Mercy Mercedes - Believe It
Release Date: November 9, 2010
Record Label: Self-Released
After I saw Get Him to the Greek, my friend Matt and I were talking about how all of these Judd Apatow movies are hilarious. We sort of hashed it out and decided that the thing that made all of these movies so funny is that the writers must just sit around and come up with jokes....dozens of them. Then, they have one scene to shoot and about 50 jokes to choose from, but instead of actually choosing, they just use them all in rapid-fire succession, one after the other. The result is a rapid-fire, death-by-laughter scene.
Anyway, how does this relate to Mercy Mercedes' newest full length, Believe It? Well, I would argue that the band just wrote a ton of really ridiculously catchy hooks, really charming and playful synth lines, and really, really cheesy guitar solos, then lined them up one after the other, rapid-fire style, throughout the entire album.
The cavity-inducing "Drop Top" kicks things off, and upon first listen it is apparent that this has the makings of an excellent pop rock record. The genre has been ruined for me lately, with every single band writing the same album, blending into each other in a camouflage of terrible lyrics and little to no substance. Believe It stands out considerably from other albums of the same elk in 2010. In fact, aside from HelloGoodbye's Would It Kill You? and Marianas Trench's Masterpiece Theatre, there is no better pop release this year.
After wholeheartedly enjoying my first few listens of Believe It, I tried really hard to criticize it harshly, to find all of its flaws and exploit it for the gimmicky music it is. Truth be told, some people may describe this album as gimmicky; it's got sky-high vocals, choruses so catchy that they'll have you dancing regardless of where you are, and like I said before, those incredibly cheesy guitar solos. It's supposed to be everything I dislike in a record, but Mercy Mercedes has crafted something here that is just plain better than most everything else the genre has offered us recently. It boggles my mind to hear this music and wonder why more bands can't write records just like this one.
The conclusion that a fellow staffer drew for me is that most bands just aren't smart enough. Maybe they're all trying too hard, or maybe Mercy Mercedes are just a band of evil geniuses pasting together breathtakingly fun pop rock. Either way, they got my attention and they've held it for months. I've literally waited months to write this review; I had to make sure I wasn't just in my honeymoon phase with this album. But we went on the honeymoon, we did dirty things, and we've come back and I still love it.
"Believe It" and "The Perfect Scene" keep the album rolling at a fast pace into "Heart Racer", with an introduction that could have been taken off of Angels and Airwaves' LOVE. The song shakes that weird intro, though, and gets things rolling into a drawn-out chorus where Mercy Mercedes demonstrates its signature format. Lead singer Nate Smith makes a good habit of letting out extraordinarily infectious rhymes that are corny, but not to the point where I need to vomit. While many bands overdo the cheese and have way too many cutesy lyrics, Smith keeps these in check. They also don't overdo the electronics on this record. Even the electronic drum parts sound good to me, as Believe It is brilliantly produced. Mercy Mercedes end up coming across as a synthier version of early Cartel and not as an offshoot of Metro Station.
If the first seven songs on the eleven-track record don't sell you, then standout "Outta Time" will. The chorus absolutely slays every other chorus in terms of catchiness and danceability, a term I just coined. The lyrics are the kind that you are embarrassed to sing out loud...the kind that cause you to roll up your windows at stoplights because what kind of a 6'9" bearded man is singing along to that in a Toyota Rav4? Mixed signals across the board. But you easily get past the lyrics because you're fully immersed in Mercy Mercedes' music. The cheesy guitar solo in this song may be the best on the record as well. Album closer "Ways To Go" is probably the lowlight, as the group slow things down for a five-minute number. They're much better when they're fist-pumping and guitar-soloing, like on "Shiver Me Timbers", which feels like it probably should have been the closer.
Mercy Mercedes have had some trouble getting this record out to the public. I wrote all of this review, sans this paragraph, back in July and Believe It's November 9th release date was only recently announced. Whatever trouble this band had in getting their music released properly, well it really only makes me lose more faith in the music industry. Most of this album is single-ready, radio-friendly bubblegum rock that should claim the approval of critics while still being sugary enough for everyone's younger sister. There aren't many bands that have pulled that off in recent memory, as most popular music in this genre has been close to unbearable. Mercy Mercedes most certainly isn't reinventing the wheel here. They've done a sound that many a band before them have experimented with. Maybe all of those bands have become more famous and have made more money, but Mercy Mercedes have probably made a better record than all of them.
Mercy Mercedes most certainly isn't reinventing the wheel here. They've done a sound that many a band before them have experimented with. Maybe all of those bands have become more famous and have made more money, but Mercy Mercedes have probably made a better record than all of them.
Not too impressive from what I heard so far. Classic feel-good, friday-night music. But it definitely sounds good, I'll give it a try and see if it grows on me or if I just get bored after a couple listens.
And to be fair, yes. It sounds more cohesive than most of the bands that attempt this kind of music. So kudos to them.