MUSICThe Good, the Bad and the “Um, Okay”: Train and Shawn Colvin

Artists known for their biographical songs are reemerging onto the scene this week. Train, the group responsible for the now way-overplayed “Meet Virginia,” and Shawn Colvin of “Sunny Came Home” fame both released new albums last week.

Train’s sophomore album Drops of Jupiter reflects an increase in the artistic maturity of the band. The lonely sound of Pat Monahan’s sensitive vocal delivery combined with the eclectic guitar riffs and unique instrumentation make this album an auditory treat.

The title track, “Drops of Jupiter,” is already showing up on local radio countdowns and promises to be around for quite a while. Like “Meet Virginia,” we get snippets of pop culture; Train is obviously aware of its audience. Monahan sings of a girl who listens to Mozart and does Tae-bo. There is evident poetic quality in the lyrics of this song: “Now that she’s back in the atmosphere with drops of Jupiter in her hair…she acts like summer and walks like rain.” The string section, providing backup, and the whole celestial theme of the song make it a keeper.

Drops of Jupiter satisfies just about any mood. Songs like “Hopeless,” “Getaway,” and “I Wish You Would” create the sense of absolute desperation that you might expect from a group called Train. The guitar bridge in “Getaway” deeply expresses the sadness of lost love.

“Something More,” on the other hand, is an encouraging piece that suggests we will discover good things in life if we persist through the hard times. “Mississippi” is about a girl named Mississippi, which leads one to conclude that just maybe the group has a thing for girls whose names are also names of states in America.

The reviewed Drops of Jupiter is an exclusive limited edition album that features two previously unreleased bonus tracks: “It’s Love” and “Sweet Rain.” The limited edition album can be purchased only at an independent record store.

Shawn Colvin, whom some may have already labeled as a one-hit wonder, is hoping to make her mark on music in 2001 with her newest album Whole New You.

Colvin is still relying on her female empowerment and acoustic sound on her new album. However, after the first couple of songs things start to run together. Unfortunately, her voice just doesn’t carry well enough to capture your attention. Rather, the lines of the songs are muddled, making it difficult to distinguish some of the songs from one another.

Basically, if and when one does take the time to study the lyrics of her songs the realization is that the ideas are abstract and hard to put a finger on. For example, in “Anywhere You Go” she says “I’m so scared I can’t move but there’s just one thing to do, you know. Oh we try and try we cry baby cry. Everybody knows we get nowhere. Again and again forever till the end.”

“Roger Wilco” is slightly interesting just for the sake of the title. This song wants to be taken seriously so badly, but it is just plain silly. Colvin sings so earnestly “Roger Wilco, it’s okay”; the sympathetic piano and background vocals just add to the “Um” quality, however.

Whole New You comes across as a bit disappointing. Perhaps when some of the songs hit the airwaves and are played over and over then they will wear on us. There’s always that possibility.