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Apr 25, 2014







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Five For Fighting




Five for Fighting, Bookmarks (Wind Up Records)





 L.A.-based singer-songwriter John Ondrasik is the only real principal player in this band, which has become the go-to provider of sounds that automatically evoke images of suburban soccer parents shopping for unnecessary things at Target. In the past, his Chris Martin-trying-to-imitate-Eddie Vedder yodel has been a no-hassle booking for the Today show, with songs like “100 Years” and “Superman” providing the perfect sort of bovine acoustic-piano-based AOR for segues into Pampers commercials and Al Roker’s vaguely creepy weather reports. We had Bruce Hornsby for that until the Aughts, so it really is a blessing that Ondrasik stepped in to take up the torch and move unsweetened aural oatmeal into the bio-terror age. This one opens with phoned-in crowd-jacker “Stand Up,” which, like every other “rockout” of this subgenre, sort of wants to stomp stuff but had its permit application denied. “Down” is the same kind of thing but more Hornsby-ish. I could honestly survive a few spins of the first four or five songs (which aren’t bad at all really) without digging around in the car for the first aggro-goth CD I can find, but the shark is finally jumped during (and this is a typical song title from this band) “She’s My Girl,” a horrifying slice of Franken-pop that staples REO Speedwagon balladry onto Avril Lavigne bubble-emo-dweebing (“She’s better than ice cream/I know you know what I mean”). At that point I just started stabbing a pencil into my ear, if I recall correctly. B- — Eric W. Saeger

 





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