An Album a Day: Metro Station

May 25, Metro Station by Metro Station

Genre: Imagine a world where Gene Belcher of Bob’s Burgers attended Warped Tour and was inspired to make an album. That album would the same genre as Metro Station. I’m not 100% sure the world has a word for this genre yet. 
Year: 2007
Runtime: 30:56
Total Number of Tracks: 10
Songs you might know:
– “Seventeen Forever”
– “Control”
– “Kelsey”
– “Shake It”

My prior relationship with the album: Like many, I first heard about Metro Station in the mid to late ’00s, not because of anything particularly impressive the band had done musically, but because they were related to slightly more famous people. The lineup that made this album is composed of four people, and among them are Trace Cyrus (Miley Cyrus’s brother) and Mason Musso (older brother of Mitchell Musso, who had a part on Hannah Montana and was semi famous among tweens in 2007).

Initially I found Metro Station to be somewhat comical. They were wannabes who would never have signed a record deal if not for connections they made through being related to other people. And their music kinda sounded like it. I made fun of them much the same way I made fun of Disney Channel artists of the same era.

However, Metro Station actually had staying power that 2007 Anne never would’ve anticipated. It turns out that when YouTube autoplay decides it’s time to listen to “Shake It” or “Seventeen Forever,” post 2010 Anne has been surprisingly excited at the opportunity. In fact, both songs inspired an entire playlist entitled “00s sexual frustration” that is quite delightful. However, I wouldn’t say I remembered much of the album beyond these two tracks, and maybe “Kelsey.”

 My impression this time around: This is one of those albums where I’m trying desperately to come up with a sound, logical, intellectual reason to like it, because I feel like I like it, and I want to be able to rationalize that. To be honest, it’s rather difficult. Trace’s “singing” is more or less just whispering with attitude, and while Musso’s voice is adequate for the music in question, it’s certainly nothing special. Lyrically, this album is teenagers whining about not getting laid, and they’re not particularly creative about it either. Musically, we’re talking pretty basic guitar riffs over some beats that may or may not be default beats that come pre-programmed on Garage Band. And I would still probably argue that this album would’ve never been made if not for the band’s connections to more famous people.

There’s an odd, inexplicable charm in the way Metro Station kinda sounds like something a teenager could’ve thrown together in their bedroom with a guitar, a synthesizer, and Garage Band. There’s a sloppiness about it, but it’s an exuberant sloppiness. It’s just an unapologetic catharsis that’s infectious enough to make me forgive the band’s lack of technical skill.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how consistent this album was. As mentioned, I only really remembered the two big hits from this album, and I kinda went in expecting the rest of the album be of a lower standard. However, “True to Me” and “Now That We’re Done” were forgotten gems that surprised me with how good they are. “Shake It” is still my favorite song on here, but I was able to listen to the whole album without a strong negative reaction to anything, including songs like “Kelsey” or “Wish We Were Older,” both of which I remember hating when I was younger. Overall, I’d say if you like either “Shake It” or “Seventeen Forever,” even if it’s just in a guilty pleasure way, you’ll like enough of the other songs here that it’s worth your time to listen to the whole album, especially since it’s so short.

On that note, let’s take a paragraph to thank Metro Station for how short their songs are. They deserve a lot of credit for being self-aware enough to keep most of these songs under 3 minutes. Most of the hooks are catchy enough to make for a fun listening experience as long as the run time is so short. And with the longest song only being 3:28, no track overstays its welcome. Kudos to Metro Station and their realistic notions of how interesting their songs were.

Who would enjoy it? This is a great one for people who like pop music that is a little rough around the edges. It’s not really accurate to call this album “rock” but it does have a similar doesn’t-give-a-shit energy to it, so I could also see rock fans enjoying it as long they’re not super insistent on technical proficiency.

 

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