Rhett Miller, RHETT MILLER

Most musicians have a "signature sound," their own recognizable way of putting together a tune. If there's not enough variety, a familiar sound can become repetitive. This is the fate of Rhett Miller, the third solo album by Old 97's frontman Rhett Miller.

As always, Rhett Miller's music is about love lost and love not found. From the opening "Nobody Says I Love You Anymore" to the hopeful/wishing "Sometimes," Rhett's a lonely soul out to make a connection. (The exception: the science fiction-themed "Happy Birthday Don't Die.") Indeed, Rhett's trademark voice sometimes feels like it'll crack under the emotion any second.

The problem is that this is nothing new, and the songs on Rhett Miller tend to wallow in the mellow. Almost none of the songs have the energy of his work with the Old 97's or his impressive first solo album, The Instigator. Some of the songs here are catchy, and Miller always has a different sound than either top 40 radio music or classic rock. Still, Rhett Miller has a been there-done that feel for anyone who's heard Rhett Miller's other work.

Overall grade: C
Reviewed by James Lynch

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