Containing one of the best cover designs (a Home Shopping Network style doll advertisement) and titles of the year, Introducing the New Ordinary does just that. Vote for Noah layers the album’s 16 tracks with a style you’ve heard before and will hear again. Which, when done correctly, as it mostly is here, is not so bad. The album is chock full of an alt-pop-rock standard sensibility like that of Dada or Sloan: power chords, sing-songy verses, acoustic ballads, pleasant harmonies. All that’s really changed are the words and chords, but Introducing the New Ordinary, achieves at least a modest goal: it’s generally listenable.
If you can ignore the eccentric song titles, which try to give the tunes an exponentially more bizarre aura then they actually have (“High Hair Famine,” “Anatomy of a Starfish,” “Solar Mechanic,” “Menudo Safehouse,” “Cautiously Approaching Infinity”), you will be subtly rewarded. “Now and Then” is delicately poignant and “Wednesday,” with it’s “Baba O’Reilly”-esque beginning, is head thumping pop fun. The sugary “Iddy’s Gone Away” evokes, for better or worse, R.E.M. covering Green Day. All in all, in the midst of its derivation, the album has a feel all its own.
The problem with including 16 songs on a record is always excess, which there is a fair amount of here. With the exception of stellar double albums, like the White Album or the Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (which also have fluff issues of their own), you always run into second guessing of consolidation efforts (c’mon—“Savoy Truffle?” Never played it all the way through.) Introducing the New Ordinary could have been a fine 11-song undertaking, as opposed to a somewhat uneven and redundant 16 song one.
But these things happen, and then you move on. Introducing the New Ordinary begs you take it for what its worth, not to hail it as the second coming. Hell, it might not even be the first, but it is new.
// Notes from the Road
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