Test Spin: The Fray

The Fray’s new album The Fray is just as lackluster as its title. The band became famous following the playing of their hit song “How to Save a Life” on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, and their debut CD, How to Save a Life, included other hit songs such as “All at Once” and “Over my Head.” While I enjoyed that album, the new CD left me disappointed and unimpressed. Here, The Fray has a Coldplay-esque sound, but most of the songs sound identical to one another and the lyrics are pretty dull. The album isn’t overly exciting, although some of the songs are catchy and easy to listen to. The opening track, “Syndicate,” features nice use of the guitar and piano and a good chorus.

Say "No" To Jim Carrey's Yes Man

Over winter break, one of my friends, who has a notorious taste in terrible movies, dragged me to see the movie Yes Man. Although I had heard absolutely nothing about it, I decided to give it a chance and see what Jim Carrey had up his sleeve.
It is impossible to deny that Jim Carrey is a talented and successful comedian. He has taken the lead role in some of my favorite movies, including Dumb and Dumber, Liar Liar and the Truman Show. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that Carrey’s recent choices in movies are bringing his career to a spiraling downfall. This fact is further supported by Carrey’s most recent movie, Yes Man.

Test Spin: Phantom Planet

Phantom Planet is most notorious for their creation of the undeniably catchy song, “California,” the theme to the hit TV show, The O.C. Now, the SoCal rock quartet has returned to the music scene in an attempt to break away from their categorization as one-hit wonders.

Test Spin: Panic at the Disco

Given the psychedelic sounds and wide range of genres utilized in Panic at the Disco’s new album, it is appropriate that the band chose to call it Pretty. Odd. The pop-punk group, which released the hit album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, in 2005, has decided to create a new image and sound for themselves, and even dropped the signature exclamation point — in the word “Panic!” — from their name.

Test Spin: The Presidents of the United States of America

The Presidents of the United States of America became famous in the mid-’90s for their catchy brand of nerd rock and hit songs, which include “Lump” and the unforgettable hit, “Peaches.” Now, in 2008, with their new album These are the Good Times People, the Presidents can’t seem to break out of their 90’s rock shell and deliver anything especially remarkable. All of the songs include a strong use of guitar accompanied by easy to follow lyrics. My personal favorite, “Flame is Love,” includes a unique trumpet sound, yet seems strikingly similar to that of They Might Be Giants, a fellow 90s rock band.