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The Format - Dog Problems (Cover Artwork)

The Format

The Format: Dog ProblemsDog Problems (2006)
Vanity

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: danperroneDan Perrone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

So I was driving to work the other day, and decided to try out the new record from Arizona's the Format, Dog Problems. Long story short, throughout the duration of that half-hour ride, I felt like it was going to be a good day. Dog Problems is so pop that it hurts. It's as pop as this kind of mus.
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So I was driving to work the other day, and decided to try out the new record from Arizona's the Format, Dog Problems. Long story short, throughout the duration of that half-hour ride, I felt like it was going to be a good day.

Dog Problems is so pop that it hurts. It's as pop as this kind of music can get while still retaining an indie or rock sensibility. Laced with acoustic guitars, piano, moog, bells, some tasteful horns, and a light-hearted feel to the music, this album is perfect for a summer drive down to the shore. This group has a knack for creating insanely catchy tunes, and although the lyrics are filled with spite and despair, you wouldn't even be able to tell, as it's placed over some happy-as-hell music. If you need a smile, I'd suggest Dog Problems.

While we're focusing on the lyrics, it's fair to say that someone broke vocalist Nate Ruess' heart. Actually, I should rephrase: Someone absolutely freaking annihilated this dude's whole life. Songs about girls can be rather tame and also pretty whiny, but the words here really paint a picture of how distraught this man really is. I myself really feel bad for this guy, and it's not every day that someone can really evoke such emotion and sympathy in their lyrics. It almost gives Dog Problems an ironic feel, with the music sickeningly happy and poppy and the lyrics all upset. Regardless, I felt it was an important point to bring them up, as most other poppier music dismisses lyrics entirely.

While Dog Problems has its fair share of great songs, it falls victim to another demon of pop: the inevitable boring filler. When creating music so simplistic and catchy, it's easy to just completely miss the mark and make something totally bland, and songs like "Dead End," "Pick Me Up," and "The Compromise" are prime offenders. The last of the three tries to replicate the guitar-driven sound of the band's previous works, and sticks out like a sore thumb, while the first two boast weak choruses, the prime driving factor in a great, catchy song. "Snails," from the band's previously released EP of the same name, is dumbed down with the inclusion of a faux-string section which just sounds cheesy, and "Matches," although just an album opener, doesn't really engage the listener.

The band is at the top of their game when it sounds like they're going with the flow and not trying to overdo it, as "She Doesn't Get It" and "Oceans" don up-front keyboard pieces and upbeat rhythms. The title track is all over the place, yet strangely feels pulled together, creating one of the more interesting songs this year, and "Time Bomb" is straight-up infectious. The final standout track is the closing track, which starts out acoustic and then rocks -- not in the vein of "The Compromise" in trying to still be overly catchy, but instead speeds ahead to the finish line, all with the most hopeful lyrics throughout the twelve tracks. It's a nice way to end such a lyrically depressed effort.

There's not too much reason to totally dislike Dog Problems. Take it for what it is: pop music. You may not like it at first (hell, I sure didn't), but it takes on a new light when it's blasting out your windows on a warm, sunny morning. Maybe that's the key? Who knows, but I do recommend this.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
stephaniebari (September 24, 2006)

I know that this album sounds nothing like Interventions and Lullabies. That is because this album is 3 years older, 3 years wiser, and the artists have been through heartbreaks, label changes, and so many other different experiences. While most people listen to music without actually listening, if you actually take the time to listen to the words, this album has almost more heart, more reality, than Interventions. The poppy sound behind the words simply makes the entire album ironic and heartbreaking. I love Dog Problems, and just like Interventions three years ago, I have not taken the CD out in months.

stephaniebari (September 24, 2006)

I know that this album sounds nothing like Interventions and Lullabies. That is because this album is 3 years older, 3 years wiser, and the artists have been through heartbreaks, label changes, and so many other different experiences. While most people listen to music without actually listening, if you actually take the time to listen to the words, this album has almost more heart, more reality, than Interventions. The poppy sound behind the words simply makes the entire album ironic and heartbreaking. I love Dog Problems, and just like Interventions three years ago, I have not taken the CD out in months.

larold (July 28, 2006)

i can't listen to this cd in a full...it truly is nothing like the interventions cd...interventions was good, this is carnival music. ew

Anonymous (July 20, 2006)

This album does deserve 4 stars, but there is NO WAY it is better than Interventions and Lullabies. That was THE most complete album from start to finish that I have ever heard. This is in a different area for the Format though, without any "major label" hands really touching it, and they did do an amazing job, a true testament to their songwriting. Does anyone hear comparisons to the Beach Boys at parts? Instrumentally this album has alot in common with Pet Sounds...

i-type-poorly (July 18, 2006)

This album has ELO written all over it, but it's good. Fun album. Much better than Interventions, which kinda lost steam halfway through.

Anonymous (July 18, 2006)

I remember when Sam was in Never Gonna Score here in Phoenix. They tried so hard to be New Found Glory.

Glad he moved on.

ooannabeginsoo (July 18, 2006)

While this is a very fair review and I tend to agree with the criticism of several songs, this is by far the best album I have heard in a very long time.

This album is perfect to get anyone out of a music rut. It is absolutely addictive- I can't get it out of my CD player. I was planning to go to one show and after listening to the CD I have tickets to go to all four within 3 hours of where I live.

Interventions Lullabies was a wonderful album but Dog Problems surpasses both I L and virtually any punk album released within the past year. I haven't heard a bad review yet from any of my friends, even ones that aren't into punk music. It has also received rave reviews from other punk bands that can be viewed on myspace and livejournal.

