September 21, 2000

Who Da Band?

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Just how much pop music is enough? Apparently, judging by the recording industry’s prodigious output of generic pop bands, their opinion is that you can never have enough pop music. With that idea in mind, Marvelous 3 has a new record out.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Marvelous 3. If not, you’ve definitely heard “Freak of the Week,” the ridiculously over-played single from their last release, 1998’s Hey! Album. Still need help identifying this band? That’s not really surprising since they tend to blend in all too well with the legions of soundalike pop/rock bands churning out hits on alternative radio. In fact, put Lit, Marvelous 3, and Buckcherry in a lineup, and you’d probably have a lot of trouble picking out which is which.

That dilemma isn’t helped any by the fact that members of both Lit and Buckcherry make guest appearances on Marvelous 3’s new album, ReadySexGo. Sporting a risque cover featuring a mannequin, this album is about as genuine as the plastic women who decorate the liner notes.

Nevertheless, ReadySexGo does accomplish what it sets out to do. The songs are catchy, and the self-deprecating lyrics about failed romances complement frontman Butch Walker’s punky, raw voice well. “Radio Tokyo” starts off with a quiet piano melody before the song rips into gear with a chorus so catchy you’ll be lucky if you ever get it out of your head.

Most of the rest of the album follows this simple pop/punk formula, alternating between ragged verses and soaring choruses, with varying success. Future single possibility “Grant Park” is one of the album’s best tracks, with a start/stop guitar line and driving percussion pushing the heartfelt vocals forward.

Unfortunately, the album declines slightly after this. The intended first single, “Sugarbuzz,” is disappointingly boring, and the melody fails to grab attention. When the songs aren’t catchy, there’s just no point to this kind of music.

The most disconcerting thing about listening to this album is how easy it is to utterly miss the passage of a song. Plus, there are some songs that are just completely ill-advised. The opening of “This Time” directly rips off the opening of The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly,” perhaps one of the most recognizable rock melodies of all time.

Taken as a whole, ReadySexGo is yet another disposable pop album for those people who think that rock should never be too heavy. It is sure to be forgotten in a few months once the radio takes these songs out of circulation. Give it a few moments of attention, if you think it deserves even that much, and then spend your time waiting for the next one-hit wonder to come along.

Archived article by Ed Howard