Golden-spiked pop/rock boy-child Ryan Cabrera is consumed by teenage heartbreak. As the protagonist for nearly every song on his (better than it should be) major-label debut, Take It All Away, he pines for loves both past and present like a deer on the highway faced with the field, the median, or the truck. For the most part it's the latter that the young "heart-rocker" chooses to get into it with, but the singer/songwriter/guitarist and his golden-tipped man-child/producer -- Johnny Rzeznik from the Goo Goo Dolls -- have concocted such a lively musical landscape for their "dear diary" lyrics that it's almost impossible not to smile amid the frank -- albeit clichéd -- emotional wreckage. From the opening "Mr. Blue Sky"-style piano rocker "Let's Take Our Time" to the falsetto-rich tenderness of "True," Cabrera proves himself to be more than just another pretty face with a lot of industry money behind him. He's got a great voice, a knack for incorporating Beatlesque key changes into otherwise mediocre melodies, and a healthy, irony-free take on angst that will earn him a raging sea of young women to wade through. Rzeznik fills each track with a combination of modern Pro Tools wizardry and good old-fashioned guitar playing -- ornate finger-picked acoustics appear randomly throughout -- and it's a testament to his industry tenacity that each one sounds like a potential hit. Take It All Away is as disposable as the pop genre itself, and Cabrera is the perfect proxy, but if he can ride out the fleeting fame and fortune that goes hand in hand with a big-money/radio-ready industry record, he might just have what it takes to build a career on his own terms.
Take It All Away Review
by James Christopher Monger