The buzz of yesterday was the revival of classic three-chord, skinny tie-era punk music, thanks to the triptych of The Vines, The Hives and The Strokes.
But fads in music come and go as fast as reality TV show "stars," and all of those bands have to prove this year that they were more than just novelty acts.
On that score, The Vines fail to deliver conclusive evidence on their new CD, Winning Days. While the band does deliver a record that moves in some new directions, it rarely delivers any memorable hooks that live on in the ear after you play them.
There are bright moments. The opening track, "Ride," is a three-chord slash-rocker that gets things started fast. The Beatlesque "Winning Days" offers a well-turned harmonic chorus and even a subtle underpinning of strings to support the song's uplifting message.
There are also weird, but headbanging moments — "TV Pro" starts out sounding like the efforts of a dreamy female-fronted Euro-pop band, with lazy falsettos and chimey guitars. But then the band hits the power chords to launch into a manic chorus that has no words (they just yell "ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-oh" and "da-da-da-da" over and over). I don't know what it's about, but it's catchy and rocks hard.
"She's Got Something To Say" goes back to the Beatle-derivative well with a more upbeat psychedelic guitar attack. The problem is that lots of bands sound like this; it could as easily be Oasis as The Vines, which does little to continue to establish this band as an innovative force with a unique voice.
In fact, there are several cuts on Winning Days (like "Sun Child") which, if you weren't looking at the album cover, sound more like Oasis than anybody.
Winning Days isn't a bad disc, it just sounds more like a new Oasis album with a shot of punk, than the album that's going to firm up The Vines as an act that can carve out its own new territory. Their 15 minutes may be about up.
The Very Best of Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne's best work is two decades behind him, but this two-disc collection gives a concise summary of the singer-songwriter's career, with heavy helpings from his first few albums that helped mold the '70s "California sound," and then single-serving samples from his last handful of albums.
The Very Best of Jackson Browne runs in essentially chronological order of the songs' release dates, so the first disc is the strongest, featuring "Doctor My Eyes," "Jamaica Say You Will," "Rock Me on the Water" and "The Pretender," which remain as impressive and powerful as they were when they were first released 30 years ago.
The disc also includes his still-popular road song "The Load-out," the seque to his cover of "Stay," as well as his version of "Take It Easy," a song he wrote with Glenn Frey that scored a big hit for The Eagles.
The second disc offers "Running on Empty," "Boulevard," "Somebody's Baby," "and "Tender Is the Night," before beginning to chronicle his slow fade from pop relevance, beginning with "Lawyers in Love," and continuing through "Lives in the Balance" to the title track from his last disc, The Naked Ride Home, which was critically acclaimed, but still lacking in the kind of amazingly personal, yet universally affecting songs which made him the household name he became in the '70s.