There will always be something to add to the all-encompassing world of “guilty pleasures.” For me, guilty pleasures include LOST, Charles Shaw wine, and chasing pigeons (not necessarily at the same time). For others, I’ve often heard the Gilmore Girls, Jennifer Aniston movies, and Miller Lite cited as their guilt-inducing areas of choice. And, since this is a music review, we must of course mention the musical guilty pleasures in which we often indulge. For me, they include Justin Timberlake, Foreigner, and Broadway musicals, and I’ve heard Gwen Stefani and Pearl Jam cited from others. The idea of the guilty pleasure, essentially, is that it’s perfectly acceptable for even the uncompromising art snob to enjoy something just for fun, even if it’s silly and cheesy and, yes, not very good when held up to more analytical standards.
So, here is where I write about The Adored, a band from L.A. that has drawn comparisons mostly to The Buzzcocks and The Jam, and at times The Rapture, The Kinks and Ima Robot. In fact, the Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley even contributed his vocals to their 2005 EP. And as they increase their fan mass on MySpace and rack up the list of successful all-ages shows, it’s probably safe to say that their first full-length album, A New Language, will make some waves. But honestly, the album, along with the band themselves, can be summed up as such: a combination of The Buzzcocks and The Jam without the raw edge, and with a more packaged sound that practically solidify the use of the single(s) in future episodes of The O.C.
That makes it sound like I think the album isn’t very good, which is not the complete truth. The statement above is in fact the bottom of the critical line – however, it leaves out the mitigating factors that can thusly make this album enjoyable, as well as smaller details that support the band’s actual talents. Beginning with a one-two punch of energy in “Tell Me Tell Me,” the band shows glimmers of dance-punk goodness and vibrant, collective energy. “Savage Youth” and a couple other songs at times demonstrate the band’s ability to show a grimy, unfiltered side, reminiscent of what we know and love about the ’70s punk era. “The Queen’s Head” incorporates a fat, dirty bass sound that reveals more of the players’ real talents, and “Hold-Up!” and “Young Again” boast strong rhythm and overall confident instrumentation. “We Don’t Want You Around” is probably the album’s strongest track, with undeniable vigor, strong bass line and psychobilly-like tempo, and honestly, it made me want to see the band live.
Having said all that in The Adored’s defense, however, I must also state that the album’s sound nonetheless angles more towards the generic sound of bands like Yellowcard and Fall Out Boy. The dynamics remain more or less the same throughout the record, much like the aforementioned Buzzcocks/Jam, but this can be annoying instead of enjoyably due to the slightly gimmicky vocals and derivative edge. Some songs, besides those mentioned above, are relatively forgettable and indistinguishable from one another, making me wonder if the band has the ability to grow beyond this initial release. But, at the end of the day, the album and the music is still genuinely fun. It’s still infectious, and falls quite nicely into the “guilty pleasure” category, especially due to the album’s more appealing qualities. And the most endearing part of it all is that the band seems to know and embrace all of this. In fact, their press release even states, out and proud, that “it’s okay to adore The Adored.” They are, in fact, waiting for assholes like me to sit at my computer and rip apart their album without thinking twice, so they can fire back with the argument that we should chill out, L.A.-style, and just enjoy the goddamn music.
The Buzzcocks – Love Bites
The Jam – In the City
Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue