Based on the name of today’s band, edibleRed, you might think I was talking about a new brand of cinnamon-flavored gum. No, this is just a band that really digs the color red. The lead singer, Collette McLafferty, dyes her hair red and wears at least one red article of clothing in every promo photo I’ve seen her in, and two of the other bandmates look like the lost members of My Chemical Romance in their black suits and red ties. I think there’s supposed to be some implied edginess in all of that red, seeing as McLafferty is described as a “femme-fatale” in their bio and in the liner notes of the album she is credited for providing “vocals and bad behavior.”
Normally, I don’t really care all that much when a lot of effort goes into creating an image for someone just to push a little more product, but when the image goes too far and the product falls behind then I get a little annoyed. I’m not saying that edibleRed is a bad band or that I hate their debut album Welcome to My Bad Behavior, but nothing about their music strikes me as being particularly edgy or femme-fatalish. I suppose the closest they come is the song “Television,” which is a pretty cliched rant about how TV desensitizes people and makes them stupid. It’s got a catchy tune, but the message is pretty bland and trite.
I don’t mean to pick on the band, I guess I’m getting tired of so many artists talking the talk without walking the walk, so to speak. I will resist the urge to rant any further and just continue on without any more tangents.
So far I’ve only had bad things to say about edibleRed, but there are definitely a lot of good things to be said about them. For one, despite the issues I have with her faux image, Collette McLafferty is a really good singer. She’s got a very soulful voice that adds a lot of power to the album. I think her vocal talents shine through best on the final track, “Better Days,” which is probably one of the most enjoyable songs on the album. During the gentler parts of the song it sounds kind of like smooth jazz being played in a smokey night club, and when the song picks up during the chorus it sounds more like some of the better power ballads out there. McLafferty handles that huge stylistic transition very well and makes an already excellent song sound even better with her fervent singing voice.
There are at least a couple other tracks that stood out to me as being particularly interesting. The fourth track, “The Meaning of Shady Part 2,” has a very memorable, well-crafted chorus that acts as mortar that keeps the song’s entire architecture strong and stable. The line “arrivederci baby” is a very effective hook simply because the repeated use of the “ee” sound glues that phrase to whatever part of the brain songs tend to get stuck to. But the really interesting thing about mental staying power of the song is in the cello riff played by Tom Papadatos during the intro and the choruses. edibleRed is probably the only pop-rock band I can think of that uses catchy cello riffs in their music.
The eighth track, “Sugar and Spice,” is another really strong track that has even been used on the Showtime program “The L Word.” More than any other song on the album, I would say that this one is very formulaic. But I have no problem with something being formulaic so long as the right formula is used and a good product is the result, which “Sugar and Spice” definitely is. It sounds just like a good pop-rock song should.
I think there’s only one song on the album that I regard as all around bad. That would be edibleRed’s cover of “Hey Ya.” It just sounds so dull and tedious. And McLafferty’s vocals sound like something from audition stages of American Idol. It’s almost as if she were using her slew of singing techniques and her stylistic range just for the sake of using them and to show off her talent as opposed to using them to make the song sound better. And is it just me, or is “Hey Ya” becoming THE song to cover nowadays? I really don’t hope that this is the sign of a dangerous trend that will annoy the hell out of me in the coming years.
A few of the other songs on the Welcome to My Bad Behavior are pretty good. Nothing too special, but decent enough pop-rock songs. The album has its ups and downs, but overall I’d say it’s enjoyable. If it were a movie, I would describe it as a popcorn flick: not a masterpiece, but certainly fun. It might be worth your while to buy it if you really crave pop-rock.
Purchase Welcome to My Bad Behavior by edibleRed
edibleRed – Meaning of Shady Part 2
edibleRed – Sugar and Spring
edibleRed – Better Days
To find out more about edibleRed, visit Select Records and their MySpace page. In fact, I highly suggest you go to their MySpace page because there’s a video on there featuring them as contestants of Cash Cab. I have a lot more respect for them because they seem to be pretty smart and well-informed. They also seem like a bunch of dorks. But I have no problem with that. Those are the kind of people I hang out with.