H2O - GO (Cover Artwork)


GO (2001)


Yesterday was a beautiful day. Sunny, warm, and a cool breeze to lighten the heat. As is the case on most days like this, I had to go to work. My personal hell is a sandwhich shop in the middle of the mall located smack dab in the middle of Lametown USA. I basically do all the work there, so I have two demands: I wear my hat backwards, and I listen to my music.

On my break, I took a trip to the resident, rip-off music store, because I just happened to have 14 bucks left from my paycheck. Normally, 14$ won't get you shit in this store. That's why I was astonished to see H20's new album, "GO", on sale for $12.99. I've never been the biggest H20 fan, but I do own "Thicker Than Water", I do like what I've heard from their other albums (Thanks to fatfreeradio.com and Napster) and I did manage to catch them at Warped 98. However, I was skeptical of "GO" to say the least, because of their move to MCA, and different people on different sites like this one were saying that "GO" was more poppy than anything they've ever done. After all of this was done running through my head, I looked at my watch and noticed that I was due back at hell 5 minutes ago, so I bought it, sprinted through the entire mall dodging goth kids and old folks alike, making it back just in time to get an earful from Satan herself.

It was a slow day, so I could easily get away with standing there, appearing busy, while listening to my new CD play in the back. My first impression of "GO" raised some interesting questions: "Where is the hardcore" "Why do the band photos make them look like Blink 182?" "Did I buy the right CD?"

Like I said, it was slow. After the CD ended, I immidiately started it over, just to make sure I wasn't hearing things. The second time around also raised some odd questions: "Why do they sound like Unwritten Law?" "Will I hear half of this album on the radio?" "Why the hell did they cover 'Like a Prayer'?" "Why the hell do they thank U2 in the linear notes?" "And why the hell am I already singing along?"

Once again, the album ended, and once again, I started it over. By now I was asking "Why do most of the guitar solos sound like Jughead (from Weasel) himself is playing them?" "Just how popular will H20 get?" "Is this my new favorite CD?!?"

The album starts with 'Role Model', a very catchy song with some good lyrics. Next is my favorite, 'Self Reliable', which is one of the few that actually sound a little like older H20. 'Well Behaved' is pretty decent, and 'Out of Debt' is the second best song on 'Go', with a hella-catchy guitar line and a rockin', sing-along chorus. Their new single 'Memory Lane' is next, and is a pretty good song also (they played it on Conan). 'Ripe or Rotting' sounds like old school H20, except for the vocals, and the next track, 'I want I want', seems destined for mainstream radio airplay. 'Songs Remain' is a fast song that sends the ultimate message that H20 wants everyone to know about 'Go'..."People change, but songs remain." Some of the words seem a little hypocritical, and the song gets annoying after a while. "Forest King" has some great lyrics about man's stupid urge to hunt for fun, and the music is pretty good also. "Shine the Light" sounds like a really bad hardcore anthem...or a really good pop-punk anthem, I can't really tell yet. "Repair" has some of the best music on 'Go', but for some reason, Toby's vocals are way too high pitched, and it nearly ruins the song. The closer, "Underneath the Flames" is a great tune that will most assuradly get their fans jumping for the sky. Hidden at the end is H20's version of 'Like a Prayer'. No comment. 'Go' pretty much dismissed their hardcore NYC sound and went straight for the melodic-radio-punk style. However, the album is done well enough that it sounds like melodic-radio-punk is what they've been doing since the begining. There are some awesom backing vocals, very catchy weasel-esque guitar leads and solos, and some rockin' slow downs through out 'Go', and the lyrics, though somewhat cheesy and hypocrytical at times, are pretty good as well.

I was torn in two. It had been four listens from start to finish and I still had no idea if I loved "Go", or if I hated it. On one hand, I could hate them for signing with the big boys, changing styles, and losing the cool artwork. On the other hand, I could love them because they had written some of the catchiest, most uplifting sing along songs I've heard in a long, long time. My head, along with my very tired feet, was begining to pulsate with pain. I need a sign. Something that would say either "..this is everything you hate about the music industry. pawn it and buy some beer." or " This is a well rounded, very catchy punk album with a few of the songs potentially becoming all- time favorties." I had no idea which way to lean. Love it, hate it, they both seem correct in their own way, but when I walked out the doors of the mall, my questions were answered, and my confused expression turned to a smile. It was pouring with rain.