Buy this album!!! You will not regret it!

Keith19 (July 17, 2006)

It's a good album. The whole packaging of the album is pretty cool, and the songs are good. Dog Problems being the best. I also really like If Work Permits.

Anonymous (July 17, 2006)

The Format is awesome! I just saw them at The Rialto on 7/17, the second night of their Dog Problems Tour. They were great! Love the new album, but like the rest I had to listen to it a few times before I really appreciated it.

tick tock, your'e not a clock your a time bomb baby, a time bomb baby oh

danperrone (July 17, 2006)

admittedly i as well hated this album on first listed

RokBottom (July 17, 2006)

Its funny, I was extremely disappointed on my first listen (also that I had already bought my tickets for the concert). But, I listened to the album a few times at work, without really paying attention to it and next thing I knew I was really wanting to hear a few of the tracks again.

I think this is just a CD that grows on you more than one of the ones you fall in love with right away.

Anonymous (July 17, 2006)

"I can't really give it a rating since I've only listened to it once and deleted it from my hard drive since I didn't like it much at all. I liked parts of Interventions & Lullabies, but this just seems forced and kind of circus music like. I may give it another chance somewhere along the lines...She Doesn't Get It is a pretty good song, though."

Yea, I too thought it sounded pretty fruity, but I'll admit I only gave it one spin. I'll have to give it more of a chance but based on one listen it was kind of circus/panic at the disco vaudeville or something...maybe I am not hearing it right.

Paul

danperrone (July 17, 2006)

apology accepted, but you really shouldn't slam something because you think you'll get crap from the other people here or because you want to have the favorable opinion...

Imposs1ble (July 16, 2006)

I gotta apologize to the reviewer. I gave him crap in the past about praising this album, but it seems that people around here like it. It's not my thing at all, but I wrongly assumed that the majority of the readers would hate this.

RokBottom (July 16, 2006)

Great Album.

Just saw the band live in Tucson last night. Great show, great feel, even if the openers sucked.

FYI: Me and the 6 people I went with counted for half of the people with 21 wristbands, this band is apparently loved by little high school girls.

i-type-poorly (July 16, 2006)

Oh man, this is out already? So picking this up tomorrow.

Anonymous (July 16, 2006)

this album is one of the best so far thus year; if not THE best. its so catchy and fun.

and the cd packaging makes it worth purchasing alone. jesus christ its amazing.

Anonymous (July 16, 2006)

i'm thinking that less 15 year old girls know about the format than say, Say Anything.

uobrock (July 16, 2006)

I can't really give it a rating since I've only listened to it once and deleted it from my hard drive since I didn't like it much at all. I liked parts of Interventions & Lullabies, but this just seems forced and kind of circus music like. I may give it another chance somewhere along the lines...She Doesn't Get It is a pretty good song, though.

Anonymous (July 16, 2006)

Never heard this band, love the album title though

danperrone (July 16, 2006)

i'm really surprised at the positive reaction this is getting

sweet

Anonymous (July 15, 2006)

Please don't kill me but this is one of the best albums of the year. Seriously, give it a chance.

Anonymous (July 15, 2006)

you people kill me. first of all, 15 year old girls all across the country do not even know about this album, much less are they "stoked" about it. second of all, with every fucking review of any band you read, someone has to comment on the trite and redundant subject of the lyrics about heartbreak, love, loss, etc. you write me a song about something else that i entirely enjoy, i dare ya! face it, most music covers the same subject in some new way, and i prefer to judge it based on its lyrical content, instrumental ability, and its overall feel when i listen to it. people are not going to stop writing songs about the same topics, get over it. the format are a quality band... yes from arizona, and i'm sure this album will be even more successful than the last.

Anonymous (July 15, 2006)

this is just the format's new cd with anathallo playing as their back up band. but man, it's soooo fucking good.

mjg (July 15, 2006)

this album is so happy. i enjoy it.

Anonymous (July 15, 2006)

This shit is might be good, but it doesnt compare to the norwegian singer/songwriter Jan Eggum! You guys should check him out.. Catchy as hell

Anonymous (July 15, 2006)

"the format release a new album - and 15 year old girls across the country are totally stoked."

It never ceases to amaze me how people on this website seem totally uneducated on many things.

indie_is_better_than_punk (July 14, 2006)

yes, the title track to this album absolutely kills. unfortunately the rest is forgettable.

larold (July 14, 2006)

i didn't even know this was out already lol. the first album was pretty good though. i will check this one out just because i was pleasantly surprised when i stumbled across the first album.

sally_field (July 14, 2006)

This album should probably be played on a carousel.

It's pretty enjoyable.

Anonymous (July 14, 2006)

the cd packaging for this is fucking dope. i can't say i've ever seen anything like it.

Anonymous (July 14, 2006)

the format release a new album - and 15 year old girls across the country are totally stoked.

swingline (July 14, 2006)

this is going to be homosexual in 6 months or less.

Bob_Nanna (July 14, 2006)

i thought the format was from Illinois..........im not a fan so maybe it's possible i'm wrong

Anonymous (July 14, 2006)

too busy obsessing over the new dragonforce to care to check this out.

Anonymous (July 14, 2006)

yeah, the title track is quite amazing. I agree lyrically, it may just be a cliche subject, but he makes it interesting. every over at absolutepunk is blowing their load over this stuff, but for good reason. Definitely some great pop.

Vincent_M (July 14, 2006)

Twee as fuck. But enjoyable!

tylerdurden8136 (July 14, 2006)

The title track is absolutely amazing.

Nice review.

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