Pop Rules

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The California sound of soft, summery pop never felt so authentic and grand as on this terrific effort by pseudo-one-man band Jeremy. At just over 50 minutes and with some 20 songs to perform, Jeremy Morris uses more than enough talent to effortlessly plow through the less-than-three, sometimes two-minute gems that seize control of your motor skills for his own musical bidding. His voice immediately brings to mind the Byrds or Tom Petty at his most soul-baring ballad best, particularly the gorgeous, high school prom waltz of "The Answer." Although some might believe the lack of different tempo or alternative arrangements is a large knock against it, the sheer payoff, when done correctly, far surpasses any small stylistic problems. Equally pleasing is the consistency within from the jangle on the tight yet loose "Good Times" or the airtight opening of "It's Getting Better." There are a few songs which just miss the bar, including "Open up the Door," which is a bit too tart for its own good. The middle portion seems to be adventurous, with the riff rock of "Father of Lies." The vocals also evoke John Lennon circa "Strawberry Fields Forever" on "Everywhere I Go" to an almost eerie plateau. Ending with a series of three farewell songs, the appropriately titled "Joy Song" ends the record. Don't operate heavy machinery while listening to this because it is, without a doubt, a brilliant pop album in every sense of the word.

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