Album: Low Millions: Ex-Girlfriends
Street Date: October 5, 2004
Reviewed by: Brian
Given the state music industry today, it is very hard to establish yourself as an artist because so many bands and solo artists sound alike, which creates a large number of artists fighting for a small number of top spots in any given genre. With their Manhattan Records debut, Ex-Girlfriends, the Low Millions (Adam Cohen Singer-songwriter, Michael Chaves Guitarist, Jorgen Carlsson Bassist, Erik Eldenius Drummer) attempt to make their mark on the pop-rock genre with a CD of songs inspired by ex-girlfriends.
1. Eleanor - The lead single from Ex-Girlfriends, "Eleanor" instrumentally leads in with a nice guitar intro, which continues through the verses of the song and picks up some heavy drums during the choruses. Lyrically the song is very strong, which includes a very catchy hook. Vocally there is some nice harmony and pitch changes during the hook which add to its catchiness, and the vocals are solid throughout the rest of the song.
2. Mockingbird - Instrumentally "Mockingbird" has two different tones to it. During the verses the beat of the song is more of a slower-to-mid paced with a slower guitar and some accompanying instruments, but during the chorus and bridge the beat picks up into more of a rockish electric/acoustic guitar, drums, other instruments jam. It is a very catchy selection musically, which will get you tapping your feet a bit. Lyrically the song tells a nice story about someone you love being indecisive, and the effect it has. Vocally the emotion of the lyrics is expressed well, and the vocal tone and ranges blends well with the two different tempos of the music.
3. Low Millions - The first thing that strikes you about this song is the instrumentation. Overall, it is a very welcoming mix of strings and drums. It is kind of makes you feel light and allows you to flow with the music and the lyrics. