The Critics Corner | Albums

California 37 Rising country act roars onto the country music scene with debut album
Album name: California 37
Label: Columbia
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Rating: 4.8 out of 5

Review written by: Maura Harwood
Every once in awhile there comes a band that withstands the trials and tribulations of many years in the music business. Right now, that band is Train. With such songs as the mega-hit “Drops of Jupiter” that earned them two Grammy’s and a huge following and 2009’s sweet pop hit “Hey Soul Sister,” the release of their sixth album California 37 has been highly anticipated and the band doesn’t fail their loyal fans.

The album starts out with the cheeky song “This’ll Be My Year.” The song lists out pop culture events that have happened in our society such as the dawn of Nintendo and the Simpsons. “I stopped believin’ although Journey told me ‘don’t’, before I call it a day, maybe this’ll be my year,” sings lead singer Pat Monahan, in typical Train fashion, proving their inevitable knack for interesting lyrics is still there.

“Drive By,” the hit single off the album, is the second song. With an infectious rhythm, the song is Monahan’s personal shout out to a girl in which he tells her how his love “is not a drive by.” The song is a top 10 hit in 11 countries.

Similar to the band’s hit “Marry Me,” the song “Feels Good At First” is a sweet, acoustic guitar laden song. The song details the only sure thing about love: “things can change, but it sure feels good at first.” “Sing Together,” a song that utilizes ukulele much like their hit “Hey Soul Sister” is another sweet and charming song on the album.

In similar sweet fashion, the song “Bruises” features American singer-songwriter Ashley Monroe. Ashley Monroe is known for her work with the country group the Pistol Annies, featuring Miranda Lambert. She’s also written several country hits. The song has a country vibe and sweet harmonies that southern fans are sure to enjoy. Similarly, “You Can Finally Meet My Mom” is a sweet, funny song in which Monahan tells the girl he loves that when he dies, he’s not going to want to hang out with “Etta James” or “Bob Marley” but the girl, and how she can finally meet his mom. It’s a touching and cute song with a hilarious twist to it.

“50 Ways To Say Goodbye” has a mariachi feel to it throughout the song and is also quite funny, listing various ways the woman who left the singer could’ve died rather than simply having left. It’s one of the best songs on the album.

The title song “California 37” is a sassy song that makes you want to go drive the California 37 in spite of everyone who did not believe in you.

“Mermaid” is a unique, nonsensical song that is extremely catchy. Fans of Owl City will be sure to enjoy this song, as it takes cues from his sing-songy, strange lyrics.

The final two songs on the album “We Were Made For This” and “When The Fog Rolls In” are the two ballads on the album. “We Were Made For This” describes a happy relationship between two people and how they were simply “made for this”, where “this” is love. “When The Fog Rolls In” is the complete opposite. This song is all about becoming lovers and losing their friendship in process. “Friends become lovers, and lovers lose friends, that’s when the fog rolls in,” sings Monahan with his soulful and sometimes haunting voice. It’s the perfect way to end the album.

Train absolutely delivers on the sixth album. Fans will be thoroughly impressed with their funny and interesting lyrics that coincide perfectly with Monahan’s pure voice and the band’s musical arrangements. Once again, Train proves that they’re long past their “Drops of Jupiter” days, and they’re truly here to stay.
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