Hey Monday - Beneath It All
Record Label: Decaydance/Columbia Records
Release Date: August 17, 2010
You blew your chance
To rock my night away
I want some fun
Boy, you're so not the one
Oh, don't you just, you rapscallion.
Florida quartet Hey Monday are back with (something like) a vengeance on their six song EP Beneath It All, the follow-up to their 2008 debut Hold On Tight. It's their first work since drummer Elliot James departed, the first to credit just the band with all music and lyrics (unlike the host of co-writers featured on Hold On Tight), and was also originally meant to be a full-length. Like a lot of people, I got some serious guilty pleasure out of their debut, and so was looking for more of the same hands-in-the-air-foot-stomping-summer-fun times out of their next release. I wasn't expecting ground-breaking hooks or unbelievably innovative bass lines. I just wanted a nice, bubblegum counterpart to the new Justin Bieber album.
"Wish You Were Here" starts off the album with a glimmer or hope. The tight vocal harmonies and singable (albeit formulaic) chorus are enjoyable enough, but the following track wipes all that enjoyment away immediately. "Wondergirl" is reminiscent of a reject song from a Princess Diaries movie soundtrack--that is, one where the lyricist gave up halfway through and just decided to go with lyrical gems like "No way; won't go down in your flames/Because Wondergirl won't save your life." And don't even get me started on "I Don't Wanna Dance." It just confuses me. Awkwardly contrived lyrics about not wanting to dance set to a decently danceable beat? I can't see anyone wanting to sing along to this one. Or dance to it. Or listen to it. So what's the point?
But the thing is, these days, even the Disney kids can pen a tune and pretty decent lyrics to go with (see: Demi Lovato's first album, the JoBros' A Little Bit Longer). Apparently, in the time between Hold OnTight and Beneath It All, Hey Monday lost every ounce of their catchy songwriting abilities. From the atrocious lyrics (on "Where Is My Head:" "Obsessing over you/Is making me thirsty") to the dogged, uninspired drumbeats of their replacement drummer, to the complete lack of any sort of hook, there's just nothing here that recommends itself to another listen. The absence of co-writers and a decent producer is sorely felt. As the last track winds down, my only lasting thought is extreme gratitude that the band decided to make this an EP of 6 songs rather than an LP of 10. If these are the six best songs, I can't imagine the state of the remaining four.
Hey Monday? Yeah, I think it's you that blew your chance.
As much as I love this band and have defended them in the past, I just absolutely cannot defend this EP. It's really quite terrible, which sucks to say since I really enjoyed Hold On Tight (fun album, not much substance though).