Adam Green: Friends of Mine

[17 August 2003]

By Jason MacNeil

Adam Green‘s tenure with the Moldy Peaches ended at the turn of the millenium. No longer with the band, his name will always be associated with them. Now with his third album in two years after Garfield, Green gives the listener 15 songs, which should get most their money’s worth, correct? Well, not really since it clocks in at 33 minutes. He gets things going with “Bluebirds”, a quirky song that has the lines, “I don’t go out for lunch and I don’t go out for c-nts”, which might make you replay the song as you question yourself, “Did he really say that?” Backed by Matt Romano on drums and Steven Martens on bass and tambourine, Green has a knack for quirky, namedropping Barnes and Nobles before strings are inserted. What is perhaps most remarkable is how much he can say in so little time without making the song too wordy or lyrically heavy.

“Hard to Be a Girl” is more of a melodic pop ditty which Green gives a deep, quasi-country feeling. “Here’s an empty kiss marching to the rhythm of the payroll / I can be a good boy too, just let me out of the stable”, Green sings as the acoustic strumming is pleasant. The string arrangements, which are a staple for the entire album with the exception of “No Legs”, add a bit of texture but are used too often. “Jessica”, which is a tune about singer and pop icon Jessica Simpson, is humorous but seems to be taken too seriously for Green. It is enjoyable for the first minute but will be instantly forgettable by the conclusion. “What’s on the menu / Jessica can you take down my order please”, he sings over a somber tempo. Weird Al Yankovic has nothing to fear here, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on your outlook.

“Musical Ladders” starts with Green and an acoustic guitar, recalling the early-sixties folk or late-fifties country sound. Green’s vocals have a slight echo to them, while the alt. country sound clashes with the classical strings. It’s an odd blending but somehow works as Green talks about prostitute fingers fumbling with matches. By the fifth song you realize that there are a few good lines here, but overall this really should be an EP or placed in some other format. “The Prince’s Bed” is a tad different from the previous songs, especially with a larger orchestrated song structure. “Hey princess over there / Why are you sitting over there”, Green sings with little to no great effect. “Bunnyranch” has a Ben Folds feel to it, with a slight urban hip-hop backbeat to it. Green sounds for a few moments like an early Ricky Nelson. For the song though, it comes across like an uncompleted idea, ending after a minute and a half.

The title track is okay but nothing too over the top or remarkably striking is audible. “Frozen in Time” has a brief fleeting moment where a pop format is going to break out, but never does. Instead one is left with Green and acoustic guitar, with strings going to come in at any minute, which it does. “Broken Joystick” consists of a slight Latin or calypso feeling within, thankfully lifting Green from the rut as Klansmen dance according to Green. “I Wanna Die” might be the oddest pro-euthanasia theme ever. Here the singer talks about being buried with a Rubik’s cube.

“No Legs” will do one of two things to the listener by this point—laugh hysterically at the first verse or just roll one’s eyes and yawn. It’s outrageous but just for the sake of being outrageous, which has a short life span. The slow romantic prom dance of “We’re Not Supposed to Be Lovers” is a late moment of greatness, but generally this record isn’t one you’ll be raving about years or even months from now.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/greenadam-friends/