No Use for a Name

The Feel Good Record of the Year

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No Use for a Name begins The Feel Good Record of the Year with "Biggest Lie," a screed against wealth, class, and political follies. It's the most forceful song on an album that's equally divided between social commentary and deeply personal moments. On several numbers, including "Under the Garden" and "Night of the Living Living," the two themes end up blending with curious results (the former ends up as a fairly cohesive story, while the latter is a bit too vague). What all of the songs on The Feel Good Record of the Year have in common is a tendency toward light, fun melodies, which makes it easy to miss the melancholy lyrics that dominate the songs mid-way through the album. It's actually a shame -- the disc could have done with some variation, which in turn would have added some musical depth. In this case, the pervading cheeriness detracts from songs like "The Trumpet Player," where the line, "We're out of medication, the world is out of love," bounces along too quickly to have the impact that it should. It's just one example of the main problem with The Feel Good Record of the Year; unlike the group's previous album, Keep Them Confused, it lacks the variety needed to keep it exciting. (There are two acoustic numbers, "Sleeping Between Trucks" and "Kill the Rich," but it would have been nice to have a couple more.) It's certainly not a bad album, but it is disappointing in the sense that nothing stands out. There are no unusual rhythms from Matt Riddle or Rory Koff, no exceptional riffs from Dave Nassie, no lyrical or vocal surprises from Tony Sly. The benefit of sounding familiar is outweighed here by a feeling that The Feel Good Record of the Year is slightly stale. It's a fun album, just not a very inventive one.

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