REVIEW: A Rocket To The Moon – On Your Side

rockettothemoonArtist: A Rocket To The Moon
Album: On Your Side
Genre: Pop Rock
Label: Fueled By Ramen

Every now and then a release catches you by surprise. When I first heard and heard of A Rocket To The Moon earlier this year, I quickly wrote them/him off as another Myspace sensation with a guitar, GarageBand, and a pretty voice. I know it may seem a bit gruff, but when you deal with literally dozens of albums a week, you start to blindly label things in order to speed up the selection process for what we cover on UTG. Then a couple weeks ago ARTTM returned with their first full length, On Your Side and once again, I paid very little mind to it. I listened to the single, but just really wasn’t feeling either way about the act. Then I heard, “Give a Damn” and everything changed.

I know it’s awkward to start so deep into a record, but let’s get it out of the way first: “Give A Damn” is the catchiest song I’ve heard in 2009. No questions about it. It’s top 40 ready and if they don’t use it for this record cycle. the record industry has truly lost it’s way.

Now even though one song takes you by surprise, it in no way reflects the overall sound or vibe of the album. If you doubt this, check out any commercial pop record [especially in the hip hop field] that has ever been released. There’s always that one “gem” track and then, at times, a lot of filler. However, in this case, that one song was/is so good, that it would be simply irrational to not give the whole record a solid chance.

Starting out with little to no introduction with, “Annabelle,” the sound of A Rocket To The Moon, quirky pop rock that isn’t afraid to reference alcohol, sex, smoking, or swear, makes itself very well known. The track itself is a bit too cliche for pop rock, but it works as a “welcome to us” kind of track. I figured that most acts in this scene generally waver between being way too run of the mill and being straight catchy, so I decided to push onward and hope for the best. This decision was quickly proven to be the best case scenario as the simplistic, yet engaging, “Mr. Right” plays like a list of thoughts every guy has always wanted to tell his sweetheart, but has been to “manly” to let out. Once again, not difficult, but quite catchy, and in this genre that is al that matters.

As On Your Side continues, we’re given more than our fair share of cliche pop tracks that border on alt-country [“She’s Killing Me,” “Baby Blue Eyes” and the closer “On Your Side” to be specific] that’s not quite as catchy as the ever-popular Taylor Swift, but does a fair job on its own. The other tracks on the record seem to dance around the recently rising genre of folk pop that is backed by looped beats. Now, this works for short term enjoyment, but I feel the good vibes of these tunes will quickly wear off, especially in a live setting. I get it., you were poor and had access to drum loops which sufficed while recording at home, but now you’re signed – move on.

The main problem however, comes in when we consider the lyrics for anything longer than .5 seconds. It’s all very, VERY upfront, aka, the depth is nowhere to be found. It’s cute and leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy, but don’t go looking to be consoled or related to. Swooned? Possibly, but by no means will this record help you with anything. Then again, that’s not the point of this genre.

At the end of the day, you have a record that both works and falters at the same time. What works is the gresh angle on pop music that A Rocket To The Moon takes that is only cemented when hearing gems like “Give a Damn” or “Where Did You Go,” but the album stumbles when looked at from any kind of serious mentality. I guess that’s the point though. This album isn’t for music snobs, but people who just want some good feelings and solid chord progressions which is exactly what On your Side delivers. So shut off your mind and turn it up!

Score: 7.5/10

James Shotwell
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