Sunday, October 4, 2009
Frickin' A - the best band you have never heard of
I stumbled across Frickin' A by accident really. As a band, they're no longer together, but some of the members went on to form Lovesick Radio - a band I've really grown to like.
I bought Frickin' A's 2004 album "Big Egos...No Ideas" off Ebay for about $4 - a bargain really for any CD still new in the wrap.
The band is hyper-aware of the music industry, its failings, and the bands that are their peers. Half the songs are break-up songs, the other half
2. Just Friends
4. Jessie's Girl
5. Party Like A Rock Star
6. Dump Me
7. Naked In My Bed
8. Cut Number 7
9. Last Summer
10. One Step Away'
The album opens with the song "Drive", a catchy 3-chord pop-punk song about the remnants an ex leaves behind. "Your cigarettes are in my backseat, and I can't get very far listening to the CD mix you made me. There's your lipstick on my floorboard, your footprints on the dashboard, you're everywhere but by my side, and I can't drive," the lyrics go.
"Just Friends" is the highlight of the album. A little bitter, a little tongue-in-cheek, this was the song that got me interested in the band and the best song on the album.
"Trend" pokes fun at the often ridiculous fads in the music industry. A good, solid song that is pretty amusing for anyone who knows these fads all-too-well.
It was their cover of "Jessie's Girl" (originally a major 80's hit for Rick Springfield) that gained the band some attention. It's a good cover, but nothing remarkably different from the original. Here, it works and doesn't disrupt the flow of the album like many covers (Britney Spears's cover of "The Beat Goes On" by Sonny and Cher comes to mind. 10 years later, I still feel this is one of the oddest song choices ever included on an album). This song has a slight more rock edge than the original, but largely sticks to a winning formula.
Another one of my favorite tracks "Party Like A Rock Star" is a bit ambiguous. I can't tell if it is empowering to the girl who is the subject of the song, or if it points out the sadness behind the partying. However, it makes the song a bit more interesting than a typical rock 'n roll party song. Maybe I like this one because it reminds me of my college days.
"Dump Me" is more of a funny break-up song than the others, about a guy who doesn't seem to understand that his girlfriend is breaking up with him. A catchy sing-a-long track. "Stood me up on Tuesday, our 3 month anniversary, I might not make it through the day. I think she's going to dump me, yeah."
"Naked In My Bed" is an okay song, but features lyrics like "I met her at the pool, she was smokin' hot". Kind of reminds me of Avril Lavigne's Sk8ter Boi, "He was a boy, she was a girl." Pretty obvious, yes.
One of the most interesting songs on the CD is called "Cut Number 7", an almost 8 minute epic about a band getting their start in the music industry. They write an amazing song, but between A&R people, the record label, focus groups, and their fans, they lose track of which song actually should be released as a single. After the failure of their band, they realize they should have stuck with the original song that captured everyone's hearts so long ago.
"Last Summer" is all about being 17 and having nowhere to go, the first summer that you fall in love and feel all too much, all at once. It's a great nostalgia track.
"One Step Away" is one of the longer songs on the album, and a slower ballad - in stark contrast to the rest of the album. It is interesting that they choose this song to close off the album, but it's a good track all the same.
Overall, this album stands out over the mediocre pop-punk of bands like Simple Plan. They're self-aware, which lends itself well to not falling into self-parody. They have a wicked sense of humor and great pop-rock hooks. The lyrics can be hilarious and hint at something deeper - at the same time. It's worth tracking down this album on Ebay, as it's no longer available in stores.
Check out the band's lyrics here: http://www.azlyrics.com/f/frickina.html