Hearts On Parade – American Hi-Fi
CD Review by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter

11/2005
 
           
 

 

  Put another notch in the belt of power pop songwriting genius Butch Walker. His resume is extensive, with entries from Bowling For Soup, Marvelous 3, and Avril Lavigne, but this may be his most impressive collaboration yet. Providing songwriting help as well as razor sharp production quality, Walker has created a pop classic for all times here. This is a rare multi-dimensional effort with songs that are all firmly planted in the pop genre. Songs that have Beatlesque simplicity with hooks that would bag a whale. This is an album that will have you singing and tapping your feet long after you leave your CD player. We hear the band start the record with a sly bass driven melody that has an INXS-type vibe, with a chorus that skips and bops like some of the best Jellyfish songs. As the next track jumps out of the speakers we get a masterpiece of pure pop brilliance. Sounding something like an 80's-era Genesis tune with a catchy as hell chorus, "Hell Yeah!" is one of the best pop songs of the past decade at least. The band heads into a Bowling For Soup quirky feel with "The Geeks Get The Girls," and then they place another gem at our feet with "We Can't Be Friends." With its Blondie "Rapture"-type rap style through the verses, it ultimately heads into a hook-laden pop wonderland once again for the chorus. Then they do it again on the ballad "Something Real," except this time they incorporate some great background vocal effects that give the song an Oasis-type feel.

Now, can this disc possibly keep up the pace? I mean these first five tracks are some of the best pop songs that you might ever hear. Well, I will say that the album does cool off a bit, but not a whole lot. "Highs And Lows," "Baby Come Home," "The Everlasting Fall," and the title track are just good songs, while "Separation Anxiety" finds the band with a great heavier sound. "Where Did We Go Wrong" even has the band committing to a reggae/Caribbean rhythm. It makes you wonder if there is any style that these guys can't sink their infectious pop hooks into.

Fans of true traditional pop, you now have reason to rejoice. This is a disc that will delight anyone that yearns for the simple pop melodies of the 80's, or hungers for more Beatles-type simplicity. Believe it or not, this is the genuine article; a true pop record, something we haven't had the pleasure of hearing a lot of in recent years. This one's a shoe-in for the "feel good" record of the year. So scoop this one up and start clapping your hands, stomping your feet, and singing along like you were 20 years younger.

   
           
     

Track listing
1.

Maybe Won't Do

2.

Hell Yeah!

3.

Geeks Get the Girls

4.

We Can't Be Friends

5.

Something Real

6.

Highs and Lows

7.

Everlasting Fall

8.

Separation Anxiety

9.

Baby Come Home

10.

Where Did We Go Wrong

11.
Hearts on Parade
Label: Maverick / Release date: 4/12/2005