Plumbiferous Media

Little White Lies – Fastball

Apr 19th 2009
7 Comments
respond
trackback
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.


This post is tagged ,

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.

Leave a Reply