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“DD Review: Fastball – Step into Light.”

Score: 5.5/10

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At some point, it became that any headway made in rock and roll was going to have to encapsulate an element of male frustration, and the extent to which females have a romantic advantage over them, in life. What I’m thinking of, particularly, is Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf and the repeated, almost sub-conscious mantra of “What you do to me / No one knows”. [1] The notable exception around this time would be The Strokes, but they have a homo-erotic aspect to them.
Now, sadly, as a counterpoint to indie rock which incorporated, ultimately, a wider array of genre influences than ‘90s alternative rock, there came the ridiculous habit of some of these bands to actually mock the very CONCEPT of artistic expression (which I suppose is better than the whole Weird Al thing, mocking actual art). Along these lines, let’s remember Marcy Playground’s “Star Baby” and Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom.”
To Fastball’s credit, they in no way fall into the latter trap here. The only two songs off this collection, in fact, which are too corny to listen to in bars, are “Behind the Sun” and “I’ll Never Let You down,” the latter of which unfortunately became the primary single off of this album. [2]
And at the end of the day, too (this should hardly come as a surprise to anybody), there’s a lot you can learn from Fastball. For instance, in their raucous prime of All the Pain Money Can Buy, they RECOGNIZED and portrayed beautifully the basic spiritual dead ends rampant everywhere in life (the sweet album track “Nowhere Road”), and today, they ILLUSTRATE, perhaps unwittingly, further dead ends by succeeding when they vary stylistically from their old stuff (the vaguely jazz-tinged opener “We’re on Our Way” and the refreshingly non-‘90s-ish reductive Jesus-and-Mary-Chain-type rocking of “Love Comes in Waves”), kissing the street curbs, then, when try to rewrite All the Pain Money Can Buy (“Behind the Sun”; “I Will Never Let You down”). In this way, Fastball as ever hit on a very conundrum perhaps common to many human exploits: when they succeed to the greatest degree is exactly when you’re perhaps least likely to recognize that it’s them at all.
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[1] Who can forget the music video where Josh Homme thinks he’s killed a deer, only to find it coming back to life and attempting wrestle him after he begins saving it).
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[2] By the way, I sort of wish that record companies would just abandon the concept of singles entirely, if they come from rock albums, seeing as whole albums are available for streaming: it’s no longer necessary to have a preview of them.

 

 

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