Driver of the Year: Some Girls Would Say . . .

Justin Cober-Lake

Driver of the Year

Some Girls Would Say . . .

Label: Future Appletree
US Release Date: 2003-05-13

Driver of the Year has apparently spent too much time traveling down I-95. The group's debut album Some Girls Would Say..., like the interstate, bores me incredibly even when it's chaotic or filled with junk. Neither the highway nor the band has any aesthetic appeal.

The four (or occasionally five) members of Driver of the Year sound like a bunch of ticked-off party boys who unfortunately squandered some of their beer money on instruments. To make up for their mistake, the rockers named two of their ditties "Stuck up Drunk" and "Cheap Ass Wine". Hopefully, all you grammarians out there inserted the missing hyphens at the appropriate places in your head; otherwise, you could spend the afternoon pondering an appalling drink possibility.

The band could have at least done us the favor of using up all its bar money. Instead, Driver of the Year downgraded to something cheap and skunky and got all angsty and tried to write some songs to go along with their new instruments. Hence, the "Rock n' Roll Revolution" [sic] is upon us. Oh, my. Musically, the revolution hasn't really changed since the Beatles put a little blues shuffle into things, a guitar line that Seth Knappen has borrowed heavily from. Lyrically, Driver of the Year is a little confused -- it's not the listeners who "don't know shit". In fact, with luck, the listeners will have switched off the stereo before reaching this midpoint of banality.

"Stuck up Drunk" follows the revolution with its opening "Who's going to drive you home tonight?" (a lyrical and melodic nod to the Cars' "Drive", of all things). Singer Jason Parris answers his own question: "Cause with a mouth like yours it sure as hell ain't me". I'd be willing to let that slide as it refers in part to an earlier conversation. In the next verse, however, the band fully embraces its adolescent worldview with "I don't wanna sleep alone tonight / And with an ass like yours, I know this isn't right". The band slows down for this track, but it maintains the frat-basement atmosphere that's been so carefully crafted. Driver of the Year mixes it up a bit, though, by trading in its usual empty lyrics for some poetry that would be offensive if only it wasn't too idiotic to bother with. For an album titled Some Girls Would Say..., women have no place for a voice. The naked woman on the cover might even feel compelled to roll over.

By the end of the fifth of these seven tracks, you'll probably have had enough. The band's been lifting music without even an ironic acknowledgement (with the possible exception of the title of "Rock 'n' Roll Revolution") and the lyrics have been unbearable. Finally, though, we're rewarded for our wait with "Cheap Ass Wine". If you've ever wondered what Poison demos sounded like, you'll probably be fist-pumping and shouting out the top of your 1986 Firebird when you hear this one. Driver of the Year knows it, proclaiming, "The prize is right over here". Actually, I don't find it to be much of a prize; this track doesn't even deserve the effort my snarking requires.

The only advantage to listening to all seven tracks is that it gives you a full amount of time to realize that Driver of the Year sounds most like Ted Leo and the Pharmacists without the technical skill, the vocal chops, the melodic sensibility, or the lyrical insight. Some Girls Would Say... rocks like aging hair-bands built upon junior high loner poetry.

I'm frustrated less with the band than with its label, Future Appletree Records. Future Appletree hasn't been around very long, but its people have uncovered some very promising bands, including Tenki. The label's worth keeping an eye on, but if it keeps releasing albums like Some Girls Would Say..., then it's going to develop a reputation for wormy fruit.

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.

20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta

Keep reading... Show less

Hitchcock, 'Psycho', and '78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene'

Alfred Hitchock and Janet Leigh on the set of Psycho (courtesy of Dogwoof)

"... [Psycho] broke every taboo you could possibly think of, it reinvented the language of film and revolutionised what you could do with a story on a very precise level. It also fundamentally and profoundly changed the ritual of movie going," says 78/52 director, Alexandre O. Philippe.

The title of Alexandre O. Philippe's 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) denotes the 78 set-ups and the 52 cuts across a full week of shooting for Psycho's (1960) famous shower scene. Known for The People vs. George Lucas (2010), The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus (2012) and Doc of the Dead (2014), Philippe's exploration of a singular moment is a conversational one, featuring interviews with Walter Murch, Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Osgood Perkins, Danny Elfman, Eli Roth, Elijah Wood, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Neil Marshall, Richard Stanley and Marli Renfro, body double for Janet Leigh.

Keep reading... Show less

The Force, which details the Oakland Police Department's recent reform efforts, is best viewed as a complimentary work to prior Black Lives Matter documentaries, such 2017's Whose Streets? and The Blood Is at the Doorstep.

Peter Nicks' documentary The Force examines the Oakland Police Department's recent reform efforts to curb its history of excessive police force and systemic civil rights violations, which have warranted federal government oversight of the Department since 2003. Although it has its imperfections, The Force stands out for its uniquely equitable treatment of law enforcement as a complex organism necessitating difficult incremental changes.

Keep reading... Show less

Mary Poppins, Mrs. Gamp, Egyptian deities, a Japanese umbrella spirit, and a supporting cast of hundreds of brollies fill Marion Rankine's lively history.

"What can go up a chimney down but can't go down a chimney up?" Marion Rankine begins her wide-ranging survey of the umbrella and its significance with this riddle. It nicely establishes her theme: just as umbrellas undergo, in the everyday use of them, a transformation, so too looking at this familiar, even forgettable object from multiple perspectives transforms our view of it.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.