The calendar says it’s official. The trees are starting to bloom, and the birds are singing. Spring is in the air and with it come the first few hints of that age-old affliction known as Spring Fever. Hearts turn to fancy, brains turn to mush, and feet turn to dancing. With that being said, two albums that are ideal for springtime enjoyment, Satellite Rides by Old 97’s and Blow in the Wind by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, hit stores last week.
The latest from the Old 97’s, entitled Satellite Rides, is a nifty mix of acoustic treatments as well as some clever riffs spattered here and there. Lyrically, the songs are light and sweet for the most part. “Buick City Complex” has a catchy hook, and the lyrics ask repeatedly “Do you wanna mess around?” Another easy melody is “What I Wouldn’t Do.” In this song, we get an idea of the vocal capabilities of lead singer Rhett Miller. In “Buick City Complex,” he comes across as mellow and almost-sulking. But in “What I Wouldn’t Do” he digs in and gets more of a rock n’ roller delivery.
Perhaps one of the best songs on the album is the acoustic-driven “Question,” a subtle story of a boy’s proposal to his girlfriend. Beyond the sentimental aspects of such an idea, the lyrics are pretty smart too: “Someday somebody’s gonna ask you a question that you should say yes to, once in your life, maybe tonight.” Misleading describes the title of “Am I Too Late” because the listener anticipates a dirge about unrequited love or something like that, but rather than a depressing song, we have a rollicking number. Although he did miss telling her that he loved her, the upbeat melody saves it from being a tear-jerker.
Blow in the Wind by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is a fun CD that would be great background music at a backyard cookout. This fez-wearing quintet takes classic pop songs from the ’60s and ’70s and gives them a punk twist. As strange as this may sound, the songs actually aren’t too bad.
“Stand By Your Man,” which seems to be a karaoke favorite, gets the Gimme Gimmes’ treatment, and in the second stanza they add their own flavor and change the chorus to “Stand by your band.” The Beatles hit “All My Lovin’,” which can be a bittersweet song, jumps and jives, and “Elenor” by The Turtles takes on a dirty, edgy spin. “My Boyfriend’s Back” is quite humorous, and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” loses much of its sappiness thanks to the goofy renditions.
Both albums are great fun because they don’t always demand your attention. So, pop one in your player, and enjoy the rites of spring.