Friday, July 20, 2007

150. The Bacon Brothers: Getting There (1999)

Writer's Note: This was the second album review I ever wrote. I composed it at work one February day to amuse myself and my friend Shalini, who found the record for cheap and loaned it to me.

The Bacon Brothers' 1999 album Getting There is further proof that entertainment crossovers are just a bad idea. Just as Britney Spears' acting failed to redefine cinema as we know it, no one should expect much from a musical project by Hanes pitchman Kevin Bacon.

Surprisingly, this is actually the second effort from the band (which is filled out by bassist Paul Guzzone, drummer Marshal Rosenberg and Kevin's brother Michael). Lest you think this just the whim of a bored star, consider that Kevin himself wrote or co-wrote 9 of the 15 songs on this album. He appears to be at least as serious about being a rock star as Keanu, Jared, Minnie, Juliette or Russell.

The album isn't unlistenable, but it isn't good either. The opener Ten Years In Mexico has a pleasant James Taylor sort of vibe, complete with harmonies and thoughtful acoustic guitar. But it's all downhill from there. As the album progresses you realize that the brothers can't decide if they want to be Taylor, Alabama or Bon Jovi. The result of this musical identity crisis is a bevy of jarring stylistic shifts, often within the same song. There are poppy harmonies, country rock cliches and even the occasional outbreak of an '80s electric guitar solo, just to be hilarious.

The slow songs are nearly unbearable, mostly because they allow you to focus on the inane lyrics. Example: "Now you can build yourself a monument / Yeah you can write your name in stone / But you're checking out like you checked in / naked and alone." Most of the lyrics are along these lines, hackneyed attempts to evoke a wizened worldview.

Perhaps that's why the Brothers aren't nearly as bad when they cover other artists, such as Smokey Robinson's Don't Look Back and Tom Waits' Jersey Girl. But even these performances are hampered by bland vocals and boring arrangements.

One tune, Not Born To Beauty sums up the Bacon Brothers experience. I kid you not, this song is a lament for musical performers who have great talent but are not handsome or beautiful enough to become stars. Maybe the Bacon Brothers should check their black kettles and their glass houses, for they are part of the problem: A mediocre act who gets by on having a movie star in the band.

Avoid this record. Go rent Apollo 13 or Diner instead.

Grade: D+
Fave Song: Ten Years In Mexico


Anonymous said...

OMG! I can't believe you put this review in here. And connected my name with it. No comment about owning it... I think that it might be on the floor of my closet somewhere. Or else being used as a drink coaster.

Anonymous said...

Don't lie Shalini - we know that is your favorite album of all time despite the fact that you left it off your Rate Your Music list. I know you love to listen to this album every day during your commute to work and belt out the tunes. There's a reason you didn't just trash it when you move from MN to CA :)