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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

If He Lives or Dies, Who Cares?

If He Lives or Dies, Who Cares?
If He Lives or Dies, Who Cares?

I wanted to like Get Steady from Jonny Lives. The quote from The Village Voice on the CD cover promised “Post-Radiohead pop/rock with teaming guitars and airy vocals,” and went on to tell me that I “owe it to [my]self to see them.” They even have an impressive line-up of special guests including Nick Valensi of The Strokes. And then there’s the cover art, featuring the band in white tuxedos at a full-course banquet meal on the walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge. I couldn’t tell whether or not it was Photoshopped, but it’s a cool idea nevertheless.

So, I eagerly listened to the first couple of tracks, “No Good” and the title track, “Get Steady” and noticed the slick production, aggressive guitar riffs, simple chord structures and decent vocals. But nothing jumped out at me. Nothing was particularly interesting, no lyrics profound jumped out.

In fact, the title track is particularly sophomoric despite its slightly ironic take on the misogynistic behavior of guys with newfound success: “I don’t need no cheap success, I’m ready I’m ready, get steady, get steady. Fools like us could live like kings, I’m ready, I’m ready, get steady, get steady.” Rhyming ready and steady isn’t that creative in the first place, so why do it twice? Thinking of all the indie acts with brilliantly tortured lyrics who starve in the street instead of getting record deals makes me wonder how these guys ever got signed.

But I kept listening. The next few tracks did nothing for me, except occasionally remind me of my old Everclear and Blur albums from the 90s. Once they even caught a bare fraction of the funk-rock of the Chili Peppers. Unfortunately, it’s all ground that those bands cover far better than Jonny Lives. Until I got to “Cliché.” OK. If you’re going to name a song “Cliché,” you’d better make sure it’s a darn good song and NOT at all clichéd. Sadly, Jonny Lives failed again.

There is one almost redeemable track on this album, “Everybody’s Trying to Break You Down,” which has some interesting minored-sounding chords. Except for the lyrics, which rip off The Doors: “I said babe, we can’t get much higher.”

Altogether, this album is completely forgettable. If this is how Jonny lives, he’d better get a life.