Train
California 37


1.0
awful

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
April 18th, 2012 | 146 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Nobody deserves this.

In listening to ‘Drive By’, the first single off of Train’s sixth studio album, it is hard to imagine that this is the same band that wrote ‘Drops of Jupiter.’ At one point far closer to its inception, Train was actually a rock band. Sure, Patrick Monahan always had a soft spot for infectious melodies that drew him towards sunnier pop pastures, but the band’s refusal to abandon their roots kept them from changing course altogether. As their exposure gradually decreased over the middle and latter portion of the decade, they began to cling a little more tightly to their pop tendencies - thus resulting in the runaway success of the unabashedly mainstream Save Me, San Francisco. Even though opinions were deeply divided upon its release, there are still very few listeners to this day who can objectively deny that it was an infectious pop album. However, that’s the point in the story where one utters the old adage “quit while you’re ahead” in hopes that Train will realize the good timing of their efforts, enjoy their fortune, and return their focus to what they do best. Unfortunately, as is the case with many bands blindsided by success, Train voluntarily dives even deeper down the rabbit hole…coming out on the other side immersed in a world filled with puffy clouds and lollipops.

If you thought ‘Hey Soul Sister’ was a little too perky, then the whole of California 37 is likely to make you question your sanity. The album is basically a round up of the happiest sounds Monahan could muster, placed overtop of cute jingles and packaged in the most radio-friendly format possible. Even though that is the mark of a shallow record, it isn’t anything different from what listeners should be expecting from the band at this point. After all, if Save Me, San Francisco hinted at anything, it certainly wasn’t a return to hard 90’s-influenced rock. But the real dagger in your ears comes via the repugnant lyrics, which insult your intelligence and challenge your patience on a nearly constant basis. Just take the line from the second single, ‘Feels Good At First’, for instance: “Ooh, every spring needs a honey bee that stings…some things can't change.” This atrocious attempt at meaningful writing demolishes whatever hope initially stemmed from the song’s gorgeous melody, effectively tainting one of the few moments on California 37 with some legitimate musical merit. Lesser songs obviously don’t fare any better under Monahan’s infantile lyrical contributions, and the result is a long list of songs that would have had the benefit of being forgettable if they weren’t so damn irritating.

Even when viewing the album strictly from a “catchiness” perspective, it’s extremely difficult to get past Train’s brought-to-you-by-Disney approach to songwriting. They try almost everything here, and it isn’t for the benefit of their artistic perspective. ‘Bruises’ is a shameless exploitation of country-pop’s rise to prominence, jangling along to ukuleles and inserting guest vocals from country music’s very own Ashley Monroe. It’s not insightful or progressive, it’s just stupid. ‘You Can Finally Meet My Mom’ strains for an old fashioned western feel, but ends up sounding like any other ballad in addition to suffering from idiotic lyrics that share the song’s title. ‘Drive By’ and ‘Mermaid’ both strive for an electro-pop sound, but end up sounding like N SYNC if they were older and used less autotune. The closing track, ‘To Be Loved’, is actually relatively normal by this album’s standards. However, it is mind numbingly repetitive, it tries to make profound insights about love, and it predictably/laughably fails. So to get back on point, yes, California 37 is a catchy album – but it comes begging the question “is your mainstream satisfaction worth mental frustration so potent that you’ll want to chew through the CD case?” If your answer is no, steer clear – there’s plenty of other infectious but equally intelligent pop out there for your consumption.

In the end, the best thing you can hope for here is that you’ll discover a few redeeming moments amidst this trite, superfluously cheerful mishmash of failed ideas. The ability to tune out lyrics is also a huge plus. Take this album as you normally would (with a grain of salt) and then add further cause for doubt and suspicion. California 37 erases Train’s original identity, simply leaving us with a train wreck. Thus emerges another boy band, ripe for the plucking by enthusiastic tweens everywhere.



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1.6
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Joel Hargreaves (3)
‘California 37’ can be quite enjoyable, but if you were an original Train fan you’d have to fo...


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2012


16431 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Fuck me.

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

pizzamachine
April 17th 2012


12571 Comments


"simply leaving us with a train wreck"

I was waiting for that pun!

macman76
April 17th 2012


373 Comments


I had a great calc teacher in high school, cool guy, tennis coach
But when it was time for the class to work alone he would play train and maroon 5 in class... Worst of all, everyone but me loved it, so 5/5

Graveyard
April 17th 2012


5747 Comments


wow sowing

Digging: Nurse With Wound - Spiral Insana

TooLateToGoBack
April 17th 2012


1775 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

they either could have made this garbage(whilst making money) or faded back into irrelevancy.

I'd have gone with the money, personally.

mastille
April 17th 2012


532 Comments


Now children in schoolbuses everywhere will get to enjoy the new Bieber, Minaj, and Train at 3:30pm their standard time

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2012


10284 Comments


My dad used to like these guys.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2012


16431 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

They already made their money though. Guess you can't ever have enough.

AlexTM510
April 17th 2012


1403 Comments


they had some song on the radio or something right, about angels or something? I feel kinda happy that im oblivious to it. i didnt even know they wrote soul sister, that god awful piece of music

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Knott-
Emeritus
April 17th 2012


10198 Comments


Lol, Train

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2012


31362 Comments


Oh yeah, this is that band that had that song

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2012


16431 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

yeah, that one

the way you move ain't fair you know

TooLateToGoBack
April 17th 2012


1775 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

"Guess you can't ever have enough."

well, yeah. people are greedy as hell. I'm sure tons of people would sell out if it meant more money.

mastille
April 17th 2012


532 Comments


the only thing worse than a boy band is an old boy band

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2012


16431 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

so true

unless you're the backstreet boys m/

Ire
April 17th 2012


41795 Comments


m/ has been ruined

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2012


7311 Comments


brought-to-you-by-Disney

Watch your language young man.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 18th 2012


16431 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

sorry i meant no offense mr. irving

i'll watch the lion king tonight for forgiveness

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 18th 2012


7311 Comments


(good review; mindpos + will stay the hell away from this)

"Hey Soul Sister" rules though. So does "Drops of Jupiter" and "Cab", I guess.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 18th 2012


7311 Comments


WHO DAT RAFIKI?!!!



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