Never let it be said that Sugar Ray doesn't know its audience. They make no bones about making Music for Cougars, those cougars being the very girls that shook their hips to "Fly" back in 1997 and are looking for a little bit of the same breezy vibe 12 years later, a little bit of sexy nostalgia to get them through their summer, a soundtrack to a few girls' nights out. Sugar Ray is not only comfortable with this vibe, they embrace it with open arms, dropping references to Sex & the City on their discofied "She's Got The (Woo-Hoo)," taking time to remember "When We Were Young," but they also have a keen eye on the present, and are not above trying to seem modern, rewriting Katy Perry's "Hot & Cold" for the chorus of "Closer." This kind of cheerful opportunism has always served Sugar Ray well -- remember, they abandoned their sub-Chili Peppers shuck-and-jive as soon as Lemonade and Brownies didn't work out -- and it does so here, probably because their half-decade rest has given them time to recharge the batteries, letting them pile up some typically infectious sunny pop hooks, the kind that worm into the subconscious no matter how hard you resist. Not that everything on Music for Cougars works -- like the titular aging sex kittens, Sugar Ray can sometimes try too hard to seem younger than their years, pushing the dance beats a little bit too hard, and Mark McGrath relies on some unseemly Auto-Tune, but even with this too-evident aural botox, the group remains a guilty pleasure that's a bit hard to resist.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine