|The female/male pop rock concoction was a huge thing of the ‘90s on the radio. If you remember what you heard on the radio in the ‘90s, you know the sound – The Corrs, Lisa Loeb, Liz Phair, K’s Choice, Sixpence None the Richer, Sheryl Crow, I could go on and on. Blue Background, a 2 female/2 male pop rock mix from Fort Wayne, Indiana fits perfectly in this radio-friendly group. Although some of these artists are still on the radio years later, it seems this kind of pop rock is a dying breed, and with so much exposure to more unknown bands these days, Blue Background is the next new fresh young band to try to bring the vibe back.
Blue Background’s latest EP, Are you Listening, offers the same ol’ pop rock formula – acoustic guitar and sweet, layered vocals – but the organs and keyboards add a little flair to their otherwise trite style.
“Through to You”: Matchbox 20 with Lisa Loeb vocals and a sprinkle of whiny keyboards. Vocalists Sarah Mick and Maggie Tielker are a cute duo and their voices do meld quite nice together. It reminds of Avril Lavigne in terms of the sugar pop sound, but with much better vocals.
“Blame It All on You”: This one is a little more “heavy” because the vocals sound aggravated, although the lines “Counting Crows on the radio / grab this before it leaves” and “I throw my fingers in the air / and I’m okay because that sometimes life’s not fair” completely confuse me. What was the point of mentioning Counting Crows? And fingers in the air? Huh?
“Anything From Anyone”: Definitely reminds me of early ‘90s pop, kind of like Belly or Magnapop. This one is a highlight not because of the lyrics, but because the melody is so catchy, albeit incredibly formulaic.
“Given Up”: Nice piano for this mellow ballad, but all in all it’s a snoozer.
“Radio”: Other than the cliché changing the radio before and after the song, it’s enjoyable. Reminds me very much of The Corrs.
“This Time”: See “Through to You.”
“From the Start”: The dramatic closer, with keyboards purring in the background, more intense vocals, and guitars and drums that are used to maintain the beat. This would be a song that would be on that show The OC where the girl would be at the airport about to board her plane when her crush runs stops her and confesses his love. It’s that kind of song.
So is Blue Background awful? Not at all. This band has a lot of work to do, but they’re very talented and can create some good, catchy pop songs. The problem is that although there will always be an audience for this type of music, the genre is played out. If they came out with this EP 10 years ago, it would have caught on much sooner. Even pop rock goddess Alanis Morrissette is struggling to find her niche again; it’s obvious that the pop rock public has moved on to the likes of Green Day, Maroon 5 and Evanescence. But music history does repeat itself, and when this genre is hot again, I’m sure Blue Background will be waiting.