Secondhand Serenade

A Twist in My Story

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The second album by Secondhand Serenade, aka singer/songwriter John Vesely, finds the former solo artist making a grab for the pop-emo brass ring. Featuring production by (separately) Avril Lavigne and All-American Rejects knob twiddler Butch Walker and former Nine Inch Nails member Danny Lohner, not to mention full-band re-recordings of two of the debut's strongest songs, A Twist in My Story is an unapologetic mainstream alternative pop album. The more grandiose arrangements add strings, layered harmonies, and other arrangement details to a songwriting style once hallmarked by its singular focus. (Vesely has explained the band name by saying that his songs are all dedicated to his wife, and the fact that others get to hear them is secondary: hence, Secondhand Serenade.) However, in expanding his sound, Vesely has lost everything that was even approaching uniqueness in his music, with the result that A Twist in My Story is a bland, over-produced alt-pop record with little to distinguish it from the likes of Five for Fighting or even the egregiously mellow Jason Mraz. Vesely might luck into airplay for tracks as pleasantly inoffensive as first single "Fall for You" or the two re-recorded tracks from the debut, "Maybe" and "Your Call." But overall, A Twist in My Story is unfortunately forgettable.

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