A GENTLE REMINDER TO AVOID THIS INSANELY DULL BAND
I’m sure that there are people in this world who consider The Jealous Sound their favorite band (they wouldn’t be getting paid to play music if there weren’t). But, for the life of me, I can’t figure who those people are and why they listen to stuff like this. I’m really not sitting up on my music snob high horse. For as much as hearing LMFAO’s music makes me want to eat my ears (and certainly neither party nor rock), I can understand their fan base. We all need something to listen to when we’re drunk. For as much as the majority of emo music sounds like self-pitying high school garbage, I can comprehend the allure of their ballads non-conformist fans. The Jealous Sound, though? They’re a mystery. Their music is simple. Their lyrics are cliché. Their lead singer isn’t overtly bad, but certainly forgettable. Maybe forgettable is a bad word. Unnoticeable is much more appropriate. They’re entire album, A Gentle Reminder (even the title is embarrassingly timid), had about as much of a lasting impression on me as “Chocolate Rain.”
I can’t emphasize enough how hard I’m trying not to be a bully here, but what does this band have to offer? Almost every song on the album (ten tracks and forty-five mind-numbing minutes) is in the same key, has the same tempo and, from what I can tell, uses all of the same chords. Their bassist, Nate Mendel (YES the guy from Foo Fighters), basically does the work of a metronome by plucking away at one chord on every single track. I’m not criticizing Mendel, it just seemed strange that he would even bother. Why use Garage Band when Nate Mendel can do it, I guess? He actually only came on for the album (along with Bob Penn on drums) as a personal favor to the band’s driving creative force, the Blair Shehan. The former front man of Knapsack (and, seriously, who didn’t love Knapsack?) serves as both songwriter and guitarist, which makes sense, because both aspects are uninspired and about as entertaining as a filibuster. His trite guitar follows the lead of the bass by looping three or four chords on every song so as to achieve their goal of never garnering your attention. All of the songs just sound like a beat you’d teach your beginners music class to carry to learn what being a band is in the simplest definition.
I could maybe find a way to forgive them for boring to the point of actually wanting to listen to the radio if it weren’t for some of the worst lyrics that I’ve heard in some time. The opening track, “A Beautiful Morning,” gives us the penetrating scenario of “It was a beautiful morning/ I got stuck in my driveway.” I wouldn’t even tell that story to a friend let alone be compelled to write a song about it. That’s actually one of the more intriguing moments of the album. Most of the time, they resort to feigned self-pity, like when in “Here Comes the Ride” he plainly states, “I have such regret!” I’m not buying it. Regret has to sound more interesting than this.