>Album Reviews: "Tinted Windows" by Tinted Windows

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So why does James Iha look older than Bun E. Carlos?

I honestly don’t have that much to say about Tinted Windows. Upon the announcement of their existence, I get the feeling many of my friends expected me to see them as a cream dream come true. This is mostly because, you know, Taylor Hanson’s their singer, and I am probably the only 22-year-old male in existence who listens to Hanson on a regular basis. But who else do we got? James Iha? Fine, but I barely care about the Smashing Pumpkins. Adam Schlesinger, he’s fine, although I admittedly don’t listen to Fountains of Wayne all that much. And Bun E. Carlos, hey, it’s cool that he’s here, but I don’t think he’s really up to doing much creatively – as I predicted, Schlesinger wrote most of the songs here, with Iha only writing one song and Hanson writing one and collaborating on one more. So I guess what we’ve got here is Fountains of Wayne with a different singer and less interesting lyrics? Yeah. That’s what we’ve got.

OK, I’m being mean. I like this album. Of course I like this album. It’s catchy power pop performed by a group of people I mostly genuinely like. Yes, it’s a pretty generic album as far as power pop goes – anybody expecting something huge from these guys teaming up will be disappointed (but I don’t think anybody was expecting anything huge anyway so yeah okay moving on) – but the melodies are nice and the singing is nice and the songs themselves are pleasant, with an occasional surprise here and there. Kind of. “Kind Of A Girl” is the single, and despite the fact that it approaches a nigh-Jonas Brothers level of cheesy bubblegum it is very catchy and I like it. Most of the other songs here are a little “cooler,” so to speak, but not by too much. There a couple big ‘ol ballads (“Dead Serious” and “Back With You,” both of which sound suspiciously similar but are still likable); a couple Cheap Tricky thingers (“Cha Cha”, “Doncha Wanna”); and the rest, for the most part, is happy goofy basic guitar-driven pop music. Does that sound like music you want to listen to?? Then this album might be for you!

There are a few songs I really like. “Without Love,” despite its very basic (read: sophomoric) lyrics, makes me smile. It’s just so happy! “Messing With My Head” also has a really nifty chorus, and “Nothing To Me” – Taylor Hanson’s only sole songwriting credit – has enough of a Big Star style for me to like it. But you know, overall, I enjoy this record. I can’t think of any individual songs that I didn’t like – some dipped under the radar, and I should probably hate the ballads but WHOOPS I like them too. Pitchfork hates this record (surprise surprise), claiming that it is much less than the sum of its talented parts, and they may be right but who cares? Neither were the Traveling Wilburys. I don’t find this record remarkable, but at the same time I have found myself listening to it several times over. It’s only 35 minutes for godssake! Zippy dippy pop. Yeah, I’d probably prefer to listen to Hanson, but at the same time Tinted Windows don’t sound quite as boring-mellow as modern Hanson, so that’s nice. I’ve always felt that Hanson, even nowadays, are better at fun pop music than they are at anything else – be it funk or boy band ballads or Jack Johnson acoustic douchebaggery or whatever – and Tinted Windows is proably the closest I will get to that, so hey. There you go.

Well that was a terrible review. You’d think I’d have a lot to say about Taylor Hanson’s other band, eh? Nah. Whatever you guys. I’m graduating. I’m lazy. I’m creatively bankrupt. I am many things. There’s a new Bob Dylan album out though! I’ll review that. That’ll be good.

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