Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Maybe it's our first mistake

Today's post will be of interest to about, oh, two other people somewhere on the Internet, who'll have to stumble across it while randomly googling some day. Still, those two people, like me, will be very glad to have this little footnote of pop history in their collection.

I have an unhidden love for American pop-rock group the Click Five's debut album, Greetings From Imrie House, though I haven't had much reason to discuss it recently. Still, it's pretty reflective of a side of me I don't get many opportunities to feature here, since sadly there aren't too many people making great music in that particular style. With a lead single penned by Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger that is just about as much of a dose of radio-ready light-guitar sparkle as "Stacy's Mom" or "That Thing You Do"...



...and just-as-good tracks penned by the group's own underrespected Ben Romans (and often featuring healthy doses of synth)...



...the album felt tailor-made for me: energetic pop-rock with youthful intensity, boy band-style vocals, and polished, controlled rock chops. It's probably the first album that took over my life for a period of time.

Anyway, as teen hearts must be, mine was eventually broken. The lead singer, Eric, left the group, and took his keening-friendly voice with him. I wanted everything to be the same, clung for a while to the hope that nothing had changed, but was left feeling a lack of attachment to the group's second album, Modern Minds and Pastimes. Maybe the level of song quality had dropped off somewhat, though gems were still to be found, but I was left feeling most of the (I hesitate to use the word even now, as it's not really his fault) blame fell to new lead singer Kyle. His voice seemed a little more Plain White T's, a little less capable of soaring, teen dream-style (if it's any consolation, Kyle, most of Eric's solo material seemed intent on leaving behind that style of singing and mimicking yours or an even more unappealing sludgy type of rock). The album didn't sell as well as the first, though the lead singer change was probably the least of the problems there, and I was left listening to a few live recordings of a couple of the new songs as sung by Eric, wondering about what might have been.

I still live in ungrounded, feverish hope that some day we'll get to hear any and all studio recordings matching up Eric to those second album era songs, but here's one for now, albeit not one of the album's highlights--well, not a highlight as it appears on the actual album.

15 The Reason Why by poppostergirl

This recording of the ballad "The Reason Why," which appears on Modern Minds and Pastimes as sung by Kyle, is still unfinished, but it features Eric's voice, and that change alone instantly makes it better, much as the part of me that wants to let go of this whole lead singer disappointment thing would rather have my suspicions in that regard proven unfounded. If this is your first exposure to the group, though, don't start here. They have better introductory songs--almost anything on their first album, really.

You can buy the Kyle-featuring second album by the Click Five, Modern Minds and Pastimes, here (physical) or here (digital); it includes his version of this song. Alternatively, you can buy the Eric-featuring debut album, Greetings From Imrie House, here (physical) or here (digital).

2 comments:

Paul said...

i was thinking about Click Five and what happened to them just the other day. The debut album does remain a modern pop marvel and the second album just didn't cut it - either as a standalone or compared to the first; either way I tried to love it and can now only tolerate it. I know they put some music out on their webpage a little while back but nothing since. I'd love it if they did a scissor sisters and returned with a third album that mirrored their first. But i'm not holding my breath...

Poster Girl said...

I was surprised to find out they are still together! The fact that they've still got their main songwriter is good news, and it's Ben's involvement that always makes me want to like the second album more than I do (it's hardly his fault Eric left). I'm never successful at talking myself into loving it, though. Love that comparison...if only. Still, how great is that Scissor Sisters album?! Enjoying it a LOT.