Saturday, August 18, 2012

#28: Fastball - Keep Your Wig On (2004)

You know Fastball, right? They're the guys that brought you, 'The Way', 'Fire Escape', and 'Outta My Head' back in 1998. They were a pretty big deal back then, and then all of a sudden, they were gone - which is a shame. I remember buying this record on a whim after remembering just how awesome their debut album, 'All the Pain Money Can Buy' was. And while that album may have spawned a few big hits, I think I prefer this record.

I Get High
This song more than all the others has a very Beatle-esque feeling to it. Maybe that's why I enjoy this song (and Fastball) so much. Usually songs that have drug references completely turn me off, however, this song has a charm that most other songs lack. Such an amazing piano part, it's kind of a slow swashbuckling sort of blues with some guitar lead over the top. That is, of course, until you get to the pre-chorus which ramps it all up just to bring it right back down. And the falsetto's on the chorus? That's where the butter is.

Till I Get it Right
Probably the coolest track on the album, it even has it's own name check. But what this track really does well in terms of songwriting is on the chorus. The song's lyrics continue to change the song's dynamic, and with that changes the chorus as it continues to get more and more out of control. This provides a great break for the bridge which is (again) Beatle-esque. It's one of their best written songs. It never loses the trademarked Fastball harmonies that make this album so good and it's just really fun to sing along to.

Falling Upstairs
The harmonies on this is really, and truly where the butter is. Back when I was talking about the falsettos on the chorus of 'I Get High' that's low fat butter. This is the good stuff. On the chorus there's a harmony where the two vocals are very close but slightly different causing a lot of dissonance, it makes a sound much like an alarm clock. It's a really cool effect to just the best track on the album, and you know what - I lied again - it's the coolest track on the album too.

All in all, it's a really good album. It doesn't do anything overly amazing, but they do everything very well. The harmonies are spot on, the production is good, and the songs are just plain fun to listen to. What I'm most surprised at, is how much I enjoy the two Fastball albums I own and yet I haven't purchased more. Prior to this review I hadn't listened to this album in probably four months, but I think it's going to go back in the rotation. Music doesn't always have to have a hidden political or social agenda, sometimes it can just be there to give you something to crank when you have the windows down - and because of that, it's a really good album.

Tomorrow's Album: Tito Puente's Dance Mania.

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