Arizona Summer Wildcat
Wednesday July 9, 2003
Keep It Together
For many students, summer is a chance to catch up on their zzzzz's. But for those who find themselves struggling to go to bed after a long, hot day in the sun, Guster has an answer: its new album, Keep It Together.
Although the 12 tracks on this CD don't quite fall into the elevator music category, they are certainly sleepers ÷ a huge step down from the band's older tunes on Goldfly, Lost and Gone Forever and Parachute
Perhaps the difference lies in Guster's attempts to produce a different sound ÷ a bad idea for a group that had such a distinct sound of its own. Guster used to be recognizable for its down-to-earth, laid-back percussion sounds that accompanied the trio's melodic voices. Although the melodic voices are still present on Keep It Together they are now nearly drowned out by long, over-amplified guitar chords. At times it sounds as if the band started to put itself to sleep while they played their own instruments, thus accounting for the dreadful drone that envelops the voices of the otherwise talented musicians.
Sadly, it appears that the quality of Guster's previous songs truly were lost and gone forever with that album. If only they could have actually kept it together this time.
Rating: This new album was a waste of Guster's time and my time. If you got this one for free like we did, chuck it. It's not worth the space in your Caselogic.
This Arizona red-rock native attempts to rock again with her second album on the Maverick label, Hotel Paper, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 list. Her hit single, "Are you happy now?" fits perfectly into the lives of all those broken-hearted pop fans that need theme songs to be-bop in their Jettas on the way to the mall.
Although the overly simple and trite lyrics (read: bad eighth-grade poetry) can get annoying if overplayed, Branch brings them to life with her girly, but not whiney, voice. The lyrics "Could you look me in the eye and tell me that you're happy now? Would you tell it to my face, or have I been erased? Are you happy now," might seem a little sophomoric for the sophisticated and cultured UA crowd, or not. It seems Branch represents the Grand Canyon state pretty accurately, and the rest of the nation is eating it up.
Rating: If you own a new Jetta and you can't wait to taste the new flavor at Penguin's this week, then this album's for you. Everyone else, plug your ears as you pass 93.7 on your radio tuner, this music can lower your IQ faster than you can say Radiohead.