Review Summary: Never again.
Christofer Drew has a few things going for him, to be fair. He plays advocate to teenaged girls continent-wide; strumming his flimsy little ukulele and yodeling on and on about good morals and changing the world with love
. Yes, under that uninviting mop of teased hair lies a voice for a prepubescent generation - honest, sincere and incredibly annoying. Simply, he’s an aural irritant - a virus with a falsetto that not even the best pesticides can eradicate. Consider this: Drew’s alias changes between ‘NeverShoutNever!
’ and 'Never Shout Never
’ depending on his mood. Legitimately. That alone should tell you more than enough about the man’s (yes, he’s 18 years old now!) first full length debut What Is Love?
. Yet the masochist in us all is inquisitive; our curiosity has been piqued. A few things about What Is Love?
hint at Drew finally reaching puberty - the album’s artwork is ambiguously artistic, he’s finally settled on ‘Never Shout Never
’ as his ‘grown-up’ pseudonym and perhaps most convincingly, Butch Walker rides the helms of production on the whole shebang. Isn’t it possible that little Christofer has redeemed his mountain of teenaged EPs with a semi-tolerable debut album?
, no. I appreciate your efforts, Mr. Drew, but I’d rather be pulled over carpet tacks and dipped in rubbing alcohol than ever listen to this again.
That’s not to say that Drew didn’t make any attempts to progress, no, he certainly tried
. Opener, ‘Love Is Our Weapon’ immediately introduces the listener to a Never Shout Never with a budget for flashy production - drums, shakers, pianos, backing harmonies and much whinier vocals are all part of Drew’s crisper, more developed sound. Of course, this new sound of his is measurably worse than his old one. See, nearly every moment you’ll hear on What Is Love?
you will have already heard on fun.’s Aim and Ignite
last year (sans the gratuitous sucking involved with Drew) - the horns, the strings, the production, and even to a certain extent, Drew’s vocals (see ‘I Love You 5’) reek of Nate Reuss’ latest works. Hell, ‘Love Is Our Weapon’ even steals a few major vocal melodies from ‘All the Pretty Girls’. Nonetheless, a few cuts on What Is Love?
are distinctly Never Shout Never. ‘Jane Doe’ trods along merrily and relaxedly for less than two minutes, but despite its running time, it manages to be the best track on the album (even if it isn’t a Converge cover). ‘Sacrilegious’ and ‘Can’t Stand It’ both tread familiar territory for Drew as well, with the former being a whiny “I-love-Jesus-but-not-the-Church!
”-browbeating cut and the latter being a typically pestilential cheese-fest: “Let’s sell all our *** and run away to sail the ocean blue/Then you’ll know my heart is true!
” The man can rhyme, I’ll give him that.
Perhaps the most glaring issue with What Is Love?
is that it shows how Drew has actually gotten worse with his major label debut. His voice is whinier, his lyrics (somehow) are even more toddleresque and his sorry attempts at theatricality are blatant rip offs of a band that was a rip off of everybody else in the first place. Suffice to say, when your album’s #1 redeeming factor is the fact that it’s barely over 20 minutes long, you’ve probably got a bad schtick - and that you do, Never Shout Never, that you do. I think Drew himself sums up his album most effectively on ‘I Can’t Stand It’ - “everything you do is super duper cute, and I can’t stand it!