Roommate One: What do you think about the new Raveonette’s album? I have to write a review about it for The Badger Herald.
Roommate Two: I don’t know. To be honest I really don’t think too much about it.
Roommate One: Yeah, I know. It’s not good, but it’s not bad. It’s just background music.
(An awkward silence passes between the two roommates as the album continues to play through the stereo system.)
Roommate One: But the chick in the band looks hot in the cover art and in the liner notes.
Roommate Two: I was just about to say that. Give it a B and let’s go drink on the terrace.
If anything, the Raveonettes are simply not memorable. Their music is sparse enough, and their lyrics stupid enough to leave the listener with a blank slate, as if the album were never even listened to. But to dismiss the album solely on this fact is a little unfair. The Raveonettes at least have an interesting style, as non-memorable as it is. In a blast from the past, The Raveonettes employ a 1950s pop style most evident in their cover of The Angels’ classic song, “My Boyfriends Back.” But times change and music grows and progresses and what was popular then now sounds old and jaded. This could possibly be why The Raveonettes album is so ‘blah’ for a lack of better words. It is like listening to the oldies station, and not the upbeat oldies song that everyone likes to sing along to but rather some obscure lame tune. The Raveonettes don’t sound new, hip or edgy, but rather, elicit more of a sound that hints towards ‘been there done that over a half century ago.’
The whole guy / girl duet thing is indeed hard to pull off. People loved Sonny and Cher no matter how bad they sound in retrospect. The White Stripes are good, but that is more of a testament to Jack White than Meg. As for The Raveonettes, neither Sune Rose Wagner nor Sharin Foo have good voices. They sound almost raspy, but not necessarily unpleasant, rather, they seem to just not mix well with the music. Their harmonies are dull and their solos even duller. If the Danish duo actually let their hair down and rocked out instead of defining themselves by this stylized crap, maybe they could not put their audience to sleep, but this advice was clearly not taken.
To be honest, The Raveonettes are simply disappointing. A band that emotes such an edgy and cool look and who opened for one of the premier indie bands last year, The Strokes, are so boring. They sound like something an older crowd would listen to, or in heavy rotation on a ‘light rock, less talk’ station.
The album’s single, ‘Love in a Trash Can,’ is monotonous to say the least. The beat will pound in your head and the lyrics are as catchy as the flu, but the song just isn’t coherent. Also, not to keep coming back to the same point, or to harp continuously about the excitement that the band produces, but the song, like most of their album is boring. It will most likely not garner any radio play and inevitably will keep The Raveonettes in the realm of musical obscurity.
There is an obvious difference between an album that lulls you to sleep, and one that puts you to sleep. Not all soft music is boring, many bands pull this effect off nicely. But, to be fair once again, it is hard because the lyrics have to be point-on and the music has to be intricate in itself. Pretty in Black is not one of those albums. Pretty in Black shouldn’t be the album that you fall asleep to, but instead should be the album you hear in the elevator or in a dentist’s office. Novocaine and retro ’50s pop go well together, or hopefully they should, for The Raveonettes sake.
But then again, don’t be surprised if The Raveonettes come back with an awesome album their next go-around. While this album didn’t necessarily work, they at least tried to be original and stand out from the homogenized genre that is becoming indie rock. As long as they take a pragmatic approach to their musical career, The Raveonettes are bound it get it right one of these times. Right?
Word Count: 745