On the Record: “Be My Thrill” by The Weepies

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September 3, 2010

12:54 AM

The Weepies have always tried desperately hard to be happy. With their fourth album, “Be My Thrill,” Deb Talen and Steve Tannen finally accomplish this feat, but it isn’t necessarily a good thing. The best feature of The Weepies was the husband-and-wife pair’s ability to make music that sounded like a fall day — pleasant and upbeat, but deep with emotion. This newest effort is more like spring — nice, but shallow.

“How Do You Get High” may be the perfect example of this change. The song is completely different from the duo’s instrumentals on previous albums, which, to be honest, sounded too well put-together. “How Do You Get High” is rough around the edges and a little more rock and roll than their usual folk-pop. In its own way, this roughness seems just as contrived as the overly neat songs they’ve released for years. Maybe they’re just not messy people, but the pair perpetually produces songs that sound like they’ve been rewritten at least two dozen times, which takes all of the fun out of listening. When there’s nothing unexpected and nothing exciting, what’s the point of listening to mediocre music? This question resounds the strongest on “I Was Made for Sunny Days,” in which Talen asserts, “I was made for sunny days / and I was made for you” – one of the most annoying song lyrics in recent memory. The two songs on this album, back to back, entitled “Be My Thrill” and “Be My Honeypie” sum up all that is cutesy about the album, as well as all that is wrong with being so disgustingly cutesy.

It isn’t all terrible, however. Some of the songs on “Be My Thrill” are reminiscent of the duos best efforts, especially when they’re a little sadder. “They’re in Love, Where Am I?” is the only song with any real emotional depth and is, of course, the lament of a lost love. In “Please Speak Well of Me,” lyrics like “You recognize love after the fact / And you did what you did and that was that,” are delivered charmingly well, as usual, by Talen – but that’s all – charming, not actually good.

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