Monday, April 27, 2009
Assessment! Tinted Windows
I'll admit it: one of the first albums I ever bought was Hanson's "Middle of Nowhere" and I definitely swooned over the Hanson bros hardcore. I'll also say that I am not a fan of Smashing Pumpkins nor have I ever really listened to Cheap Trick (besides "I Want You to Want Me"). Fountains of Wayne's "Prom Theme" definitely made me shed a single tear while their video for "Stacy's Mom" caused me to erupt in laughter.
So when I heard about the new mega-group, Tinted Windows, bringing together the middle-Hanson brother, Taylor, with former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger and Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos, my initial response was "Whaaaat?" followed by "Ummm."
But I decided to give it a chance because, ever since I was dragged by my sophomore year roommate Amanda to see them in 2008 at The Calvin Theater in Northampton, I believe the Hanson brothers are actually legitimate musicians with way more to offer than just their 1997 debut album. "Middle of Nowhere," and wildly popular single, "Mmmbop."
I found myself bobbing my head and tapping my foot during several of the songs. With the tight vocals, T. Hanson shows his skills. The other musicians blend together and really make it happen. The first track, "Kind of Girl," is reminiscent of a Fountains of Wayne song with all of the 'oh oh's" and "woah woah"s. The second track is much of the same. "Messing With My Head" has an abundance of joyous "c'mon, c'mon"s between a simple verse: "Well you've been messing with my head/ for oh so long now."
The song titles are obvious. There are some ballads in there. It is full of strong pop-sensibilities, especially the third track, "Dead Serious," which has sincere harmonies. "Nothing to Me" is just what one would assume a song with that title would be about: someone who means nothing to whoever wrote the song.
"Cha Cha" is one of the lamer songs, but it still has that catchy and carefree vibe, even though it seems to be about someone who needs someone, explained through the lyric "I just want you to hear me./ I just want you to heal me./ You're my cha cha."
In the end, people need to put aside their assumptions when it comes to any project associated with any one of the Hanson brothers and let themselves enjoy this rocking album. It is laced with some musical skill and catchy melodies. It would definitely translate well into a live setting, a live, fun-loving, carefree setting.