December 11, 2012 - Columbia
This review originally ran in AP 294.
Boys Like Girls showed up in 2005 with a major-label deal in hand, a debut album loaded with co-writes and a sound best described as “Holy shit, how are the All-American Rejects not suing these jokers for copyright infringement yet?” Of course, the contemporary punk scene has taken a drastic swerve toward all things heavy, leaving little room for the type of fun-loving, lyrically empty emo-pop BLG were plying. Cue the reinvention: After bassist Bryan Donahue departed to focus on his authentic country-rock act the Tower And The Fool, the rest of the band decided to morph themselves into a country band of a much different variety. The songs on Crazy World are the type of vapid, slick pop-country groups like Rascal Flatts and Train have made bank on. Singer Martin Johnson has worked a Nashville twang into his previously accent-free voice, throwing in plenty of insincere references to things that don’t actually exist in his world (“the old diner” in “The First Time”; “my nine-to-five” in “Shoot”). Don’t forget the power ballad “Be Your Everything,” complete with that oh-so-emotionally manipulative key change. Crazy World is as phony as they come.