Keven's Music Review: TRAIN – California 37
Published: April 20, 2012 - 9:05am
Train have created some of their best music in years on their sixth studio effort. The Grammy award winning rock outfit have one of the largest hills to climb following up their ridiculously overplayed 'Hey Soul Sister' and I think they've accomplished this feat by ignoring the hype and just having fun.
Pat Monahan is one of the best singers around. His vocals soar and are always the highlight on every Train effort, but guitarist Jimmy Stafford and drummer Scot Underwood should be applauded for their subdued performances which compliment their singer tremendously. The band's sixth studio album is a laid back, rock pop offering that is loaded with a ton of radio friendly hits that never feel like they're catering to radio and that's what makes Train so damn good all these years later when people kept writing them off.
'California 37' is one hell of an upbeat rock record despite a few too many pop culture references scattered throughout, which felt out of place for some reason. Rappers can get away with mentioning the current type of rim and manufacturer of shoe they currently own, but when rock and roll does it, it feels lazy or something. The only blatant use of this which truly annoyed me was on the song 'Mermaid', in which Monahan constantly mentions Johnny Depp and a remote island. The only person who can sing about Depp is Michael Bolton.
Lead single 'Drive By' is about as sleazy as Train can get, with lines like "Oooh the way you do me" and although it does have that 'Hey Soul Sister' vibe, I think it's the better song personally. I was worried the first play through that Train were trying to repeat the same formula that re-ignited their career a couple years ago but I'd like to think they can win a Grammy without rehashing that formula every record going forward. If you listen to 'This'll Be My Year', it's very clear that Train have continued to evolve tremendously. That aforementioned song is one of the best they've ever produced by the way.
There are misfires which prevent 'California 37' from being the ultimate Train offering, but they are very minor. 'You Can Finally Meet My Mom' sounds like a song off the 'Step Brothers' soundtrack when Monahan sings it. Yet even then, it's still catchy as hell much like the entire record which infectiously reels you in after several listens. Train have done it again with 'California 37', reaffirming that their comeback two years ago was not a fluke, but a sign of even better things to come. Bababooie.
1. "This'll Be My Year"
2. "Drive By"
3. "Feels Good at First"
4. "Bruises" (featuring Ashley Monroe)
5. "50 Ways to Say Goodbye"
6. "You Can Finally Meet My Mom"
7. "Sing Together"
9. "California 37"
10. "We Were Made for This"
11. "When the Fog Rolls In"