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My Private Nation

Train

Release Date: 06.03.03
Record label: Sony
Genre(s): Rock

80 Music-Critic Score
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by: paul schrodt


Ever make one of those long moves to a new place? Do you know when you're driving in your car, thinking about everything that'll be different? Train's newest album is the perfect sidekick to such a trip. It moves forward in lonely uncertainty, patiently wondering if its destination will be any better than where it departed. It is through lead singer Pat Monahan's outlook on a world where we feel constantly isolated, where we have pulled together in some way but will forever feel split apart in another. It is a personal album, and a nice refreshment from the line-up of discs that want to be political in what is really an individual art form.


Train, now into their third album, made a giant splash with their last album's title song "Drops of Jupiter." The record went double-platinum and the song still echoes throughout dentist lobbies and barber shops. It continues to be a creative and addictive piece of work. And, because of this success, you should not buy My Private Nation with the expectation that they would try to change things, tweaking their style only enough to not become tiresome. "Calling All Angels," the first single, is good, but then of course you can almost see "All American Girl" on those awful infomercials for top hit collections. And then there's "Save the Day," which beyond being my favorite track for the absolutely delicious lyrics ("Hey baby, I don't wanna be your superman/I just wanna be your man and I'll be super, baby") is a shameless attempt at duplicating everything lovable about "Drops of Jupiter."


And it worked; I say this all with a smile. Rolling Stone may not be a fan of Train, but I am. I like everything they've done, and if something's not broken, why fix it? They've refined themselves to a completely air-tight quality, and despite heavy influences, remain as original as one could ask for. No band has captured desperation in the same skillful, glossy rock manner that they have.


But beyond quoting lyrics, what can this writer do to paint the rest of the picture? Tempo, score, guitar tab? Music is a fickle thing. It begs to be described with technical terms, but it is a very abstract art. This is one of the most interesting discs this year. It is radio friendly, and maybe even Grammy ready, but still very interesting. And like all the best albums, it most rewards those patient enough to uncover its real treasure.


There is a time everyone has when everything becomes flopped, and they realize with a tired hopelessness that nothing will ever be the same again. These tracks play well to that time of ambiguous thoughts. They're small thoughts, meaningless to others, but very personal. Last year's enormously well-received album The Rising by Bruce Springsteen was about coming together in group comfort. This is, as its first song's title can tell you, about a truer, more poignant and essential salvation. 17-Jul-2003 8:30 AM