Review Summary: Nonchalantly nude and beautifully blistered.
Imagine, if you can, the alt-rock genre being like a fancy party at a wealthy aunt's house. Everyone's dressed appropriately and passing those huge counterfeit smiles around at each other's faces...It's an open party with a flexible host, so you decide to bring two friends along. When they step into the crowd of guests, however, it becomes blatantly obvious that they didn't get the memo. The unkempt hair - disheveled clothes - unique odors - clammy skin... Even with their natural smiles, people kindly keep a distance leaving the lepers alone with only the virtue of honesty. Bob Forrest (ex-singer of Thelonius Monster) and Josh Klinghoffer (most famous for being the Frusciante fill-in for the Red Hot Chili Peppers) might be the two dirtiest guests at this pop rock party, but there's no doubting that they're among the most authentic.
You Come And Go Like A Pop Song
was first released back in 1999 and then was re-released in 2001. The difference, besides renaming "Aspirations" to "Stoned", is the order of the songs and the replacement of "It's Alright" with "Trust Fund Girl" and "Rhonda Meets The Birdman" with "Song For A Kevin Spacey Movie". Pop Song
has a certain sound that can be sugary and raw at the same time. The ingredients would be Bob Forrest's brittle, fragile voice shaking over acoustic guitars while Klinghoffer frequently amps it up with overdriven guitar riffs and fitting solos. All of this can be seen in one of the most effective album kick-offs , "Hurt". The cogs waste no time turning and the strength of the vocals and lyrics together meet to a fine point: "You can’t hurt me, 'cause/I’m unhurtable and you/Can’t scare me, ‘cause/I’m unshakable...
" Forrest's voice stings almost as well as Klinghoffer's thorny guitar. If you aren't keen on his work in Thelonius, then Bob's vocals might be a turn-off. However, it ends up adding to the album's damaged disposition. His voice sometimes becomes toppled when he goes too high and may fall out of might for a second, but it's all for the greater good (an example would be in the chorus of "Tennis Shoes").
This periodic wobbliness of Forrest's voice should be immediately forgiven not only for his lyric-writing ability, but for the way this atypical way of singing spices up the album's mixed bag of emotions. The breakup song, “Off Street Parking”, is a personal highlight for me because of the way the words are sourly sung: “You can stay with your friends/Tell them what an asshole I am/They already believe that/And now I deserve it
”. The songs "Rainin' (4AM)" and "L.A. Country Hometown Blues" do gamble a bit by leaning more on a country sound but both have touches of blues to accentuate the melancholy moods. Both songs have a bit more to offer than they first let on.
You’ll find that the duo’s style doesn’t only
shine in depression; for instance the upper-hand sounding “Max, Jill Called” along with the obvious "It's Alright" helps keep the album from being strictly painful with its simple major key themes. The latter song has Klinghoffer sliding around on his guitar for an uplifting solo and in the end shows us that the two can take a break from heartbreak and sing about some smaller events (Be sure to give the song a listen if your copy doesn't have this track). Along with a song that would make Kevin Spacey proud, "Aspirations"(or "Stoned") have a bit more of a kick with faster tempo and edgy rock that gives the album a chunk of fun.
When the songs are sad, however, they're downright despairing.
In the drug ballad, Cereal Song
(commonly mistaken to be a Frusciante solo song) the rhythm's acoustically strummed and sung mournfully. It makes for the most personal song on the album which I nominate for the strongest. It's penetrating and adorably dispiriting. John Frusciante does, actually, make a guest appearance on electric guitar for this song, and well, I find that more than perfectly warranted.
You Come And Go Like A Pop Song
is a must for anyone that enjoys the music of Thelonius Monster or John Frusciante. This is a record filled with emotion and entertainment. If you take catchy acoustic rock songs and sprinkle them with the dirty edge of a duo living life at the bottom of drugs and heartbreak, you have one of the most intimate and original albums to close the 90’s. With the single catch of not being able to revisit the country-sounding songs as much as the others, all tracks are painted with confident colors. They might be the messiest guests at a party, but they will be the ones everyone grows to appreciate for their plain honesty and certainly will be the ones everyone remembers.