The Sounds - Dying to Say This to You (Cover Artwork)

The Sounds

Dying to Say This to You (2006)

New Line

Just when you thought it was safe to walk out your front door under the assumption that the dance-rock craze of last year was all but dead, in comes the new album from the Sounds to make you crawl back into your musical hole and wait until this fad truly is finished. Although the band had previously blended pop and rock music with some keyboards on previous efforts, it was pulled off with much better results than the drab club music found on Dying to Say This to You.

The record starts off innocently enough with "Song with a Mission," a track reminiscent of the straight-ahead rock leanings of Living in America, complete with a huge chorus and a catchy "Heeeey, baby!!!," screeched by vocalist Maja Ivarsson. It gets the album moving forward with some nice hooks and melodies, but soon after the track ends, Dying to Say This to You takes a turn for the worse. From then on, the Sounds get stuck in this dark retro sort of mood, never really regaining the energy found on the opener. The guitar becomes seemingly non-existent, only appearing to throw down some forced rhythms to keep this categorized as rock music (or so it seems). "Tony the Beat" is downright painful to listen to, with unintentionally hysterical lyrics like "Hey, let's kick it / Stop, just lick it / Let you start it / ‘Cause it's so easy / You like it my way / And I know it / So let's do it, do it do it real good!"

I'm almost embarrassed as I type those words out, but it's so terrible that it's amusing. "24 Hours" also boasts some awful lyrics: "Fragile, handle with care / You fall in love, then you lose your head / for the last 24 hours / I've been crying my heart out." See, I'm down for some good music that might have lyrics that aren't amazing, but my intelligence is seriously insulted here. And as if the lyrics alone weren't bad enough, vocalist Maja decided to be as annoying as possible as well, stretching to reach notes well out of her range and trying too hard to sound "hot" and show off some "girl power." In fact, with the music so bland and reliant on club-type beats and rhythms, rather than a full-band approach, it puts the focus entirely on Maja and her vocal abilities, and if you've been reading, you know the end result was disastrous. Sometimes, some male vocals enter the picture, and it's equally as bad, if not worse (see "Don't Want to Hurt You" and its poorly executed profanity).

I suppose there may be one or two other decent songs in the mix somewhere; even in all its cheesiness, "Night After Night" is a nice piano ballad that doesn't require much effort from Ivarsson, and "Running Out of Turbo" actually sort of rocks, but it's not enough to cleanse Dying to Say This to You of the embarrassment endured on previous tracks. This album just isn't worth your time, because you've heard it all before -- this is just done worse than all the rest. I'll pass like Wayne Gretzky.