John Oszajca

First Sign of Anything

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First Sign of Anything is about the breakup and the rebound, but it mostly just longs to be by Butch Walker. Or Stroke 9, or even Eve 6, whose Max Collins is a contributor here. For his first album since 2000's From There to Here, John Oszajca has made a record of L.A.-friendly alt-pop that does very little to distinguish Lisa Marie Presley's ex-fiancé, and actually sounds like it could have come out before 2000. "Runaway," "Long Goodbye," and "Go Away" are superficially catchy songs that, like the artists mentioned above, rely on familiarity to make their connection with the audience. After all, it's easier to sing something broad like "I'm picking up the pieces" or "I don't like this feeling/Make it go away" then actually trying to describe how it feels to get dumped. Oszajca makes it clear that it happened to him, and that he got over it. "I'm Alive" is his -- well -- it doesn't go much deeper than the title, but you get the idea. But his lyrics have the emotional ballast of an MTV Films production; his Pixies approximation on "Broken" is nearly criminal, and most of First Sign of Anything's melodies were already tired when rock like this was still played on the radio.

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