July 1, 2003
If This Is The End Of The World
The album starts with If This Is The End Of The World, which is an uptempo rocker with some good rock hooks and loud guitars, topped off with some of the better rock vocals in modern rock. Though this band is lyrically strong, this is not their best song, lyrically.
Taken For A Ride
With Taken For A Ride, AM Radio has a possible hit on their hands. And it’s doing quite well in the underground circuit, and has gotten some good media exposure. With some obvious 80s & early 90s influences, Taken For A Ride can fare along on the success of bands like Stroke 9, O.A.R. & especially American Hi-Fi. The driving guitars and well-balanced hasty vocals are in perfect synch.
I Just Wanna Be Loved
I Just Wanna Be Loved is one of the band’s more mainstream songs, but the 80s rock & roll influences are definitely there for everyone to hear. I especially urge you to listen to the drums and how they interact with the guitar hooks. This would be a likely radio single candidate.
The next song has some Jimmy Eat World & Weezer influences I’d say, but also has a Bowling For Soup like uptempo likeability. The catchy rock & roll song is lyrically profound and musically very appealing to the rock fan. Good hooks, great vocals and amazing drums that keep this song steadily in the driver’s seat.
We then hear Media Life, a more alternative song with some cross-over influences. A bit of an Incubus/311 sound has crept into the straight-forward rock & roll, and it works remarkably well. AM Radio proves to be a diverse rock band with very professional and talented musicians that all know how to do their part in the songwriting and execution of the songs.
The catchy tune Cold Blue is another possible radio single. Lyrically it is one of the very best on this record and the vocals and guitar are meant to be in the same song. The build-up of the song is well-written and when Ridel goes into falsetto, he shows he really is a great rock & roll singer.
Oh Oh Oh
The fast-paced Oh Oh Oh makes for a great live song, which is when this band is at its best. It also is one of the best tracks on this album, one that gets stuck in your head forever and is a blast to rock out and sing along to.
Take Time is one of the lesser songs on the album. Musically the song is great, but it just doesn’t stand out as much as many of the other tracks, because it sounds more like other bands out there. Nonetheless, the song is pretty sweet.
Becoming You has always been my least favorite song on the album. This band is just at its best when they are energetic and uptempo, with songs you can’t wait to rock out to bust a move, but this song invites less to do that than any of the others. If they were Austrian I’d say they’re pulling an Opus.
I’ve always had a thing for Neverwill. The raw and ambitious rock sound with hints 90s alternative rock (Letters To Cleo/Oasis/The Muffs) just jumps off the record into your face and makes you want to be a part of it. Neverwill is the band’s best rock & roll effort and they prove to be a rock collective with a whole lot of potential.
Stole The Show
Stole The Show reminds me a lot of contemporaries 3 Doors Down when they put on their rock masks instead of their pop masks. The strong guitars and fiery vocals make for an uptempo alt-rocker that many fans will enclose in their hearts for years to come.
Tomorrow I’ll Be Gone
The uptempo and catchy rocker Tomorrow I’ll Be Gone has a high amount of Weezer-ness in it but it still sounds like it’s completely AM Radio. The band does a very neat job in working the hooks and lyrics into a commercially attractive rock song.
Distant Shining Star
A co-write by frontman Kevin Ridel & bassist Bryce Soderberg, Distant Shining Star shows that if this band wants to, they can come up with something else than the uptempo altrockers inspired by 80s/90s rock bands. The midtempo anthem features some of the best vocals and shows the strong melodic side of the band. Also lyrically the song deserves a lot of credit.
Unfortunately “Radioactive” didn’t bring super fame to this band, but it did them quite well with songs featured on popular TV shows and the ability to tour in interesting places. And that’s pretty much what fits this band and the record. The songs are strong and straight-forward, and you can’t deny they rock!