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Fastball - All the Pain Money Can Buy

A Heater on the Outside Corner for a Strike
by: bill aicher

If you listen to the radio, you HAVE to have heard Fastball by now.  If you watch MTV you HAVE to have seen Fastball by now.  Yes, they are one of the bands we are being barraged with in the same manner we are being attacked with Matchbox 20.  The good news - they are a pretty good band.  The bad news - they may end up suffering the same fate as Matchbox 20.

Quality light, alternative rock artists are hard to come by these days.  Fastball fits into this category.  Matchbox 20 is one of the other alternative bands that fit the category.   (I will try to keep the Matchbox 20 references down, as their styles are not very similar, but the radio treats them similarly).  The problem is that the media is destroying the band.  I can't turn on a radio these days without hearing Fastball's first single from this album - "The Way". Don't get me wrong here, the song is a good song, in fact it is the reason I purchased the CD in the first place.  Luckily for me "The Way" is not too similar to the rest of the album. 

Fastball is a band that can be liked by the masses.  This can be a good and a bad thing.  It is a bad thing for the reasons listed above, but it is good because most everyone is guaranteed to at least be able to listen to the album and not hate it.  If you are into a more adult-contemporary, top 40 - style of alternative music, you will love this album.   Their style reminds me of a mix of Dada and the Refreshments, except with a more laid-back tempo,  Being a Poe fan, I was pleased to hear her sing backup vocals on the track "Which Way to the Top".  Another welcome addition was the variation on the album.  "The Way" has the Spanish feel to it, which is not present on the rest of the album.  "G.O.D. (Good Old Days)" has trumpets, trombone, and saxophones added in.  This gives the track a rockabilly/ska mix feel.   (If the horn chords were hit harder and shorter it would be a lot closer to ska).

This album is nothing new.  It gave me nothing to squawk about to my friends.  I do not go out and tell everyone this is a must-have album.  However, if you are a fan of bands such as Toad the Wet Sprocket, Dada, the Refreshments, Cake, the Replacements, The Posies, or, dare I say it... Matchbox 20 - this album will fit in well with your CD collection.   There is nothing here that has not been done before, but the lyrics are good, the chord progressions work, and the band plays well.  Buy it if you want, it is your call.


Artist Fastball
Album All the Pain Money Can Buy
Label Hollywood Records
Date 03.10.98
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Rating

3.0 out of 5.0