By Metro Station
Metro Station are the guilty party behind 'Shake It,' and seem set to be 2009's version of Hellogoodbye, better known as the guilty party behind 'Here (In Your Arms).'
Current, radio-bothering single 'Shake It' is love-to-hate electro-pop naffness that really is a case of once heard, never forgotten. Shamelessly upbeat, irritatingly catchy, and overflowing with cheesy synths and poppy lyrics, 'Shake It' has no credibility whatsoever, but that doesn't stop it from being great. Who knew that a chorus that's basically just "shake shake shake shake shake it" repeated over and over again, could a chart-bothering single make?
'Seventeen Forever' is Metro Station's stab at a generational anthem, and will probably go down a storm with younger fans, but it lacks the aggressive buoyancy of 'Shake It.' This song has little appeal for anyone who can't identify with the "you're not going to be seventeen forever" chorus.
'Wish We Were Older' makes another play for the teeny bopper market, and in doing so actually makes 'Seventeen Forever' seem like the epitome of subtle sophistication. The chorus of "whoa-ee-oh-oh, whoa-eh-oh-oh, I wish we were older" recalls the worst of 90's dance music, and is thoroughly cringe-worthy, as is co-frontmen Mason Musso and Trace Cyrus' attempts to sound seductive. In reality, they just sound mental.
Make sure you avoid 'Wish We Were Older' at all costs and, while you're at it, avoid 'Tell Me What To Do' as well, which is quite possibly the shallowest, most radio-friendly song ever written about cocaine addiction. The semi-rapped, semi-spoken vocals at times sound like something straight off a Goldie Lookin' Chain album.
If you overlook another unwanted dose of cringe-worthy, faux-hormonal spoken-word vocals, 'Control' is half-decent, bright and breezy electro-pop. Leaning more towards the 'electro' end of the cross-genre spectrum, 'Control' is packed with hooky synths. A dark electro crunch, industrial backing beats and whining, Euro-pop synths make for a slick and stylish verse, and the chorus is the predictable sugar rush of big, poppy vocals and electro fizz. If it wasn't for that appalling, spoken-word bridge section, 'Control' would be cheesy electro to rival 'Shake It.'
Musically, 'Kelsey' is actually pretty catchy, but it's let down by insipid and hook-free lyrics, meaning that the electro-heavy, instrumental interludes are actually the best thing about this song.
The same can be said for 'Now That We're Done. It's catchy enough, and the emo, relationship-centric lyrics keep the song ticking over, but it's missing any major hook.
Thankfully, things pick up slightly for the hand-clap punctuated electro of 'True To Me.' Metro Station finally seem to realise that the bloodless teenage angst of 'Now That We're Done' and 'Kelsey' is doing them no favours, and treat us to a sugary chorus of sing along, neatly rhyming lyrics and shiny hooks. However, Metro Station can't quite help themselves, and also 'treat' us to another toe-curling, spoken-word bridge section. But, dire bridge section aside, 'True To Me' is frothy electro-pop that you'll want to hate, but won't quite be able to.
'California' is a more low-key number, with a twitchy electro beat that keeps this song puttering along, while a liberal helping of twinkling synths give it a poppy shimmer. Hand-clapping sound effects and Metro Station's habit of sticking "oh-oh" on the end of every other word, make this a piece of maddeningly catchy, snappy electro-pop. One of the album's stronger offerings.
'Disco' ploughs a similar, laidback furrow, with its crunching, darker beats and glacial-cool synths. Even the chorus is less in-your-face, as the indistinguishable Musso/Cyrus combo trot out a neat, if not particularly inspired, holler of "you know she's dancing at the disco / whoa-oh-oh." After nine songs of brash, hormone-riddled electro-pop cheese, 'Disco' might just feel like the most mature song you've ever heard.
Bonus track 'After The Fall' is the most grown-up song on this teeny-courting album. Following in 'Disco' and 'California's footsteps, it serves up light-electro overlaid with buzzy synths. But, by far the greatest thing about this song is that Metro Station's co-vocalists finally drop the fake-seductive whinge, and actually begins to sound halfway normal. Their decision to stop trying so painfully hard, makes for one of the album's most sincere-sounding moments.
It's easy to see why 'Shake It' is getting Metro Station some serious radio play at the moment, it is, after all, a great song. The rest of this album, however, is not. The hormonally-charged lyrics often border on lecherous, and lack any genuine feeling. Even worse, the whole thing is polished to a characterless and soulless shine.
Despite all this, Metro Station's debut album charted at number one in the US Top Electronic Albums chart and has so far shifted 400,000 copies over in the United States. And, with 'Shake It' charting at number six in the UK charts, Metro Station's full-length seems set to enjoy similar success over here. I'm just not really sure why.