The incessant rise of pop-rock, with its catchy beats and brain cell-killing lyrics, is an evil vacuum capable of sucking innocent bystanders into a world of corny adolescence. To be part of this new wave of TRL rock, find yourself an attractive lead singer, write a catchy song (only three chords needed!) and whine about the perils of growing up or, perhaps, recent relationship problems that are just so totally sad.
American Hi-Fi is one of these cookie cutter bands and first made a splash in 2001 with the radio hit single “Flavor of the Weak.” Since then, they’ve been consistently cranking out similar tunes in which frontman (and former member of Letters to Cleo and Veruca Salt) Stacy Jones professes odes to exes and oppressors. Their newest album, The Art of Losing, proves (along with a bucketload of other pop-rock bands) that integrity or creativity is the last stipulation to get in the way of making some serious dough.
Though members of a somewhat limited genre, American Hi-Fi do manage to offer a few good tunes on The Art of Losing, though it’s recommended not to pay too much attention to lyrical content. “Built for Speed,” despite its vague description of a “rock ‘n’ roll girl,” has a catchy, upbeat rhythm and sharp vocals that interject alongside the thumping drumbeats.
Their title single is another fun jingle that makes use of nonsensical, single-syllable exclamations like “hey,” “ho” and “wo” that are better left to the Ramones. Meanwhile, “Nothing Left to Lose” is reminiscent of the lovable ’80s pop normally played while roller skating under the disco ball.
Though there are better financial investments than purchasing The Art of Losing, Jones and posse have created yet another triumph of mediocre mall music. Listening to the lyrics will likely make you feel stupider, but the beats are energetic enough to keep your toes tappin’.
[Sara Smith thinks that spelling “week” like “weak” ain’t all that clever. Sorry.]