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July 01, 2002 - Image 12

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-07-01

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 1, 2002

ARTS

Something Corporate hope for mainstream success

4

By Tony Ding In only their fourth year together as a
Daily ArtsnWriter band, Something Corporate burst onto the
scene with their first EP, Asudioboxer. This
They're lauded as being "nice boys," May, the surprisingly successful band
for being "sentimental," and the pop- released their full-length debut album
music world just can't get enough of Leaing Through the Window. Led by 19-
them all of a sudden. Emo, short for year-old pianist Andrew McMahon, SC
"emotional" rock, is the toddler-aged accomplishes a rarely-practiced harmony
genre sweeping the industry with a fever between the elegant, soothing flow of a,
and momentum unseen since the early, piano, and the fast-paced, guitar-riffing
pop-punk infused 1990s. Now, it's all rock orchestra inherent in today's pop-
about Jimmy Eat World, or Saves the rock. McMahon's finger-work is sensa-
Day, or Dashboard Confessional. A tional, melding unconscientiously with the
brand new potty-trained prodigy from amplified strings and drums or as a pleas-
Orange County, Calif. has risen to the ant solo in the most potent transitions of a
occasion: The quintet gentlemen of song. McMahon is also the main heart-
Something Corporate. throb vocal behind SC's addictive (and

mostly McMahon-penned) lyrics. Four- tling lyrics make you play and replay the
teen songs graces'ieasng, with "I Want to song just to see if you've heard it right,
Save You" serving as an unflattering, but ending in nothing but confusion over what
adequate opener. It is evident from this the story is about or where odd words fit
first song that SC has been geared toward in. Is McMahon's talking about a hated
a pop-radio/MTV audi- "bully" as portruyed in the
ence. Hell, the whole music video, where they
album reeks of a capitalis- fought over a girl? Or
tic ploy to sell millions of could it be a secret confes-
albums to fad-hungry teen SOMETHiNG sional about another sort of
girls and "sensitive" boys S I bad relationship the guy
- ironic given the band's CORPORATE isn't sharing ..
"brand-name." Leaving Through the Compared to the unre-
"Hurricane" is another Window leased songs SC fans have
up-tempo, melodic, yet MCA heard over the years and
quasi-punk number that those from their self-
enjoys a healthy interjection of 88 keys. released sampler Read...Break, the only
Its lyrics, incidentally, were written not by "traditional" SC song on this album is
McMahon, but the work of guitarist Josh "Cavanaugh Park," which is pretty much a
Partington. A song on this album that you shorter, more bearable version of the not-
may have already caught on the radio is included 10-minute long "Constantine."
"If yoU C Jordan." It's a populicious It's a pity that Something Corporate have
anthem, that in and of itself, led SC to honed their sound to a more punk rock-
where itsis today. The awkwardly unset- oriented feel in this debut, apparently to
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fit in with their Drive-Thru label. They've
also acquired a Creed-ishs (cringe) bearing
in a few slips, such as "Not What it
Seems," where McMahon cries and
shouts in such theatrics. This may be due
to stylistic tweaks by Leaving's producer,
Jim Wirt, who nmastered releases for
Incubus and Hoobastank.
Something Corporate's emo beginnings
emerge toward the end of the album,
where "You're Gone" is indistinguishable
from something other popular emo groups
like Saves the Day might have produced.
And oh my, talk about going out without a
bang: The last song on the album,
"Globes and Maps," can serve as treat-
ment for insomniacs. Its piano solo clocks
in at almost five minutes, with each pass-
ing minute snuffing the drowsy finale of
the album. ,
So, emo is not for everyone, and Some-
thing Corporate knows that. None of the
album's songs come under the 3.3-minute
de-facto standard for mainstream, fast-
action pop-punk. The failings for this
album, despite its overall quality, is the
unnecessary efforts SC went through to
diversify their sound. It has too much pop
and too little genuine emo. Their self-
released CD Readv...Break-, in contrast,
contained some of SC's best true master-
pieces, like "Babies ofthe80s"- a tribute
to the timeline classic 'We Didn't Start
the Fire" by Billy Joel. Most of SC's fans
may be propelled by affection for the
boys' soft, sweet looks and sing-a-long
pop melodies, but that's just their "corpo-
rate" facade.

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