One week later and I’ll say this…my first review was a bit off the mark. With about 20 listens, I can give you a better review.
Hurley is a pretty fantastic pop album. All of the songs are very well crafted, well produced, and well executed. The Red Album and Raditude had some very strong (in some ways, stronger) songs but the albums had way too many ups and downs to be consistent. Hurley fixes that to some extent. The weakest song in my opinion is the dark-ish Brave New World. I’ve tried to wrap my head about the song but something’s off. Perhaps it would’ve worked better on another album.
Raditude tread the lines of being a “Rivers Cuomo Solo Album” and Hurley has the same vibe. I look at the writing credits and the extra musicians on the album and wonder why Rivers couldn’t collaborate more with his extremely talented bandmates. I wonder why Ryan Adams takes such a center stage on the recording of Run Away (playing bass and guitar).
Rivers shines on this album (which could be another reason why it has a solo album vibe). His vocals are strong and his writing (solo and collaboration) is pretty spot on. What I miss are interjections from the rest of the band. I always enjoy the brief cameos by Pat, Brian, and Scott and their steady and reliable backing. It’s on the album but…it’s just in the back a wee little bit.
I’m now digging Hang On and I take back my “Andrew WK-esque and forced poppiness” comment. It’s a simple and effective pop song. I think I was thrown off by the triumphant introduction. The discovery of Brian’s backing vocals at the end of this tune are killer.
The bonus songs on the Deluxe edition feel like scraps tossed onto the package to get more album sales from the diehard fans. Represent (Rocked Out Mix) is a killer tune but I’ve already got the single edition and that’s much better. After the bonus tracks on the last two albums, this one leaves a lot to be desired.