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‘No Chocolate Cake’

The latest release from 90’s sensation Gin Blossoms offers simplistic and generic lyrics

Published: Monday, October 4, 2010

Updated: Monday, October 4, 2010 06:10

“No Chocolate Cake,” which was released on Sept. 28, 2010, is the latest album from Gin Blossoms. Th

Photo courtesy of Chikkadora.com

“No Chocolate Cake,” which was released on Sept. 28, 2010, is the latest album from Gin Blossoms. The first single was released Aug 2, 2010 and debuted number one on Amazon.com.

Employing the use of simplistic lyrics and basic chord progressions, the Gin Blossoms fall flat with their album "No Chocolate Cake" in more ways than one.

The 90's sensation is most well-known for their 1992 hit "Hey Jealousy" and, unfortunately, hasn't been the same since. The untimely loss of guitarist and songwriter Doug Hopkins is one contributing factor to the decline, and, even though Robin Wilson, the vocalist of the group, is still around, his vocals don't have the same effect in the absence of Hopkins's lyricism. Most of the album consists of slow jam, soft rock that is typical of this group. However, their modernized pop rock sound doesn't seem to have the catchy beat or lyrics of the previous compositions that made them famous.

Wilson sounds off-key, or flat, in many songs and there was also a lack of synchronization in the harmony sections of "If you'll be mine." This lack of quality, which is seen throughout much of the album, is off-putting to most, especially music aficionados and musicians.

The first single off of the album, "Miss Disarray," sounds like nearly every other song on the album, but luckily the singer dropped out of the falsetto register for it. The single was released on Aug. 2, 2010 to radio, but as a habitual radio listener, I have not heard the single until now; astonishingly, the album debuted at number one on Amazon.com.

"No Chocolate Cake" seems to be reminiscent of early Hansen, but without popular appeal. They also include the stereotypical love songs and "bubble gum" positive messages that were prevalent in 90's pop rock.

"Wave Bye Bye," just like its title, hosts extremely simple and mindless lyrics that detract from the overall appeal of the song. It is almost comparable to a modernized "No Rain" by Blind Melon, sans complexity.

Fortunately, the album wasn't a total loss. "I'm Ready" is a song that possesses actual merit and Wilson's voice even reminds me in spots of Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell.

"Dead or Alive on the 405" was another unique track. The single was like 311 meets the Beach Boys with its ska-like sound.

Critic's Conclusion: It might be telling of my own preference, but I feel this album is not something that sounds as if it was produced by professional musicians. It is not even comparable to EP's that are put together in someone's garage.

The simplicity, instead of being a positive attribute like it is for many modern bands, only served as an annoyance that seemed mindless and shoddy. The beat was repetitive and it felt like something one could dance the "Carlton" to. Perhaps the band should consider putting more time into an album before they release it.

It would almost be comparable to bands like Hootie and the Blowfish, Goo Goo Dolls or Simple Plan if it were actually good. If you're looking for something deep or meaningful, it would be wise to look elsewhere.

Track listing:

1."Don't Change for Me" 4:05

2."I Don't Want to Lose You Now" 4:11

3."Miss Disarray" 3:30

4."Wave Bye Bye" 4:07

5."I'm Ready" 4:22

6."Somewhere Tonight" 3:56

7."Go Crybaby" 5:00

8."If You'll Be Mine" 3:14

9."Dead or Alive on the 405" 3:02

10."Something Real" 4:03

11."Goin' to California" 3:44

12."Please Don't Ask Me (iTunes Bonus Track)"

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7 comments Log in to Comment

Anonymous
Thu Oct 21 2010 13:08
off key, flat, lack of synchronization in the harmony sections, mindless. These phrases sound specific enough for me. The band comparisons the critic used were also helpful. Beach Boys, Blowfish...This tells me right away not to waste a lot of time with this "simplistic and generic" album.

I will check out a couple of the songs, simply because I wouldn't want to miss an opportunity for "humming these songs later" . I appreciated the critique and hope the writer doesn't get discouraged by the blasts on here.

Anonymous
Sat Oct 9 2010 09:36
Anonymous #1, you need to get off your high horse. If you have a problems with the article try offering some constructive criticism or, better yet, start writing for the IC.
Regarding thesaurus overload, are you having trouble understanding the language? Is that why you think this?
And Finally,
"Oh, and Hanson is spelled with an 'o', not an ‘e’, as a simple Google search would reveal."
What normal person runs their entire...well, anything-longer-than-a-phrase through Google search. Do you make a habit of running your essays through Google search just-in-case?
Anonymous
Sat Oct 9 2010 09:18
their** by bad.
Anonymous
Sat Oct 9 2010 09:15
Anonymous 2: Do you realize that a review is an opinion? You can't tell someone they're opinion is wrong.
Anonymous
Tue Oct 5 2010 19:25
"Not only is this written horribly, but it is also simply not true. Give a listen to No Chocolate Cake and I'll bet anything you will find yourself humming these songs later."

i forgot that you can take something subjective like music and prove it true or false. what an idiotic comment. that is why reviews should be taken with a grain of salt.

Anonymous
Mon Oct 4 2010 23:54
Not only is this written horribly, but it is also simply not true. Give a listen to No Chocolate Cake and I'll bet anything you will find yourself humming these songs later.
Anonymous
Mon Oct 4 2010 14:04
Seriously, this is written by someone for a university newspaper? I happen to disagree about the album, but more importantly, this comes across like a 'C-' middle school report. "This lack of quality, which is seen throughout much of the album, is off-putting to most, especially music aficionados and musicians."-- How can you write this AND attach your name to it? You offer very little in terms of details, other than comparing a few songs to music by other bands. The whole review screams of MS Word thesaurus overload and you offer no examples of the supposedly simplistic lyrics. You repeatedly compare the band to other professional musicians and then say that it DOESN’T sound like professional musicians. What were you on when you wrote this? Oh, and Hanson is spelled with an 'o', not an ‘e’, as a simple Google search would reveal.

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