Monday, May 30, 2011

What's the Deal?

I feel like Ted Leo's influences are pretty easy to spot. Dude is obviously really into The Jam and The Byrds, and The Flamin' Groovies and a bunch of power-pop groups that have that great, small-scale sense of heroism about them. They're made up of guys who make great poppy rock tunes and recognize that the implied popularity of that music (hence the name) is immaterial. I like Ted Leo's records fairly well and don't mind that some of his songs sound like songs from other bands. But his song "2nd Ave., 11 A.M." is such a strange, overtly piecemeal conglomeration of two songs that the end effect is distracting. This song is clearly the Rites of Spring song "By Design" combined with the Rembrandts' theme song for the show "Friends". It's a weird juxtaposition yet even if it combined two songs that ruled (I love RoS and am a sensible human and hate the "Friends" song accordingly) "2nd Ave." still wouldn't work. It's no fun to hear something whose construction is so transparent; consisting of clearly discernible parts, "2nd Ave." feels like a laboredmath equation. On an album with lots of rad tunes ("High Party", "Ballad of a Sin Eater", "Where Have All the Rudeboys Gone?"), this one is out of place.

No comments: