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CD Reviews: Jimmy Eat World, Har Mar Superstar


Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 21, 2004
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Jimmy Eat World - Futures
4 out of 10

Jimmy Eat World's Futures sounds like a mix of the band's last two records.

For much of the album, they stay true to the radio-friendly sound of Bleed American. "Jen" is annoyingly poppy, with a melody straight out of Fountains of Wayne, while "Pain" suffers from a problem that's present throughout the album: terrible lyrics.

"Anyone can find the same white pills, it takes my pain away," laments Jim Adkins in "Pain." I rolled my eyes, I cringed and scratched my head. Sure, subtlety isn't exactly a staple of emo music, but at least Adkins used to only allude to some of these lyrical themes.

And then it got worse. In the terribly titled intervention ballad "Drugs or Me," he continues "Keep my heart a place where drugs don't go," before alerting his friend that, "I can't tell you from the drugs."

The album does have its stronger moments with mid-tempo Clarity-esque rockers. With soft verses and Adkins' signature strained vocals over the chorus, "Polaris" doesn't show growth, but at least it doesn't fall into the saccharine trap that so much of the album does. "Futures" is a strong opener with one of the harder riffs and a soaring chorus, which also propels "Work" to a listenable level.

The band has said in interviews that they wanted this album to be darker, and they fired pop-producer Mark Trombino to help make that happen. But I don't buy Jimmy as a bunch of depressed musicians. These lyrics can't be taken seriously with catchy melodies, falsetto background vocals and constant hooks.

I'll take another listen when they cheer up.

- Nate Buchik

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Har Mar Superstar - The Handler
7 out of 10

Constantly battling rumors that he doubles for Ron Jeremy and does vocal work for Stevie Wonder, Harold Martin Tillman, aka Sean Tillman, aka Har Mar Superstar, sexes up his listening audience with his newly released The Handler.

Hot and heavy off the presses, The Handler is hit or miss, but when it hits, it is Har Mar at his best. In his song "Save the Strip," Har Mar treats his listeners to some of his staple lyrics, "Looking for a thrill Candy/I can taste (Rivers)/Dripping from your panties/We are getting so randy/One more night /Twisted by a little brandy." With lyrics like those, Har Mar defends the white R&B scene with the tenacity of a sexy, sweaty whirling dervish. He dazzles his listeners with songs pockmarked with '90s-era boy band fodder while substituting in his patented garish rhymes.

Har Mar's songs quickly transform into anthems for bodies grinding on the dance floor. The best track on his new album is "DUI" (Dialing Under the Influence), which tells the sad story that is dialing up drunken booty calls late at night. This song is a DJ's dream come true, featuring Jackson 5-era soul mixed with a tambourine and a chorus that just won't quit.

The Handler also features Karen O and Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the lesser-known three-member female hip-hop group Northern State. The legacy that is Har Mar Superstar is blessed with a fan base dedicated to seeing his impeccable live shows and listening to his sensitive rap ballads. Just like all his other albums, Har Mar Superstar is always ready to "drop you on this track and kick it straight to you."

- Dan Shapiro



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