Train’s now back with its new album ‘California 37′, released on April 13, 2012. Train has been very successful with its last album, ‘Save Me, San Francisco’, which featured the big grammy-winning hit ‘Hey, Soul Sister’ and other popular songs. Will California 37 be able to match its predecessor’s success?
California 37 features a lot of pop references throughout the whole album, as we’ll see when we get to the track-by-track review. It also features many styles, showing that Train is experimenting with other genres outside of its usual pop rock.
1. This’ll Be My Year, a song that recounts lead singer Pat Monahan’s life using events from each ‘important year’ that Pat decides to use. I personally feel that it is too personal and it’d have been better if it was more generic, but the chorus, especially the line ‘I stopped believin’ although Journey told me ‘don’t’ before I call it a day’.
2. Drive By, the lead single is next. It has pretty dark lyrics, but it’s already been proved a hit, rocketing up the charts. The song features some very catchy lyrics, and even makes use syllables (“y-y-y-y-“) to make it catchier than before.
3. Feels Good at First is a love song that has a ligher acoustic touch. Pat sings that “I don’t know about love/But it sure feels good at first”. This is a good song to help lighten the mood after the exciting beats of Drive By.
4. Bruises is a pretty surprising song to come from Train. After all, Bruises goes all country. In this song, Ashley Monroe joins the band and sings with Pat, both people being friends from high school.
5. 50 Ways to Say Goodbye turns Train into a mariachi band. It’s a rather funny song, with its topic being that the singer doesn’t want anyone to know that he and his girlfriend’s relationship is over, and so instead makes a bunch of lies about how she died, such as falling in a “cement mixer full of quicksand” or “dancing to death in an East side nightclub”. A rather creative and jumpy song.
6. You Can Finally Meet My Mom is probably the album’s worst song. It name-checks a ton of dead people, from Steve Jobs to Sitting Bull, and repeatedly uses the line “you can finally meet my mom”. Personally, I feel that Train took its pop-reference mania too far.
7. Sing Together comes in with the ukulele chords similar to Hey, Soul Sister’s. This track talks about farewell, asking people to sing together with him, whether they “knew me from the very start/or just met last week in a grocery mart”.
8. Mermaid, a Carribean-style song is a complete change from Sing Together. It’s fast, it’s catchy and it’s creative. The singer took a boat to “an island so remote/Only Johnny Depp has ever been to it before”, meeting a mermaid that he says he’d have wished in ’92 “for a mermaid just like you”. I think that without the Johnny Depp reference, the song would have been rather perfect.
9. California 37, the title track, is next. This song features a techno sound. The bad part about the song is that Pat Monahan calls his own ex the b word, which isn’t the best thing ever for a song, let alone the title track. Train also namechecks themselves, saying “Here’s to those who didn’t think/Train could ever roll again/You were the fuel I used when/Inspiration hit a dead end”. Other than that, the song just seems to be some random things that they want to say, and there isn’t much meaning or feeling.
10. We Were Made for This is a rather forgettable song in my personal opinion, but some people will like Jimmy Stafford’s guitar sounds present in the song.
11. When the Fog Rolls In is a gospel-style song is about the breaking up of a relationship, and you can hear how emotional Pat’s voice is in this song. I feel that this is a good, emotional ending to the album.
In conclusion, California 37 is a good album, even if there were too many pop references. Four stars out of five. It is musically appetizing.
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Editor in Chief