lazyhome         reviews         hype         new.gif (913 bytes) webboard                interviews


Bleu

Redhead

Aware/Columbia


I am often attacked as being someone who doesn't like pop music. I don't know where this comes from. I love pop music. I grew up listening to Boston and Styx and Journey, graduating to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, always listening to Omaha's "rock" station -- Z-92. It wasn't until I was a senior in High School that I began listening to underground / college / indie music, thanks to a good friend (now passed, unfortunately) who introduced me to The Butthole Surfers and The Dead Kennedys and a bunch of West Coast skatecore music. It continued from there, but I never lost my love for good pop music.

That said, here's the best straight-up pop-rock CD I've heard so far in this Year of Our Lord 2003. It has every prerequisite of exquisite pop -- the souring chorus that begs you to sing along at every listen, the great-big-fat-sweet guitar parts that pull it all together like a celebration for something bigger than it ever hoped to be, and the centerpiece crooner with pitch-perfect tone giving an emotional testimony to every love song ever written.

This is, in some regards, a throwback recording, taking all the best touches from the great pop that came before it (everything from Todd Rundgren to ELO to Queen to Semisonic to The Beatles) and molding it into something new and at the same time, altogether familiar. I liken this to a collection of songs you'd hear on the radio… if it were 1978. Unlike the stool samples that today's FM peddles, this would actually sound good in your car -- it's something you and your friends can scream out the windows without sounding like you're on the way to a drive-by or a ritualistic sacrifice.

Boston-born Bleu McAuley (the Bleu of Bleu) knows his way around a rock anthem, and surrounds himself with some familiar faces, including background vocalists Dan Wilson (Semisonic) and Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish), soloist Phil Solem (The Rembrandts), and engineer Dave Richards (David Bowie's Heroes), to name a few. But not every song is a fist-pumping, hand-waving anthem. There's a couple pretty ballads thrown in for good measure, all of it appropriate for use in your run-of-the-mill blockbuster movie (in fact, track "Somebody Else" was used in the Spiderman soundtrack).

The best thing I can say about Redhead is that I've been listening to it on and off for more than a month and I'm still not tired of it, I still reach for it when I want to hear something that'll make me smile. What more do you want from your pop music?


back torevhead.gif (1924 bytes)   Posted Oct. 9, 2003. Copyright 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Rating: Yes

Obligatory pull-quote: "I liken this to a collection of songs you'd hear on the radio… if it were 1978."