Take away Metro Station's connections to the Hannah Montana franchise, and what remains is strikingly similar to Panic! at the Disco: a group of teenaged emo boys with an affinity for teenaged emo girls, MySpace, and electro-pop beats. Both bands owe their initial success to a computer-obsessed age where groups are signed on the strength of their MySpace plays, regardless of their history as a live act (which, indeed, is how both of these acts were awarded contracts). It's a genre that relies as much on style -- the members' haircuts, the cut of their jeans, the swoons they'll induce -- as substance, and Metro Station is certainly all about style on this glossy debut. To the band's credit, there are some perfectly acceptable cuts here, particularly the tracks where keyboardist/programmer Blake Healy runs amok. He is the band's secret weapon, supporting his two frontmen with enough bubbling synth to keep the ship float. However, it's below the surface that the quartet runs into trouble, as not much exists beneath the polished sheen of teenaged lyrics and electronica-lite. Take the club-worthy "Shake It," whose stirring chorus is a genuine call to the dancefloor for even the most dedicated of wallflowers. But the verses are little more than high-school fluff, delving so far into the hormonal desires of their jailbait songwriters ("Your lips tremble but your eyes are in a straight stare; we're on the bed but your clothes are laying right there") that the memorable song -- once a guilty pleasure -- now simply makes the listener feel guilty. This doesn't always have to be the case; a teenaged Eve 6 once asked their listeners to "tie [them] to the bedpost" in "Inside Out," and the song still topped the charts. Eve 6 sounded old, though, while Metro Station bask in their illegality with songs like "Seventeen Forever" and the tellingly-titled "Wish We Were Older." Scattered moments of pop craftsmanship remain, but Metro Station is largely a destination for the same impressionable audience that made Hannah Montana a hit.
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey