February 25, 2003
The Art of Losing
The album starts off with the fast-paced title track. It’s a fun track with lots of energy and a bit of punky edge. It has a nice riff that gets stuck in your head and you’ll find yourself shouting along to the chorus pretty fast. Good way to start the album.
The Breakup Song
The album continues in the same tradition with The Breakup Song. It sounds a bit like Wheatus with firecrackers up their asses. Great radio single material. It’s an alternative to their previous hit single Flavor of the Weak. It has the same feel but it sounds different. But I would call this another American Hi-Fi signature song.
Beautiful Disaster sounds a bit like an anachronism. Sounds like an early 90s alternative rock song. It’s one of my favorite AHF songs. It has that cheeky spirit and is performed with balls. Here’s a band that knows what they want and they bring it with tons of conviction.
This song is somewhere in between Switchfoot, Collective Soul, Stone Temple Pilots and Story of the Year, topped off with some Cheap Trick. You know just as well as I do that if I mention this amount of bands, it doesn’t sound like one or the other but like American Hi-Fi. And once again they found a way to create a song that sounds familiar and new at the same time.
Nothing Left To Lose
Like contemporaries Bush, Blur & especially Weezer, American Hi-Fi is able to make rock sexy again. And maybe together with Weezer, they are the ones that succeed best. The ‘na na na na na’ is one of those little things the band can let the crowd sing during a live show to get the interaction with the fans this band is so well-known for.
Teenage Alien Nation
Teenage Alien Nation with it’s untamed energy and ambition and driving sound is one of the best songs on the album. At times they take down the pace in the song to strike back with unbelieveble energy. Long live American Hi-Fi.
I was never a really big fan of Rise even though I don’t really have anything against it at all. I just never really got into it. I think it’s also that I feel that Stacy’s vocals don’t come out as well as they often do. And some parts of the song are slightly repetitive. I once described this song as a collaboration between Nine Inch Nails & David Bowie that didn’t completely work out. I don’t really feel that way about it anymore, but the song still doesn’t really convince me.
This Is The Sound
This indeed is the sound. American Hi-Fi produces another little gem here. They show their talent and passion. All these guys are true musicians and This Is The Sound could be described as another American Hi-Fi signature song. They have the right mix of (semi-)acousticness and full blown music like Nirvana did in their prime, even though the sound is closer to The Cars. Most of all it’s just 100% American Hi-Fi!
The Gold Rush
The Gold Rush has a bit of an industrial feel and though American Hi-Fi does this well it sounds a little out of place to my ears. The song, on itself, deserves credit, but on the album I’m not entirely sure about it.
Built For Speed
Go AHF. Another typical American Hi-Fi song. High energy, catchy, pure rock & roll yet fit for radio. I don’t think I really need to say more. This one sticks in your head and despite the fullspeed tempo it’s a good sing-along. Great song.
American Hi-Fi tried to do things a little differently on Happy and I must say I’m not too enthusiastic about it. I feel similar as I did with The Gold Rush. It sounds a bit out of place. It kinda sounds like 3 Doors Down covering Nine Inch Nails with a different vocalist. In itself it’s good, but it doesn’t really fit.
After crashing into the modern rock scene with their self-titled debut, American Hi-Fi confirms they are here to stay with “The Art of Losing”. With commericially well-chosen songs and gutsy rock & roll they convince one person after the other that they have what it takes. They might not be the most renewing band but they have a gift of creating songs that sound familiar yet new at the same time. It’s something a band needs to do to reach their audience. And American Hi-Fi is working on establishing a good name for themselves and a loyal fan base. Expect to hear a lot more from these guys!