There are some bands that are inexhaustible. Their music warps and changes with the times, their lyrics remain fresh and exciting, and their songs never lose a glimmer of magic. Train is definitely one of those bands.
Since their debut album in 1998, Train has been rolling out hit after hit, with songs like “Meet Virginia,” “Drops of Jupiter,” “Calling All Angels,” and “Hey, Soul Sister.” They’re now back again, releasing their sixth album to date: California 37.
Lead singer Patrick Monahan delivers a powerful vocal performance, alive with energy. In California 37, he and fellow Train members have crafted a catchy yet unique album about finding love, losing love, and reliving the past.
The lyrics are inviting and insightful without becoming nebulous, while the instrumentals are impressive. The opening song, “This’ll Be My Year,” is comically clever, filled with pop culture references and memories, and the album only gets better as it moves along. In “50 Ways to Say Goodbye,” a strange mix of mariachi and rock makes for an exciting number, while “Sing Together” adopts the fun-loving ukele sounds of “Hey, Soul Sister.”
What I love most about California 37 is the incredible diversity. Train is no Queen, but they have an uncanny ability to make all of their songs sound different. That’s a very rare sight in today’s culture, where Taylor Swift and LMFAO seem to control the charts.
California 37 swings from the rock hit “Drive By” to the smooth acoustics of “Feels Good At First” effortlessly. I drove along Nifong listening to the songs for the first time and had to grin, I was so pleased with finally finding a pop album that sounded special.
Of course, there are flaws, as with any piece of work. There are times when Train’s band is too “hot,” making the words difficult to understand, and their song “You Can Finally Meet My Mom” is cute but borderline cheesy towards the ending. However, who knows? Sometimes it’s the borderline cheesy songs that reach the #1 slot.
In short, I bought California 37 two nights ago and I’m already obsessed. That’s a sure sign of a hit.
By Lauren Puckett