Review Summary: Boys Like Girls release an album just in time to not make your best of 2012 list.
12 of 13 thought this review was well written
Boys Like Girls have hit rock bottom. If Love Drunk saw a serious nosedive in quality in a move towards pop rock, then Crazy World is the end result of that downward momentum. Leaving behind the derivative pop-punk that at the least produced enjoyable tunes like hit single ‘The Great Escape,' the band tries to incorporate eclectic influences including adult contemporary bands and country pop, an experimentation that fails horribly due to the band’s inability to write a decent song. Compound this with the fact that those inspirational influences are the likes of Augustana and Hot Chelle Rae and we have a recipe for a trainwreck of an album.
The move towards the adult contemporary/country pop sound was one fated for failure from the beginning. The genre almost demands that lead vocalist Martin Johnson lose the nasal and whiny inflection in his voice, which, with the help of autotune, he successfully accomplishes. Unfortunately, Johnson’s clearer vocals sound like carbon copies of the uninteresting vocals of Three Doors Down, causing the band to lose perhaps its only distinctive attribute. Furthermore, the band, perhaps aware of its target audience, has another set of songs about teenage love and partying, such as the wittily titled ‘Cheated’ and the subtly titled ‘Red Cups.’ The lyrics are exactly as generic as one would expect from a pop punk band that refuses to grow up, which only makes the band’s “evolution” into this new sonic direction all the more baffling. If the band couldn't commit to the change, why even try it in the first place? Instead, Boys Like Girls gifts their audience eleven half-assed songs that would certainly find their way into some Top 40 station if the band could have been damned to write a convincing hook or two.
Unfortunately, hooks are virtually nonexistent on Crazy World. The title track incorporates a harmonica solo that comes off as a kitschy gimmick, as though throwing in unusual instruments is a substitute for creative songwriting. Whereas the first half at least makes the effort to be anthemic---to poor results---the second half is content being a conglomeration of midtempo rock that goes nowhere. Unfortunately, even these anthems fail due to unconvincing melodies. ‘Stuck in the Middle’ has the album’s strongest chorus---likely because the melody was ripped straight off of Augustana’s ‘Boston’---but even this borrowed melody is ruined by the band adding its own element of passionlessly yelling “Stuck in the middle” right at the end of the chorus. Likewise, ‘Red Cup’ tries to add a backing synthesizer in an attempt to fit in with the electronic-based trends of modern pop music; however, not only does it add nothing of value to the album, the melody of the synthesizer simply rips off of the verses of Hot Chelle Rae’s ‘Tonight Tonight.’ Boys Like Girls does not even bother to disguise the similarity of choral melody between ‘Take Me Home’ and A-Ha’s ‘Take On Me’---of course, despite the inspiration the band still manages to write a hook that falls flat on its face.
The rest is simply more of the same, with nary a single positive moment to speak of. Everything sounds like a watered down version of a song from Lifehouse, Goo Goo Dolls, Train, or The Script, none of which are particularly interesting bands to start with. I don’t know what exactly Boys Like Girls tried to accomplish musically with Crazy World, and I would bet the band doesn’t know either. It's just a hastily-thrown together album of similarly tempoed songs that tries to stuff every pop trend together in hopes of finding another hit. Whistles, synthesizers, harmonicas, strings, pianos, falsetto---they’re all here. But if the band is unwilling to leave choruses that consist of lines such as “You cheated on me wo-oh,” can we expect them to have the maturity and songwriting ability to tastefully integrate these elements into a successful album? Of course not, but the absence of even one tolerable moment, of even one singalong, catchy hook in Crazy World is still a surprise. Then again, considering their previous effort, maybe it shouldn’t have been.
Yeah, I wrote this review only after two listens, but you don't really need more. It's just digestible, Top 40 Adult Contemporary crap. Think Lifehouse without any redeeming features, which is a rather big surprise considering they used to be AAR clones at their debut.
Anyways there's nothing redeeming about this album save the last minute of the last song, and that's just average at best.
I wouldn't say country at all. Really sounds like Lifehouse or The Script, but without the redeeming
features at all. It's not really surprising I guess but I wasn't expecting it to be this bad. I 1'd
the previous release but I might have to reconsider considering how awful this was.
It didn't even sound like BLG, which prob would be a good thing if it weren't for the fact that his
voice was one of the main things that made The Great Escape so damn good.
By the way, you should feel free to trash this shit too. This is probably some of the laziest
songwriting I've heard in my life.
"this sucks? I'm shocked, really." well yeah, I'm still adamant in liking the debut. Granted I was... 13? but The Great Escape was and still is my jam. One of my favorite songs to play rock band to.
"this album sucks ugh, I quite enjoy some lifehouse, they are a bit more tolerable than their other slightly more generic counterparts"
Yeah, I enjoy Lifehouse too, but they're generic as hell to begin with. I didn't really mean to bash the band. It was more of like, "Lifehouse isn't even interesting to begin with and you rip off them??"
Maybe. I don't listen to much country, but maybe what I define as adult contemporary you define as country? I've never been great with classifying stuff anyways. And which one's the Robin Sparkles intro? lol
some of this is sure to hit the radio, and while listening to music like this you always have to lower your expectations, but I feel like your rating is too harsh. It seems you just genuinely dislike this type of music which is fine but you have to consider your bias when choosing a score. The vocals are pretty good and from what I've heard so far there are some catchy hooks, although you seem to think otherwise. It is evident that this is nothing compared to their self-titled and although it is extremely different, it still resonates with that Boyslikegirls sound, even if it is country-esque. All this being said I haven't even given it a full listen just bits and pieces and will reserve my full judgement and rating for when I have listened in full. The resentment you feel towards this type of music is littered throughout your review and clouds your scoring. Top 40 crap may indeed be "crap" but it is still top 40, which implies popularity. So they must be doing something right.
" It seems you just genuinely dislike this type of music which is fine but you have to consider your bias when choosing a score."
Well, to be fair, I wasn't really expecting this. Their debut was kind of pop-punk, their latest was more pop rock. So this was just kind of out of nowhere.
"The vocals are pretty good and from what I've heard so far there are some catchy hooks, although you seem to think otherwise."
Disagreed on both fronts, but of course those are just opinions.
"It is evident that this is nothing compared to their self-titled and although it is extremely different, it still resonates with that Boyslikegirls sound, even if it is country-esque."
Agreed on the first front, disagreed on the second. However, I haven't been a huge fan since I was about 14, so I do acknowledge that you might know better what exactly the "Boyslikegirls sound" entails.
"Top 40 crap may indeed be "crap" but it is still top 40, which implies popularity."
Hm, I disagree here. I never said Top 40 is crap. It's of my opinion that popularity does not affect (positively or adversely) the music intrinsically. However, some music (like this) is tailor-made for the radio (but like I said I don't really hear anything massive enough to be a big radio hit or anything saccharine enough to be an Adult Contemporary hit a la Iris or You and Me.)
Re: me being too harsh, I have to disagree. A 1/5 to me implies that no enjoyment was derived, which is definitely true for me here (and I think I did a good job explaining why). Of course, that can be true of even a 1.5/5. The reason this gets knocked down to the worst possible rating is because the songwriting is so lazy. Let me know if you hear the melodic similarities I pointed out in my review. That kind of ripping off bands is what makes you worthy to get a 1/5.
Anyways, a lot of your differences are just difference of opinion, and you're always welcome to write a dissenting review!