Train – California 37 album review

Train may not be the biggest band in the world and may not be well known to a lot of people but I am sure that nearly everyone will remember their hits, ‘Drops of Jupiter’ and ‘Hey, Soul Sister’.

California 37 is only the second Train album to reach the top 10 in the UK album charts

So what will their latest album, ‘California 37’ give us? In my opinion it could well be my favourite album of 2012 and this was quite surprising to me because I wouldn’t exactly say that it was my style of music but there is just something about it. Beginning with its opener ‘This’ll Be My Year’ which is basically a run through of Train’s career plus including things that everyone knows about for example in the year 1989 they reference the start of ‘The Simpsons’ and contains one of my favourite lines, ‘I stopped believing although Journey told me don’t.’ Some people won’t like these sorts of lyrics but to me it is clever.

This is just one of a number of references throughout the album including everything from Justin Bieber to WWE wrestler The Undertaker. Nearly every song is catchy enough to make you listen to it, just from the actual sounds like the bounciness, quick strumming and slight reggae style to ‘Drive By’ but then you realise what the lyrics are actually saying and it makes you want to listen to it even more. The stuttering vocal hook in this song also helps and works perfectly for this song.

The next song that really caught my attention was ’50 Ways to Say Goodbye’ which is a song that is more pop but you definitely won’t find many pop songs like this. ‘She was caught in a mudslide, eaten by a lion’ are very good lyrics and you couldn’t imagine One Direction or any other pop bands singing anything like this.

For new fans of Train this album would be a perfect place to start as they will getting a feeling of where they have came from and will enjoy the slight changes in all of their previous albums and for older fans it shouldn’t disappoint, although they may not like the move away from rock as at times it drifts more towards country than anything else in particular the song ‘Bruises’ featuring Ashley Monroe. But this is a convincing attempt at a regular conversation between two old friends and is written brilliantly as it doesn’t seem to be staged so it could get Train even more fans from a different genre.

There are still elements of their older stuff with, ‘Feels Good at First’ a more gentle acoustic song and ‘We Were Made for This’ starting out soft and then turning into early Train stuff and then finally ending the album on ‘When The Fog Rolls In’. I can imagine these three songs being long term Train fans favourites.

Also ‘You Can Finally Meet My Mom’ has a similar style to ‘Drops of Jupiter’ with it having the piano sound to it. The reference in it ‘Even Bieber ain’t forever’ just makes me laugh and the lead singers voice is really easy to listen to as it has its own character. It is such an easy album to listen to and the changes from country to rock are comfortably done so it never seems like the band are out of their depth. However, saying that, the song ‘California 37’ is awful and I really don’t see the point in it but other than that I could listen to this album over and over again.

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The Forgotten Number One Artist- Afroman

Joseph Edgar Foreman spent three weeks at number one in 2001 with his famous song that a lot of people will remember once they hear his stage name, Afroman knocked off Kylie Minogue’s ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ with his single, ‘Because I got high’.

The song highlights the problems of taking cannabis in everyday life and rose to popularity after it circulated round the internet with many new admirers of the rapper. The song was later used on films such as ‘Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back’, ‘Disturbia’, ‘A Thousand Words’ and ‘The Perfect Score’ which made it even more recognisable to a wider audience. But what happened to Afroman and why do not many people remember him unless you say the title of his song?

Well the main reason is he didn’t really have much success in the UK or even in America afterwards but he still continues to write and make new music. He has released 13 albums in total with a 14th expected this year called ‘Marijuana Music’ so he has kept trying to make the breakthrough once again. Surprisingly, he also has a greatest hits album which makes me think that he does have very loyal fans but they must surely be few and far between.

However, I may be being a bit harsh as the album ‘The Good Times’ in 2001 reached number 10 in the US Billboard 200 and the song ‘Crazy Rap’ also reached number 10 in the UK Singles Chart. The album was his first studio album which was composed mainly from songs off his previous independent albums. The most famous song and the number one ‘Because I got High’ was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance in 2002.

The reason this came to my head is because I am becoming disenchanted with the music charts in the UK because it seems to be the same stuff that is getting to number one and nothing really that different seems to get the recognition it deserves. The singles chart is dominated by the same artists and the same genre of music which is now boring to me and I would love to see someone completely different take the top spot from Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. Everyone knows that nine times out of 10 when they release a new song it will go straight to the top spot in the charts. Would Afroman have even got the chance to get to number one in the year 2012? I don’t think anyone would know who he was or even heard his famous song, which would have been very disappointing and shows that the music industry is much harder to break into these days than it once was.