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  Listen Up! 7/17/02 Listen Up!

Wednesday, July 17

The Time, “The Time,” Warner Bros. Records. Okay, I’m back again with this one. Can I help it if I feel like dancing in the morning? I was just discussing this record with Papa Ray. He says it sounds dated, which it does, and he says it was always cheesy, which it was, but he still likes it. That’s because the rhythms pulse and move, and the vocals are pure hilarity. Nobody in this band was a masterful soloist, but everybody in this band made the records sound like a party. Not the kind of excessive over-the-top party like P-Funk, not that there was anything wrong with that, but the kind of party you could hang with your kid sister (if you had one of those) without worrying about her. Too much, anyway.

Marah, “Float Away with the Friday Night Gods,” E Squared Records. I want to support bands like this, that play good old-fashioned mainstream rock with melodic development, and dynamics, and instrumental and vocal skills. I want, however, to be more excited at the end result. Alright, “Float Away” is pretty catchy, and repeated radio exposure could cause me to like it a lot in the same way that those hits from the first Wallflowers album were so pleasant. But, on the whole, this band is just not inspired enough to warrant more listenings.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “ By the Way,” Warner Bros. Records. This record sounds great, this record is full of great guitar playing by the even more fully integrated John Frusciante, this record has some terrific rhythm section work, this record still isn’t quite what I want. I guess my tolerance for Anthony Kiedis goes up and down, and right now it’s not very high. The vocals could be more distinctive. He has a few melodic and rhythmic tricks he pulls over and over and over, and after 18 years since the first album, we’ve heard everything he has to offer. These songs move outside the range he’s capable of adding anything to, and that makes the record into a minor disappointment.

--Steve Pick



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