Review: Plain White T’s – American Nights

The Plain White T’s have returned with an album that is technically sound, in the sense that it performs its function of being a commercially available pop/rock album successfully, its production is wonderful as the instruments consistently sound great and the producer has done his best in making an average sounding voice sound somewhat acceptably nice- to a point.

The point I’m getting at is, although the album sounds great technically, and WILL perform the function of earning a lot of money I’m sure, it just lacks all sense of originality. To some extent it is as though the T’s have produced a cover album without actually covering any songs. The songs simply regurgitate the same structure/sound/style from their contemporaries without adding any of their own style.

Once again, the sound of the album is- nice. Its production is great and you can tell that a lot of money has been pumped into the making of this album, the acoustic guitars on the album sound particularly lovely… it just lacks originality both in the melodies and lyrics. Take the chorus of ‘American Nights’ for example: “We’re gonna light up the streets baby … shake up these dreams baby  … lose a little sleep baby”. The track ends in a euphoric use of ‘woahs’ and ‘ohs’ alike to Coldplay, FUN, Imagine Dragons, Lumineers etc etc.

There seems to be a formula these days, a form of alchemy proposed by a lead music exec chemist for making the most sellable pop/rock album. Somehow, somewhere, someone has found a combination that, when employed by a band, creates this particular radio friendly sound that ever so graciously, or not so, blesses our airwaves. Plain White T’s, on their return, have been reduced to repeating this formula employed by various bands over the last few years.  Sounds good, but simply lacks originality.

Ben Allen

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