Blackbird on a Lonely Wire
T.J. Simon's #12 album for 2003
First Appeared at The Music Box, May 2003, Volume 10, #5
Written by T.J. Simon
If you look closely, you can see Will Hogeís star rising. Blackbird on a Lonely Wire, his major-label debut, was just released on Atlantic Records, and Not That Cool, the first single, is in rotation on commercial radio stations across America. The disc itself is an enjoyable, if formulaic, collection of guitar-driven power pop drawing from the styles of The Wallflowers and The Gin Blossoms. The new album even features a pretty ballad (Baby Girl) with duet-gal-for-hire Michelle Branch. She and Hoge also share a producer (John Shanks), who brings a more expansive sound to Blackbird than heard on Hogeís likable indie debut Carousel.
Thematically, Hoge is not blazing any new trails on Blackbird. The guitar-rocker All Night Long is about a girl who just wants to rock and roll ó you guessed it ó ítil the wee hours of the morn. On the ultra-catchy Secondhand Heart, Hoge pines away for the girl who just canít make him number one in her heart. Notwithstanding the strip-mined lyrical subject matter, you get the feeling that Hoge can write power pop hooks in his sleep. He clearly crafted these dozen songs with his cross hairs set on rock radio exposure, and every one of the numbers is so relentlessly beguiling that itís no wonder he caught the ears of the music industry so quickly.
Blackbird on a Lonely Wire is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box