Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - The Speed Of Things

By trying too hard to sound ‘interesting’, the MOR pop loses its sheen.

Label: Warner

Rating:

There’s nothing wrong with writing generic, radio-friendly pop, and leaving it at that. Simple, clever songs that are easily sung along to, and just as easily left as pleasant background noise. This is a memo that doesn’t seem to have reached Detroit natives Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., however, as throughout ‘The Speed Of Things’, they’re trying to find just about any way to mask their songs.

Whether it’s the synths on ‘Run’ or the guitar samples on ‘Hiding’, there’s a concerted effort to make their MOR guitar pop something more ‘interesting’. Which is a shame, in some ways; there’s nothing particularly wrong with most of the songs on this second album. The Beatles-aping harmonies on ‘Knock Louder’ are pleasant enough, and ‘Run’ uses exactly the kind of tropical pop rhythms that came in fashion post-Vampire Weekend’s debut.

But by trying to make them sound something they’re not, the end effect falls far short. Think frat boys (say, Foster The People) doing their best Phoenix impression, and it’s about half way there.