Minor pop star Nick Lachey's album What's Left of Me came out in the States five months ago, but I just heard it today for the first time. Have you heard this goddamn thing? It's hilarious!
Everybody and their sister knows that Nick and his ex, exceedingly dim pop star Jessica Simpson, are over & out as a couple. Man, I couldn't give a goddamn about all that tabloid "It's Splitville!" hogwash. Let's talk about this ridiculous album instead, because it deserves a dedicated listen. Don't really care? I say you should, and I'll tell you why in a minute!
Riding the train to work today, I had a chance to check this thing out. The title alone, What's Left of Me, lets you know what kind of crybaby stuff is on the horizon. I wouldn't normally go for such a sad bastard wimpfest, but I must say, this CD kept my attention far longer than I thought it would! In fact, I overshot my train transfer by four stops as the tales of Nick's amusingly prolonged misery unfolded and held me captive.
A note for those who crave variety: The vast majority of this album's 12 tracks sound exactly the same. It's one midtempo power ballad after another, replete with key changes and predictable final-refrain whimpering. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, bigger chorus and out. It's fairly laughable that each song sounds exactly like the last! Almost like the sound engineer had one 40-minute track and just kept fading it in and out repeatedly.
To prove that the album is overflowing with formulaic pop (as if there were any doubt), take a look at the generic song titles. Hey Nick, is "I Do It for You" a cover of Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You"? No? Well, is your "Run to Me" anything like his "Run to You"? Wait, you're not Bryan Adams, are you?!
Nah, you're an equal-opportunity thief, because you co-opted the title "Beautiful" from Christina Aguilera and "Shades of Blue" from every third teen mope-rock combo on MySpace. Seriously, pal, there are a lot of fucking words in the world, let's give some a spin! To be fair, we probably shouldn't expect any better from a motherfucker who titles his first solo album something incredibly lame like SoulO.
Readers are probably asking themselves, "Hey Andy, why would I waste my time listening to this fucking album?" Because, dig, it'll make you smile! With every song, Nick digs a little deeper into his broken marriage. Ha ha ha! Not laughing at your heartbreak, kid, just the severe monotony of your little breakup meltdown on wax.
Now, don't get me wrong, I rather LIKED this album. I'll fall for a well-constructed pop song every time, and this platter has a few. Sample the title track for a truly great pop moment: At about 3:18 in, Nick's falsetto takes off and echoes the song's signature piano line. Masterful! Chilling!
That said, What's Left of Me is still kind of a dumb record overall. It's entertaining, yes, but obviously not an indisputable 5-star classic. If a child were reviewing this album on U.S. children's show Reading Rainbow, which is known for its simplistic bluntness, the review might go like this:
"Nick sure is sad! He sings really sad songs while he shows us his muscles. But I don't think that's sad, I just think that's funny. This album makes me laugh and cry at the same time!"
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