Something Corporate, Straylight Run

Something Corporate rose to mall-rock prominence with "If You C Jordan," a spiteful piano-pop ditty about an annoying kid at school whom singer Andrew McMahon branded a "little redhead bitch." If there's one thing worse than a bully, it's a bully pretending to be a sensitive guy in order to score chicks. That said, I'd prefer more bullying over North, the Orange County-based band's latest, which is so steeped in meaningful piano plonks and tender guitar strums it forgets to have any fun. Straylight Run, with two ex-members of Long Island heartthrobs Taking Back Sunday, wisely offsets the piano plonks on its debut with a terrific emo-disco tune called "Tool Sheds and Hot Tubs."
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Mikael Wood