Blues Traveler

Blow Up the Moon

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Just when it seemed as if Blues Traveler were settling into a nice, mature roots groove, the band up and makes a star-studded crossover pop album from 2006. The hitch is, Blow Up the Moon arrives in 2015, about a decade or more removed from the glory days of all involved. Apart from Thompson Square, a country act who first debuted in 2011, the guest stars read like the soundtrack to a very special episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: JC Chasez sways in to sing on the title track, Plain White T's of "Hey Delilah" fame play on "Nikkia's Prom," Bowling for Soup show up for two songs, as do 3OH!3, and fellow class-of-1997 alumni Jewel and Hanson both show up for a track apiece (as does American Pie survivor Thomas Ian Nichols, looking to show that he's something more than an actor and not doing a bad job of it). With all these hands-on cooks, Blow Up the Moon feels more like a buffet than a carefully crafted meal; depending on your stylistic persuasion, there may be something to satisfy. The problem with all this diversity is Blow Up the Moon doesn't particularly sound like a Blues Traveler album. All of the artists, even Thomas Ian Nichols, put an indelible stamp on their respective tracks, so this winds up playing like a NOW That's What I Call Adult Alternative Pop from 2006 where John Popper suddenly crashes the party so he can lay down a little harp. No matter how many times Popper pops up -- a total of 14 songs, the length of the entire record -- the incongruity is never not jarring because, apart from the pretty good Jewel ballad "Hearts Are Still Awake" and the nasty condescension of BFS' "I Know Right," Blues Traveler never feel integrated into the proceedings. This may not make for an especially good Blues Traveler record yet it does make Blow Up the Moon pleasingly bizarre, a pandering time capsule bound to satisfy no one. In some ways, a record this monumentally odd is better than a good record.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
feat: 3OH!3
feat: 3OH!3 / JC Chasez
3 3:10
4 3:05
feat: Hanson
6 3:32
7 4:01
8 4:12
9 3:54
feat: New Hollow
feat: Jewel
12 3:30
13 3:15
14 3:37
blue highlight denotes track pick