBros comparison too but decided against it when I realized I only knew a couple songs.

  2. Man, in that picture they look like the douchiest douches to ever douche. That would have cost them a few points.

  3. Surprised by the love.

  4. This is quite good. But then I like the occasional Nickelback track, including “Rockstar”, so I have no credibility whatsoever.

  5. Oh man, there’s a guitar solo. That’s an 8 at least right there. Maybe a 9 on a good day.

    And in fairness they aren’t as croaked-awful as Nickelback often sound. As the reviewers here pointed out, there are /harmonies/ here.