T i a l ha lTuesday, April17, 2012 - 7A
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
the fee -ood Train
With 'California 37' ,
Goodbye, but 'Call Me'
the pop-rock group
stays on track
By GREGORY HICKS
Daily Arts Writer
Train is a failure - a failure at
disappointing. Though the band
hasn't changed its style very
much, the years
have been kind
to the group's
likability. Save Train
Me, San Fran-
cisco put Train California 37
back on the
radar after its Columbia
duction hiatus and California 37
proves that the previous album's
success wasn't just a stroke of
luck,but aresultofthe band's skill
to generate consistently catchy
Perhaps this comes from the
merger of two undying quali-
ties: humor and love. Lyrics from
tracks such as "You Can Finally
Meet My Mom" have an air of
self-aware stupidity that can be
described as nothing less than
cute - forming an image that's
induced fainting from Pat Mona-
han fans since 1998. "(He'll) just
lie down and close (his) eyes and
think about stuff," sung with a
slight pause, as though he's put-
ting deep thought into the choice
of the word "stuff." One can't help
This album also wins the
award for most name-drops on a
single record - or even a single
song. The opening track on the
album, "This'll Be My Year," con-
sists entirely of a timeline filled
Looking for ourselves out here.
by brand-name inventions and.
movie, music, and locational allu-
sions. "In '85 ... Nintendo comes,
Live Aid too,'Back to the Future,'
where were you?" Many songs
tell a story, but Train is willing to
go so far as to include actual dates
to narrate the given events.
Lyrically speaking, the record's
lead single "Drive By" is one of
the weaker tracks on the album,
but not nearly weak enough to be
criticized. This Billboard Top-
20 hit also has a sister track, "50
Ways To Say Goodbye," which is a
sort of "Drive By" meets the Latin
fiesta of J. Lo's "Ain't It Funny."
"Drive By" was a brilliant
choice of a promotional single
for not being too stylishly silly
- and because "everything
is groovy" is in the melody -
but the group's second single
release, "Feels Good At First,"
might not be so brilliant. It has
that same medium-paced, gui-
tar-accompanied rhythm used
by the Plain White T's in all of
their popular songs. One might
call this the "Rhythm of Love."
Not that one group has any sty-
listic influence over the other,
but listeners have probably had
their fill of this type of song.
Breaking its former musical
pattern, Train collaborates with
country singer Ashley Monroe
on the album. A featured col-
laboration is a first for Train,
let alone one of a country style.
Though "Bruises" is the group's
first country number, Train is of
the pop-rock genre, so it isn't like
country is a complete 180 on its
sound. But a country duet does
combine a fascinating handful of
firsts into one track.
The album won't produce any
hits on the level of "Hey, Soul
Sister" or "Drops of Jupiter,"
but if this is a cause for disap-
pointment, drown it out with the
record's goofy, charming content.
It's sure to cure these bitter feel-
ings - though in an ironic sort
of way. Train shines with confi-
dence in California 37, blooming
heaps of lyrical originality and'
feel-good melody. The album is
more fun than fun. itself.
Every year, thousands
of dollars, pounds, yen,
rubles and wishes are
thrown into fountains. Some of
those wishes are dead serious,
up, the coins
get dried out,
the dreams JOE
linger on. DIMUZIO
Me Maybe" has torpedoed its
way to ubiquity over the last
couple months. It has sped under
the surface from its September
release last year toward a vol-
canic eruption of popularity
through Justin Bieber's Twit-
ter, radio play from Billboard
to Belgium and omnipresent,
from every other open porch and
house party in Ann Arbor.
"I threw a wish in the well" it
begins - all typified, pop roman-
tic - barely cooed over a quiet
kick drum and synthesized vio-
lins, easily subsumed by crowds,
packed houses and pumped kegs.
As it skips toward that chorus, it
links arms with everybody who
hasn't caught on with it yet...
cheers, whoops, hollers, smiles,
groans. You hear that? "Call Me,
Maybe" is on. The refrain hits,
little else matters.
I've heard it blasted while
rolling around in the trunk of a
friend's pick-up truck, and leak-
ing out of more than a couple
earbuds on buses Iwill stop rid-.
ing soon. It became the de rigeur
topic of more than a few pre-
class, Michigan-time whispered
conversations. My Italian pro-
fessor was forced to hear it. I've
seen it inspire drunken whirling-
dervish hysteria, exasperated
moans and absolute confusion all
within a few square feet.
I've marked the last four years
of my time here with pop songs.
I've recalled memories that I'd
forgotten with the help of a few
treacly bars and refrains. I came
to Ann Arbor with some wishes,
songs and friendships. And I've
seen a lot of change.
If the phone ever rang on the
landline phone in my old East
Quad dorm in Prescott, I was
prone to stare in fear rather than
pick it up. Filling out my taxes,
I wasn't sure which home was
home, which phone number to
put down. The transience of
college - like a fantastic and
particularly expensive pop
song - confused, inspired and
changed me. Expressing that
growth, shift and desire over
the last four years has been the
toughest challenge of all.
Pop music is a
We have plenty of options for
communication now, each with
their individual sensitivities,
style and depth. We can reserve
quidk, angular hieroglyphics
for texts. Sprawling prose for
e-mails, massaging keyboards in
search of meaning. Breaking out
the archaic hand-written letter,
ever so rarely, to express perhaps
our most grave and heartfelt
feelings - with our hands press-
ing the pen, cramping the mus-
cles in our hand, driving ink into
paper, letting our mind change
in the course of a sentence hur-
tling toward a period that either
succeeds or fails to adequately
But Carly wants to be called.
She wants the intimacy of hear-
ing the voice, the extemporane-
ous speed and feeling - just
shy of commitment - of actual,
physical presence ... Is there
anything more typical of my
Carly's asking, sure, but she's
really demanding. That "maybe"
in the refrain is no expression
of doubt, but rather an acknowl-
edgement of possibility. It sug-
gests that sometimes promises
are not kept; that wishes have
that nasty opportunity of never
coming true. And that some-
times, the unexpected or mirac-
ulous can happen - whether
you recognize it now or after
four years, thousands of dollars,
friendships and late nights.
Carly's not throwing her coin
into the well without a little bit
of faith. "Before you came into
my life / I missed you so bad,"
she says, as the MIDI orchestra
swirls over and over, the kick
drum pulses harder and a shrill
guitar does acrobatic loops in the
background. Like a good roman-
tic, she knew he existed before
she met him. We sing along with
her, we watch old dreams die,
we blow out candles, we make
new ones. We change our phone
numbers, we lose our phones, we
try and choose the best words o
express ourselves and sing futile
jingles in the divide between
meaning and feeling.
You hit repeat. The town looks
a little different. Younger kids
take your place, throwing their
coins into the fountain. There's
always construction. You begin
to forget people, music, whole
years. Some pop songs come
along and help you remember.
You hit repeat.
Dimuzio is graduating. To
contact him, maybe, e-mail
TM4 &* za242A1
8VMTsdYA4 2 Oi
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Short program begins at 6:30 p.m.
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485 W Milwaukee Street
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