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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Would-Be-Goods
The Morning After
Matinee Recordings

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


May 1, 2005
Growing older may be the single most painful truth for a pop songwriter. After a certain age, audiences begin to demand maturity, both lyrically and sonically, but pop music by definition seems to be the stuff of youth; the further one moves away from youth (both in real life and as an artist), the more difficult it becomes to truly capture the essence of the pop song. This isn't to say that challenging, literate pop music from people over the age of 30 is somehow inferior to, say, The Small Faces' early recordings, but it is to say that a Yankee Hotel Foxtrot can only congeal when the artist begins to liberate himself from certain elements of the pop form.

The Would-Be-Goods might argue that pop musicians can, in fact, have it both ways. Comprised of four women and men who have been honing their craft for the last few Presidential administrations in bands like Heavenly and Pipas, the Would-Be-Goods would appear to be too old for springtime frolic twee and two minute ABABCB structures, but they're paying no mind to the unbelievers. The Morning After is their fourth album of deceptively simple hooks and smart/sensitive wordplay, and it sounds like anything but a bunch of soccer parents trying to pass themselves off as their children's peers.

While the album's charm lies largely in the fact that it has no pretenses of being anything more than an idyllic melodic rock picnic, the Would-Be-Goods are at their most compelling when their songs give voice to their years and experience. As forthright, concise and generally pleasant as their lyrics may be, they still manage to touch on some dark themes. The title track works as a pastel-hued hangover anthem ("Last night we had fun/Now it's time to pay"), "Too Old" wrestles with middle-aged relational complacency, and "What Adam And Eve Did Next" pokes fun at the notion of paradise while also casting sex as more of a naughty solution to boredom than a spiritual merging of two fleshes. Even the band's music subtly eschews preciousness - check out the eerie tambourine clatter and reverb-bent guitar on "Bluebeard".

You'll hear no soaring guitar solos, psychedelic flourishes, jazzy interludes or poetic vagary on The Morning After, and one could easily argue that the absence of such touches suggests that none of the Would-Be-Goods have grown as artists since 1994. By openly exploring the deeper forms of manipulation, the exploded ideals, the embarrassing drunken episodes and the muting of intensity that comes with growing older, however, the band shushes the naysayers still and manages to do so without moving an inch from every pop fetishist's most basic paradigm.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan

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