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Race for Titles: self-titled

Jason Thompson

Race for Titles

Race for Titles

Label: The Redemption Recording Company
US Release Date: 2002-10-29
UK Release Date: 2002-11-18

Time for another crying jag. Is it just me or are there more and more groups lately that seem to be punishing listeners with overwrought albums of modern pop filled to the gills with second grade sorrow? It makes me yearn for Morrissey, and I was never even a fan of his. But damned if all these new fangled sweet and cuddly mopey groups couldn't take a few lessons from the past masters. Nebraska's Race for Titles is yet another entry into the already overloaded closet of weep-pop that needs to get its act together if they really plan on succeeding.

Let's face it, "Race for Titles" isn't a name that's really begging to win many a fan over, but then a lot of great bands in the past have had less than notable names. Unfortunately for this band, however, the music and lyrics are not any more exciting than its uninspired name. Race for Titles is nothing more than a band you just want to pick up and shake a little bit to wake it up. Hello? Could you please try to engage your audience? We are out here, you know.

Frankly, I've come to end of my rope with bands such as these that wear their hearts on their sleeves and say the same old things that all the other bands doing the same old things are saying. It's almost akin to the explosion of online diaries. Trolling through most of them yields nothing but the same old "woke up, fell out of bed, went to school" tales. Well, Race for Titles isn't offering anything new in the field of whining, either.

Musically, the band sounds like a cross between Faith-era Cure and the poppier moments of the Church. That is, the sound is spare and gloomy but not totally without moments of melody. Still, both of those other bands did much better than Race for Titles does here. "We Can Start Here" attempts to achieve a sort of sparkling pop sound, but there's no real form to the song. It never evolves, and its lyrics, which mope aloud with lines like "Our friendship meant more in the beginning / In the beginning / Is this all I am good for / Is a place to hide yourself", are such the epitome of dreary diary that they couldn't even stick to the grungiest of walls if you threw them against one.

It's the same thing that kills songs like "Jackson" ("Can I close these doors / Feels like my life is caving in") and "Static Online" ("Don't bother saying goodbye / Just leave the note on the table"). With sub-par lyrics that never amount to anything more than a mere whimper, how can anyone possibly care? The music never pushes itself to be anything more than a jumbled din of a pretty lead guitar meandering in a corner while the rest of the instruments go through their spare bass/simple drums concoction. You can hear these songs wanting to break out into something more, but they never do.

With so many bands on the map anymore that sound similar to Race for Titles, one would think that someone out there would at least be trying to rewrite the sensitive modern rock book just a little. So far no ones has, and it seems that the majority of these groups are content to weep in their mics to whomever will listen. It's truly hard to imagine bands like Race for Titles lasting very long while turning out simplistic product such as this. Will anyone care? Do they already? Probably not. File Race for Titles under "Sell for a Dollar at Amazon".

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