CD Review: Finger Eleven

Them vs. You vs. Me

By Bill Weedmark

This album is a good example of what happens when a band tries too hard to make a whole album sound like their last hit single.

After the huge success that “One Thing” enjoyed, the band insisted on their official Web site that they wouldn’t be “selling-out” and trying to make an entire album that would sound like “One Thing.” I don’t know what album they were talking about, because that’s exactly what they did.

The first single from Them vs. You vs. Me is different from anything these guys have ever done before, but I enjoyed it. It will get a lot of play in clubs and bars, and it has a very feel-good, danceable sound to it. It’s also the first track on the album, and it’s only downhill from there.

The rest of the album, which totals 11 tracks, sounds pretty similar and over-produced. I was extremely disappointed, as the band’s last album, 2003’s self-titled Finger Eleven, took some big risks on some tracks and paid off. As a long-time fan, I felt completely betrayed. These guys have a lot of talent, but this release sounds like 90 percent of the generic pop-rock that gets radio play these days.

It’s not what I’d call a complete failure. I imagine a lot of people will enjoy the album and it’s too-happy, too-shiny sound, but fans of the band’s older works (Tip and The Greyest of Blue Skies) would be wise to stay away.

“Falling On,” “Lost My Way” and “Change the World” are the highlights for me, but they’re admittedly guilty pleasures. This album just doesn’t have the originality or the appeal of the band’s older works, and that’s a shame. These guys have more talent than a lot of other bands, but it just doesn’t come through on this one. I wouldn’t recommend writing the band off entirely, but this is an album you might want to borrow before you buy.

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