This is American Hi-Fi's third album and their first for Maverick Records after the band's split from Island in late 2003. It was originally released in Japan on July 17th 2004 due to the fact that the band still had no record deal then in the U.S (they signed to Maverick in November 2004). The AH-F line-up at this time is:
Stacy Jones - lead vocals, guitar
Jamie Arentzen - lead guitar
Drew Parsons - bass
Jason Sutter - drums
This album also features producer Butch Walker on keyboard, piano and percussion duties. Please note that although Jason Sutter was in American Hi-Fi at the time of this album's release, the drums on here were handled by Stacy Jones.
1. Maybe Won't Do (3:26)
The opening track shows that AH-F have changed direction again, and headed in a more old-school direction. Spiky guitar, great bass grooves and Jones' lyrics about a failed relationship. This song bears similarities to vintage ELO and is worth listening to for the bass alone. Good opener with decent lyrics.
2. Hell Yeah! (3:06)
Their latest single. Starts with a whispered "Chicka-haha" from Jones before a pretty sleek riff slides on in. Jones' falsetto in this song is a little weird and the lyrics are a little cliched in places ( "long legs never stop, like all those videos from ZZ Top" ) but the great chorus just about saves it here. Overall, a quite decent tune.
3. The Geeks Get The Girls (2:50)
The first single from this album. Starts off with piano and Jones getting some lyrical inspiration from blink-182 ( "another friday night, to get the feeling right" ). With all the piano and keyboard, this one could easily be an outtake from Cheap Trick's "Dream Police" album, which is cool. The guitar kick in for the chorus where Jones rallies for "all the freaks" to "go on a winning streak". Again, lyrics need a little more originality, but a very good song nonetheless and worthy of being a single.
4. We Can't Be Friends (3:22)
Starts with a paradiddle on the drums and a wolf-like howl from Jones before the guitars hit upon a good, stabby riff. In the verses, Jones pretty much raps his lyrics, which leave you in disbelief sometimes ( "holdin' court like Obi Wan, baby's got it goin' on" ) before returning to singing in the chorus, which features some great guitar work. A cool, kinda disco-flavoured song about a girl wanting to remain friends after a breakup.
5. Something Real (3:50)
The album's first ballad is a soft, piano-led number that also features toned-down guitars and smoother drums. This is one that Oasis would be proud of. Jones sings about being lonely in California while the girl he loves is miles away, so the lyrics aren't particularly challenging ( "starin' down the boulevard, cresent heights, the city lights the way to another wasted day" ). Strangely, after a few listens, the chorus becomes slightly reminiscent of Semisonic's "Closing Time", which is okay. On the whole, a very good song.
6. Highs And Lows (3:17)
A great bass groove and guitars that reference The Clash's "London Calling" start this one off. The guitars stay sharp in the chorus. From the lyrics, this song appears to be a song about a weatherman ( "he knows the highs and lows, he'll give you what you need", "he goes about his day, a smile and a wink hello" ) with Jones reading a So-Cal weather report midway through. Why, I don't think anyone will never know. Catchy as hell, though and, despite the strange nature of the song, an album highlight.
7. The Everlasting Fall (3:29)
Nice keyboards and cool guitar in the intro that make way for Jones singing about how boring his life is now his woman's gone ( "wakin' up late, grey Sunday morning, got up on the wrong side, so I'll go back to bed" ). This one is more inspired lyrically with Jones writing some pretty good lyrics here ( "you can wait a whole lifetime to figure out that the best days are the ones we forgot about" ). Not many people like this song, but I think it's great.
8. Separation Anxiety (3:35)
This one lets rip with a sharp 3-chord riff and Jones' pissed-off lyrics at an ex ( "since you've been gone, I kinda fall apart, I knew you'd leave me from the very start" ). The chorus is strong, but overall this one just isn't as strong as some of the other tracks on here. An okay song, but not essential.
9. Baby Come Home (2:51)
A good song which has Jones writing some more decent, original lyrics ( "all the people that we love disappoint us the most" ). Quick drumming in the verses that slows down for the snappy chorus ( "baby likes a blue sky, i don't mind if it's gonna rain on me sometime" ). Cool song, but perhaps a little too short.
10. Where Did We Go Wrong (3:06)
Another highlight. A reggae-style guitar line and excellent bass light this one up. The poppy chorus here is great with Jones' heartbroken lyrics a strong point ( "I don't wanna be alone, just waitin' by the phone, can't stand another night on my own" ). Definitely worth hearing.
11. Hearts On Parade (5:25)
The title track. A great, laid-back number that contains great guitar, cool drums and lyrics that discuss the eve of a breakup which I think all of us can relate to ( "I don't understand how the worst of times get stuck in your mind" ). At almost 5 and a half minutes, it's just a bit too long, but it's still a great song and one of the album's strongest.
This album is definitely a step in the right direction for AH-F. After "The Art Of Losing" which was good enough, but lacking a little in variety, "Hearts On Parade" is a welcome change in style. At the very least, it proves that AH-F are more than capable of diversifying their sound. They have a way to go in bettering their debut, but here, they've at least bettered "The Art Of Losing".