The Problem With... Train's "Drive By"

When reviewing previous Train songs in my column, I imagined lead singer Pat Monahan as one of those guitar-playing guys on college campuses who hasn't grown out of it. A few years later, I'm starting to understand Train's target demographic might be the women who were captivated by these jerks when they were students. Even though the women have moved on, they may wish for a guy who will whisk them away on a white horse to a romance-novel dreamworld.

Of course, I'm stereotyping. Yet my description uses fewer cliches than a typical Train song.

Train's latest single, "Drive By," is driven by an acoustic guitar and a diluted pop beat. Monahan sounds he's imitating Red Hot Chili Pepper's lead singer Anthony Keidis -- must be a California thing.

Monahan is confused. The first verse starts with the singer seeing someone who resembles a woman, and continues with the explanation, "'cause you moved to west L.A. or New York or Santa Fe or wherever." Either the object of his affection wants to throw her stalker off with random city names, or they're like J.Lo and have careless travel plans.

The chorus has a sappy and conflicting message: "Looking for a two-ply Hefty bag to hold all my love." That may mean he wants to throw his massive love away in a trash bag. Actually, Train's listeners may appreciate someone who takes out the trash. Am I right, ladies?

The chorus ends with cliche lines like, "I'll be there for ya" and "the way you do me" and that '90s phrase, "If you don't like it, sue me." Maybe I will, gosh!

Like Train's 2010 song, "Hey, Soul Sister," this track sounds crafted for daytime commercials for appliances or cleaning products. Hefty will no doubt use this track because they're named in the lyrics.

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4 comments
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What were you thinking?
What were you thinking?

HAHAHA. Is this a joke? This is the worst review ever. Not a huge train fan myself, but you're just criticizing for the sake of critcizing, trying to make clever quips wherever you can. Quite childish really. 

"Either the object of his affection wants to throw her stalker off with random city names, or they're like J.Lo and have careless travel plans." The worst line ever read anywhere ever. If you can find ACTUAL flaws in something do point them out. But don't look for any excuse to write something negative just to make yourself sound smart.

advocatus diaboli
advocatus diaboli

There is little music (or any art) that cannot be perceived as derivative any more if you are willing to stretch for argument enough. Music is, after all, entertainment and nothing more. And entertainment, like art, is in the eye of the beholder. You are free to have your opinion but why you think it is more valuable than millions of others is puzzling. Especially since you don't pay any more for music than others which makes your opinion no more and no less valuable. Those who cannot do, become critics.

flashtrum
flashtrum

Sharear or whatever your name is: 

I think you are the one who is confused (and possibly jealous). As someone who was a budding musician as well as a journalist writing music reviews, my experience is that most "music journalists" are musician wanna-be's. Especially those writing for "blogs" and not really published. 

Also, get your facts straight about these "jerks". Monahan is usually out front with keyboards, not a guitar. Additionally, if you LISTEN, he can deftly move from Tenor to Falsetto and does so frequently. (Feel free to look those terms up on Wikipedia). He's no Tim Finn Falsetto (please - again, I understand you'll have to do some additional research here) but he delivers with a punch. 

"This lyric means he wants to throw away his love in a trash bag". Really? This is a well-researched or well thought out review/comment? If I were your editor (from the looks of it you don't even have one) I'd have recommended you move the next stage of your career to McDonald's. I'm not a huge Train fan, don't own their last two records, but this is an extremely poor excuse for a music review. Feel free to contact me directly, I'd be happy to give you free journalism tutoring. Good grief! 

Oh by the way - Happy 13th Birthday. 

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