Secondhand Serenade

Hear Me Now

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AllMusic Review by

Talking to Billboard Magazine in early 2010, John Vesely promised that Secondhand Serenade's third album would be “more upbeat” than those preceding it. Released several months later, though, Hear Me Now still clings to Dashbooard Confessional’s downtrodden template, with all 11 tracks subscribing to the notion that a song isn’t worth singing unless it involves heartbreak and defeatist lyrics. “I hate myself when I’m away from you… please don’t hate me, too,” Vesely pleads on the opening track. Over the next 35 minutes, he laments his loss of faith, his lover’s lack of confidence, and being “stuck in this life I didn’t ask for.” The tempos may be bouncy throughout -- “So Long” is downright buoyant, even -- but this is still fairly melancholic stuff, with every major-key chord progression being dragged into the murky depths by Vesely’s sad-eyed lyrics and open-armed embrace of emo pop clichés. Hear Me Now isn’t offensive; it’s just predictable and anonymous, since none of these songs offer up anything that Secondhand Serenade’s Warped Tour comrades haven’t already done with their own albums. For someone who’s completed three full-length records of his own, Vesely should know that standing out from the pack is better than disappearing within its ranks.

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