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Little White Lies - Fastball

Apr 19th 2009
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Little White Lies - FastballFastball
Little White Lies
Score: 14








Fast­ball has been around since 1994. After cycling through a num­ber of poten­tial names, the band final­ly set­tled on Fast­ball, derived from the mem­bers’ favorite porn film. Since its incep­tion, Fast­ball has pro­duced five albums, includ­ing that of this review, Lit­tle White Lies, as well as a num­ber of sin­gles, a few com­pi­la­tions, and a whole slew of sound­track cameos. While the band has dimin­ished in pop­u­lar­i­ty in recent years, their albums have cer­tain­ly been very pop­u­lar: All the Pain Mon­ey Can Buy went plat­inum soon after its release. Their lat­est release though, sounds much more like the band named after a porno than the group of expe­ri­enced, plat­inum sell­ing artists.

The instru­men­tals on Lit­tle White Lies are not, in and of them­selves, bad, and cer­tain­ly, if paired with dif­fer­ent vocals, would not have earned the album such a low score. The drums are not over­pow­er­ing, the bass can be quite pleas­ing, and the gui­tar com­ple­ments the tone of the vocals nice­ly. There are, how­ev­er, mul­ti­ple prob­lems with the instru­men­tals. They rely extreme­ly heav­i­ly on loud­ness, which quick­ly grows tire­some and often become frag­ment­ed, a good exam­ple of which would be the com­plete­ly arbi­trary inser­tion of vio­lin in the last track. In addi­tion, vast num­bers of the melodies main­tain the “I must have heard this before” qual­i­ty not uncom­mon to pop­py albums. But to pull that off with­out sound­ing dull, they real­ly need to be extra­or­di­nary in some man­ner, and on this album, they sim­ply are not.

The vocals on Lit­tle White Lies aren’t quite awful. They’re sim­ply unin­spired and irri­tat­ing. Scal­zo and Zuniga’s vocals are con­stant­ly pos­sessed of a whin­ing, strained air which makes them occa­sion­al­ly suit­ed to the music, but most often tire­some to a incon­ceiv­able degree. When the vocals fail to change fun­da­men­tal­ly over the course of the entire album, this effect becomes extreme­ly potent, even giv­en occa­sion­al small shifts, such as the some­what sharp­er vocals on “The Mal­con­tent (The Mod­ern World),” which pro­vide an small degree of vari­a­tion while fail­ing alto­geth­er to make the vocals any less irri­tat­ing. The slight twang of the vocals serves only to ampli­fy this issue, while also caus­ing spo­radic clash­es with the instru­men­tals.

How­ev­er irri­tat­ing the vocals may be, the lyrics sur­pass them by an enor­mous amount. Some albums have a few lyri­cal gems. Oth­ers are filled with them. Lit­tle White Lies is utter­ly devoid of them. Instead, it’s filled with cringe-wor­thy plat­i­tudes, awful metaphors and imagery, gim­micks, clichés, and rep­e­ti­tion. From the use­less “chang­ing my ways / but there’s so many ways to change” on “All I Was Look­ing For Was You” to the laugh­able “And now she’s gone, gone, gone, gone / Gone just like a train” on “Mono to Stereo,” Fast­ball seems to be fun­da­men­tal­ly unable to write decent lyrics on Lit­tle White Lies. While they’ve had some prob­lems with lyrics on their pre­vi­ous albums, they’ve also dis­played some redeem­ing traits. Here, those sim­ply do not exist. We’re left with lyrics that are hon­est­ly painful to lis­ten to.

Lit­tle White Lies sim­ply does not pull togeth­er. The lyrics nev­er man­age to even approx­i­mate the qual­i­ty nec­es­sary for the heavy or dra­mat­ic instru­men­tals, and the entire thing sounds as if it were pieced togeth­er, rather than cre­at­ed as a sin­gle enti­ty. Because the entire album remains high­ly frag­ment­ed, the ele­ments of the album quick­ly begin to pull each oth­er apart. The vocals do not aid the instru­men­tals or lyrics, the instru­men­tals do not real­ly mesh with the vocals, and, well, one would be hard pressed to make the lyrics any worse.

Describ­ing Lit­tle White Lies as a bad album would not do it jus­tice. Lit­tle White Lies is an awful album. Incor­po­rat­ing mediocre and irri­tat­ing vocals, instru­men­tals which, though they are eas­i­ly the best part of the album, utter­ly fail to make up for the oth­er aspects, and com­plete­ly worth­less lyrics, Lit­tle White Lies is, quite sim­ply, a cat­a­stro­phe. It is very near­ly bereft of redeem­ing qual­i­ties, and hon­est­ly not worth a sin­gle lis­ten.


