Sunday, July 4, 2010

Album Review: METRO STATION – METRO STATION (Columbia/Sony BMG)

First up, the entertainment value of this, the latest musical offering from the latest musical offspring of Bill Ray Cyrus, is pretty inarguable. Metro Station is a sunny and no-doubt honest account of being really horny and cooler than everyone else, which a brief flip through the lyric booklet tells you occupies much of Bad Boy™ Trace Cyrus's time. Lyrics like "Tonight we'll touch / and they won't know / I know you're dying to take off your clothes / just trust in me" (NO! DON'T!) / "I'll never run away" (YOU WILL! YOU'RE ON DRUGS!) / you kiss my lips / and taste my pain / and while I'm pushing and moving / somehow you manage to say / I wish we were older ' (Wish We Were Older) and titles such as Seventeen Forever indicate that life is pretty damn grand for these guys.

While it is easy to wet yourself laughing at Metro Station (and indeed, Metro Station), the album does have an oddly unpretentious production and the band certainly aren't hiding their feelings or trying to be anyone they're not. Every song is about or for a girl (or uses the Only Ones' drug-as-girl metaphor – Metro Station like to keep some things ambiguous), a girl who they love (or desire) despite her drug problems (Tell Me What To Do), depression (Disco), infidelities (Now That We're Done), who won't put out (Kelsey), who will (Control) or who they want to run away with to California 'while the radio collides to the sound of our heartbeats' (California).

Though Metro Station is likely to be soundtracking some LA pool party as you read this and has been in the Billboard charts for months, you can't help but wonder if any of this success stops Billy Ray from thinking 'what the fuck is this homo shit? You ain't even got a real drummer'. That this album is so blatantly electro pop and Cyrus a skinny, heavily tattooed guy who looks alarmingly like a member of LA Guns is only the first curiosity about this band. They're a weird mix of bedroom strummer Mason Musso, electro-nerd Blake Healy (neither of whom will be bothering Cyrus for number of personal Myspace love devotions anytime soon), and newbie drummer Anthony Improgo, all driven over by the production team of S*A*M and Sluggo. The lack of guitars and absence of real drums works for and against Metro Station; it's shiny, it's light, it's fresh, but it's also tinny, weak and sounds best on cheap speakers. Whether anyone actually cares enough about the music to get past the intense styling this band have been given or the 'OMG Trace yr so shmexi!!!!'-vibe is doubtful, as is the likelihood of any purchaser being over the age of 18.

With ten songs and none over 3:40 no one can accuse them of outstaying their welcome. That is, if you'd like to be welcomed into their world of Christian sex (where the copulation never quite happens and the tension is never explored), the first thrills of drug-taking and declarations of transient love, where the lingering smell of copious hair product never fades and everyone's clothes are in artful disarray. Plenty do.

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