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Artist: Something Corporate
Label: Drive-Thru
Genre: Punk
Release: Jan 2002   My Rating: 0
Duration: 4:22
Summary: I had to find this album in the "punk" bins, likely owing to the fact that this album was released on Drive-Thru records, a haven for Southern California punk bands. As soon as you hear the opening chords of "I Want To Save You" you know this is not a punk album. Like, I mean, who ever heard of a piano in a punk band?

This is the inaugural full-length release from the Dana Point, CA group, having released several of the songs on the album on an earlier EP called "Audioboxer". One more thing that is apparent right from the start of the album is that the writing is not typical of a bunch of 19 year-old kids. It is smart, sexy, and melodic, influenced by years of Elton John and The Beach Boys yet definitely sporting a large dose of New Found Glory and Simple Plan. Most of the writing is done by pianist/frontman Andrew McMahon. McMahon has a way of taking the experiences, the positives and negatives of his everyday life and turning them into engaging and sometimes uncomfortable anecdotes, the verbage put to music with a definite hook. Guitarist Partington has his say on the album as well, his edgier music providing a great counterbalance for some of McMahon's softer offerings.

This album has everything from pure pop, to punk, to heart-wrenching ballads about the effect being on the road has on a relationship. "Cavanaugh Park" is a gentle reflection about growing up in suburban southern California, while "Drunk Girl" is a somewhat embarrassed look at the consequences of overindulgence. All in all, this is a good addition to any music collection, with enough angst to satisfy the teenage crowd yet enough intelligence to please any adult listener. Based on this album, Something Corporate holds the promise of great things to come.

Artist: Something Corporate
Label: Geffen Records
Genre: Alternative
Release: Jan 2003   My Rating: 0
Duration: 10:33
Summary: `North' is the sophomore offering from Dana Point, CA punk/pop quintet Something Corporate. This album is everything the first album was, and conversely everything the first album was not. The music remains catchy and hook-laden, mostly built around the very capable musical and lyrical abilities of pianist/frontman Andrew McMahon. `North', however, is more sombre, more introspective, and more grown-up than `LTTW'. The lyrics tend to be more poignant and cynical, and the tone of the album is generally somewhat darker than their previous release - thanks in no small part to the fact that it was recorded during a dismal time of the year in Seattle. By no way does that mean the album is of lesser quality than the first - in fact, this is a much better body of work. The writing is much more intricate and mature, the lyrical lows are more gut-wrenching and the lyrical highs feed the soul much more than the first album. The songwriting talents of guitarist Josh Partington come more to the forefront as he contributes four tracks to the album including the first official single, "Space". In all, while the first album might be called a "fun" album or a "party" album, this is much more representative of the potential of the band, and should go a long way to segregating them from the slough of So-Cal "punk" knock-off bands that seem to be everywhere these days. That's not to say there aren't a couple of fist-pumpers on this one though - `Space' will be sure to be heard on dance floors across North America, and '21 & Invincible' is a cynical anthem to young adulthood. These are counterweighted with the lovely `Me And The Moon', a questioning look at mental breakdown spawned by an article McMahon read about a woman murdering her husband, and `Miss America', yet another lament for the intense stress that being on the road places on a relationship.

Having a decent producer in Jim Wirt has definitely paid dividends here - production quality on this album is better, much better than `Leaving Through The Window'. The musicianship has improved, and so has the vocal quality. This disc is everything I expected it to and to my pleasant surprise, much that I didn't expect it to be.