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7 Responses

  1. dirty harry says:

    My com­pli­ments on the review. I see you real­ly lis­tened to the album and made a thor­ough anal­isys. It seems objec­tive also. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, in my opin­ion, it’ s all wrong. Very very wrong. Lit­tle white lies is not an awful album. Lit­tle white lies is an exce­lent album, even a gem I would say. See, If I were a review­er, I would say that this is an album of a great set of songs that all meld togeth­er very well. The lyrics are good in gen­er­al, the music is very good, the vocals are very good. So, why would MY review be less wor­thy than yours? I would tell peo­ple, lis­ten to this album, and than make your judg­ment. You won’t regret it.

  2. You’re review is not worth the read. The album on the oth­er hand IS worth a lis­ten, because it is one fine album.

    Scalzo’s and Zuniga’s voic­es work well togeth­er, they are cer­tain­ly not irri­tat­ing. The lyrics are pure genius, as they’ve always been with Fast­ball. You evi­dent­ly have no sense of humour either. Per­haps you’re a “pret­ty boy” or a “plas­tic girl”, maybe the Mal­con­tent offends you?

    I think you should give the review anoth­er lis­ten because you obvi­ous­ly have the wrong idea. Some­times albums take more than one lis­ten to sink in. Sit there, and think about it while lis­ten­ing.

    Don’t put your read­ers off.

  3. Mikey Ramone says:

    Wow. That’s all I can say about your musi­cal tastes and your abil­i­ty to accu­rate­ly review an album. I’ve nev­er seen such a bad review about such a great album. After lis­ten­ing to Lit­tle White Lies once, any­one with a brain can tell that it is in fact a gem. The next lis­ten will reveal how much hard work was put into the cd not only musi­cal­ly, but vocal­ly. The songs on Lit­tle White Lies are all very catchy and wor­thy of lots of play on the radio. Please don’t let this review­er who is too afraid to show his/her name steer you away from pick­ing this album up. As Dirty Har­ry said, you will not regret it.

  4. A Fastball fan says:

    In your web­site mis­sion state­ment, you make the point that Plumb­if­er­ous is a “a small music review site…” whose review­ers “focus most­ly on alt-rock, indie, etc., mak­ing them utter­ly unique, but they’re open to oth­er gen­res!” I would sug­gest not. The com­plete con­tempt shown here for Lit­tle White Lies sug­gests that it is a record of no inter­est what­so­ev­er to the review­er, who has failed to grasp the jour­nal­is­tic duty of doing his/her job objec­tive­ly for your read­ers.

    I don’t mind read­ing bad reviews of Fast­ball CDs, so long as they are artic­u­lat­ed prop­er­ly. Dip into a resource like rogerebert.com or UK’s The Word Mag­a­zine to see how reviews should be writ­ten - bal­anced, objec­tive and well-argued. Your review here is noth­ing more than pathet­ic grand­stand­ing.

    Plumb­if­er­ous will remain a small and insignif­i­cant piece of space junk float­ing around cyber­space, instead of the admirable and noble music review resource it aims to be, while it con­tin­ues to oper­ate with such dis­re­gard for integri­ty.

  5. Dave says:

    Hor­ri­ble review. This is a great album.

  6. jeremy says:

    As a musi­cian my whole life, a fan and a human, that actu­al­ly knows how to breath cor­rect­ly and lis­ten
    I mean REALLY lis­ten with an open-heart and mind, your review is just plain mean-spir­it­ed,
    point­less, use­less, con­trived and total­ly uncon­vinc­ing.. art and music is what keeps us imag­in­ing and hop­ing for..it is life’s blood.. If you are an artist of any degree, which I doubt,
    you should hang your head in shame for the rest of your days for a review like this one..

    My bet is your strick­en w/ envy at the lack of some­thing in your own life and thus pro­ject­ing
    your vial on the pub­lic… Clear­ly, I don’t like your review!!LOL

  7. Layla says:

    Who ever wrote this is clear­ly not qual­i­fied for the posi­tion they hold as review­er. This per­son clear­ly knows noth­ing about music. What DOES this per­son think is good music “Han­nah Mon­tana”? This is a great album. And from the oth­er replies I think I am in good com­pa­ny in think­ing so. Go back to burg­erk­ing. Maybe you can come back when you grow up. Moron.

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