Alex Band

We've All Been There

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Like many artists whose goal is to craft ear-catching pop music, Alex Band makes for a nearly irresistible critical punching bag. When you add in his having labored for years over his debut full-length solo album, We've All Been There, introducing charges of self-importance and pretentiousness, any resistance crumbles. Band might be described as a one-and-a-half-hit wonder, given that he scored a Top Five success with his band the Calling in 2002 on "Wherever You Will Go," then, in a bizarre example of record company machinations, added his voice to the radio and promotional version of Santana's Top Ten hit "Why Don't You and I" in 2003. (Chad Kroeger was the original singer when the song appeared on LP, but his record company protested when it was released as a single.) Seven long years later (not counting a 2008 EP that was called The EP), Band re-emerges with We've All Been There, which, it seems safe to say, the world has not exactly been anticipating as much as it did Chinese Democracy. In fact, Band is practically forgotten. We've All Been There is supposed to change all that, however, and in that effort it consists of 14 radio-ready Adult Top 40-type pop/rock anthems, complete with Band's carefully groaning low tenor; choruses that come on fast and return frequently; lyrics full of greeting-card clich├ęs; and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink productions. Actually, it may be that production that sinks Band's attempted comeback, since he doesn't sound as if he's been listening to the radio in the last seven -- or even the last 25 -- years. We've All Been There, from its opening title song, which sounds like a lost Big Country track, to the single "Without You," which is dangerously similar to U2's "With or Without You," sounds like it was intended to be the biggest pop/rock album of 1985, not 2010. And yet, it's easy to imagine one of these songs -- any one of them, really -- being played over the end credits of a summer date movie and re-igniting Band's career, even in the second decade of the 21st century. Pop music hasn't changed that much, after all, in the last 50, much less the last 25 years, and ear candy is ear candy.

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