Story Love - Self - Titled
it may sound weird, but when I was listening to this record,
I couldn't stop thinking about TV sitcoms, specifically NBC
sitcoms. That's because Ten Story Love, a New England-based
rock quartet, plays the same type of overly-happy pop rock
on its debut album that you hear used as sitcom theme songs
on shows like Friends and Jesse. This is the type of music
which has very little lasting value, but corporations like
to use it because it's upbeat, inoffensive, and catchy (in
a very annoying way). This music just makes you want to sway
back and forth with a big, dumb, mindless smile on your face.
This stuff should only appeal to the type of people who prefer
appearances and a "nice melody you can hum along to" to substance
and timelessness. Hopefully, Music-Critic.Com readers are
smarter than that.
tries to address many different issues on the record, like
love, relationships, work, individual freedom, heartache,
philosophy and pop culture, but it all comes out sounding
the same. The songs seem to blend together and become repetitive
Even the lyrical rhyme schemes seem predictable and not very
deeply thought out. There's a very amateurish feeling about
the whole album, including the packaging. When you take the
CD out of the case, a stick-figure drawing of the band members.
At the bottom of the liner notes it says, "Ten Story Love
invites you to join us next time at the Egyptian Hall." (Should
we say, "same bat time, same bat channel," perhaps?), as if
everybody listening to the album knows where that place is
and has access to it. One has a real feeling of being in the
minor leagues here.
flaws present are numerous. The album opener, a saccharin
pop rocker called, "The Perfect Girl," has a lyrical accent
in the chorus that sounds stupid. "She's THE, Perfect Girl/She's
THE, Perfect Girl/But she's not mine." Obviously, the heaviest
accent belongs on the words "perfect girl" instead of "the".
Also the lyrics and melody are reminiscent of "My Best Friend's
Girlfriend." by The Cars. "She's my best friend's girlfriend/But
she used to be mine." The Cars' song is better.
not the only ripoff on the album either. The guitar melody
of "All Cried Out" sounds just like the song, "Breakfast at
Tiffany's", so much so that when I first heard it, I started
singing the lyrics of that song, ("You say, that we've got
nothing in common/No common ground between us/And we're falling
apart"...), and it fit perfectly.
"Marian On The Steps" attempts to use opera singer Marian
Anderson's groundbreaking 1939 recital on the steps of the
Lincoln Memorial as a metaphor for personal freedom, but the
allusion probably goes over the head of most listeners (Who's
Marian?) and it sounds like just another happy pop song. It
seems like just another episode of the sitcom. Maybe the kids
were learning about Marian Anderson in school for Women's
History Month? After the song fades, you hear the melody of
"My Country 'Tis Of Thee" played on a set of bells. That,
of course, was Marian's big number, but here the great patriotic
song just seems like an afterthought and sounds childish,
as if it were played by a 2nd grader in music class for the
before, the songs often seem like sitcom episodes or names
of sitcoms. "A Different World" (Remember the Cosby Show spinoff
A Different World?) is about all the trash we are exposed
to on TV, but sounds mindless itself. "This Island Earth"
(Did someone say 3rd Rock From The Sun?) is a sarcastic look
at religious and philosophical differences between people,
but the group fell in love with sound samples and included
a countdown to a space shuttle mission as the intro, making
the track sound pretentious. They even dared to include Neil
Armstrong's famous, "This is one giant step for man, one giant
leap for mankind," quote at the end, thereby corrupting one
of the great moments in human history.
Ten Story Love's debut album sounds like calculated and contrived
pop music instead of honest, heartfelt rock and roll. I don't
think it will sell well, but on the bright side for the band
members, they could have a promising future writing for MustSeeTV.
Finally, if you are in a big city and you hear a worker on
a skyscraper shouting at a beautiful woman passing by, "Yo
baby, I've got your ten story love right here!", it's a good
bet that he isn't talking about this album.
you liked that joke, I'll be at the Egyptian Hall all week,
wherever that is.