September 29, 2008
The album opens with the haunting Plan B, which is a typical a balladeer song. With good hooks and smart tempo/mood changes and clever lyrics and empathic vocals a convincing pop song without too many fancy effects is created that sets the mood for the album perfectly.
Jesus Doesn’t Love Me
Jesus Doesn’t Love Me is a serious contender to be the follow-up single for this album. It has a certain gentleness, and catchiness that is just right for today’s radio format. a balladeer cleverly uses some spiritual music influences in the song along with slick guitar hooks with some interesting effects and Marinus’ strong, empathic vocals put this song right inside your head.
When Dean Was The Man (And Monroe Always Smiled)
The album continues with one of its strongest tracks ever written by a Dutch band. When Dean Was The Man is quite simple in essence, but the beauty lies in it’s essence. Marinus convinces you with this song, and the music (the keys are wonderfully arranged, pay attention to that) just adds to that effect. You will find that this song has everything to be big and with a good reason. It just has everything a good song needs.
Nightmare on Elm Street
This song, in which Jackie Kennedy plays a role, took some getting used to, but the more alternative, underground sound that a balladeer displays on Nightmare on Elm Street is executed with precision (rhythmically this is a very tight song, not as simple as it seems) and it creates an atmosphere that fits with the song (title). It’s something different, but a balladeer proves they are multi-talented like that.
Oh California is an interesting song as it finds a great middle way between being a rhythmic and a melodic song. Lyrically I believe it to be one of the stronger songs on this excellent album. Maybe it doesn’t show a balladeer’s best metaphors, but the lyrics just tell an honest story that you can play in your head. And one of the band’s strongest sides is to create the exact right atmosphere with the song & its lyrics. They nailed it again.
Mary Had A Secret
Lead off single Mary Had A Secret is an instant hit in the likes of the band’s previous hit, Swim With Sam and is already being embraced by radio stations around the country (and outside the country). The uptempo, catchy melody with its playful lyrics (inspired by the lead singer’s own experiences) has a format that seems to be created for radio play. (and I mean this in a positive way, like this song naturally works on radio, it’s not forcefully written to be a radio hit).
Superman Can’t Move His Legs
For me, this is probably my favorite. It mixes personal experiences with Hollywood America and things that everyone can relate to. With lyrics that can only be written by Marinus de Goederen. This band knows how to paint you a picture and they aren’t afraid of using language that is open to interpretation. Musically this song has more than you might hear the first time you listen to it. The composition and arrangements are cleverly fit into eachother and worked out to a complete musical package. And the band knows exactly when to emphasize the vocals, or the keys, or speed up (or slow down) the tempo. This song is ultimate proof that pop music can still be a work of art.
The impressive Poster Child is up next. This song is actually an older song by this band that they performed live on several occasions. It is inspired by the horrible events involving the murder of American student Matthew Shepard, 10 years ago. The lead singer took a great personal interest in these developments and was so inspired that he wrote a song about it, also partially influenced by the speech the victim’s father delivered later. Though not one of the first songs to be released about Matthew, it is one of the first I know that were written about the subject. The first time I heard this song, years ago, I was immensely impressed, and to have a clear studio version of the song now only does justice to both the sentiments and the beauty of this song. Good use of metaphors and imagery, as well as implementing news items about the actual case, with a mellow piano melody underneath it just gives this song the right feel.
Welcome To Vegas
On Welcome To Vegas, a balladeer shows a little more of an industrial/underground sound, which, though I like it, doesn’t seem to be the obvious choice for this band. Their ability to create atmospheric and melodic pop songs with clever lyrics and delivered with conviction and passion is what this band does best, and now that they step away from that and do things slightly different, I need some time to adjust to that. I can only say that the band does this well too, but because I’m not used to them doing this kind of thing it sounds a little weird.
Alright, Mr. DeMille
Alright, Mr. Demille is an alternative pop song that delves into the story of Cecil DeMille. Where DeMille was an interesting yet eccentric personality, this track shows some of the same qualities. It has a very interesting sound and arrangement, is both melodic and alternative, and leaves me wondering what I actually think of it. One day I think it’s brilliant (has a bit of a Counting Crows feel at times) and another day I think that the song’s just weird. But either way, I do feel something with the song, which is a quality in itself.
Where Are You, Bambi Woods?
The title track about the illustrous actress Bambi Woods from Debbie Does Dallas. Dallas, interestingly, being the place where the lead singer has lived for about a year. With a lush and interesting piano melody and slightly darker lyrics there is an interesting contrast in this song that works really well. The song shows curiosity as well as acceptance and is relatively short, which I think was a deliberate choice. I think it’s a good title track but not one of the best songs on the album.
The album closer, America America, once again influenced by the time Marinus spent in the United States, is a song that I hold dear. As many of you know, I have a deep connection with the States as well. It’s not so much the lyrics literally that I can relate to per se, but the sentiment in the song, I do really recognize. Besides, musically this song is excellent. It’s nothing you’ll ever hear on the radio and it’s not something to dance to or bop your head to, but with the strings and keys, and percussion, and general sound, they create a very atmospheric, sometimes even symphonic sound that is rich and full and full of sentiment.
a balladeer did it again. “Where Are You, Bambi Woods?” might be even more impressive as it’s predecessor, “Panama”. With excellent songs like Superman Can’t Move His Legs, When Dean Was The Man, Poster Child & Mary Had A Secret (among others), a balladeer shows once again that they can combine rhythm, melody, imaginative lyrics and the ability to create the right atmosphere/sentiment with the song. “Where Are You, Bambi Woods?” is destined to be another big hit.