Review: Train's new CD is stuck in the same soft-rock track

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Posted: Jan 23, 2017 1:00 PM
Review: Train's new CD is stuck in the same soft-rock track

Train, "a girl a bottle a boat" (Columbia Records)

Some people simply adore Train. Others simply loathe them. The band's new album is unlikely to change anyone's mind.

The band — now without lead guitarist and founding member Jimmy Stafford — has returned with an unmemorable, fluffy and yet desperately needy soft-rock CD, "a girl a bottle a boat."

Train, the band behind "Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)" and "Meet Virginia," is once again as edgy and raw as a Labradoodle puppy. If Train was an article of clothing, it would be mom jeans.

Take "Play That Song," the new CD's first single. It's instantly cloying and catchy — the way "Hey, Soul Sister" was — until you realize they've swiped the melody from "Heart and Soul," the Hoagy Carmichael tune kids learn to play on the piano. Fans will adore it. Others will consider it a crime against rock.

On the new 11-song disc, Train tries some doo-wop ("Valentine"), some faux-Coldplay ("Drink Up"), dance-pop ("Lost and Found") and a bombastic piano ballad ("You Better Believe"). But it's all so very limp, especially coming off their completely unnecessary remake of "Led Zeppelin II" last year. Even the album's comma-less title — apparently advocating drunken boating? — doesn't really fit the vibe.

The best song is "Working Girl," but it's marred by typically atrocious lyrics that rhyme "game" with "Aspartame" and "never been" with "Ritalin." Still, lead singer Patrick Monahan does have this advice for anyone firmly anti-Train: "If you don't like it, let me get the door for you."

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Mark Kennedy is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits