5.25.2008

The Old 97's -- Blame It On Gravity

Ready for some rock-country songs about heartbreak and being unlucky in love? Blame It On Grvaity, the Old 97's first fully new album in four years, has the band doing what they always do, which is also what they do best.

After the too-clever opening track "The Fool," Blame It On Gravity jumps into the losers in love formula that is the bread and butter of the Old 97's. Whether it's a mournful ode to being alone ("The Color of a Lonely Heart Is Blue") or a rough morning after ("yeah I got brains and I got brawn oh but not enough of either one to wanna go on"), these tunes are for someone who missed romance, by design or accident, and wails about it. For this, Rhett Miller's slightly awkward but passionate voice nails the mood perfectly. (The one non-romance song is "Here's to the Halcyon," in which a sea captain with a disreputable past is going down with the ship and bargaining with God. It's a funny piece, finding humor in the contrast between his promises and life: "I'll pore over my Bible and I'll pour out all my gin.")

Blame It On Gravity is an inconsistent album, with some killer tracks and others that fall flat. And while it's not uncommon for a band to tackle the same themes all the time, this album sometimes has music that's extremely similar to older song the Old 97's have done. But there's plenty here that lends itself to multiple listenings, and an average album by the Old 97's is still superior to most music that gets released!

Overall Grade: B

Reviewed by James Lynch

1 comment:

maria said...

I agree. My father just bought me this CD for my birthday. After a couple of listens...I'm starting to think that the religious "Here's to the Halcyon" might be part of my dad's intention. I've always loved Old 97s and love how this album reminds me of Fight Songs.
Halcyon does make me wonder if the boys have found Jesus...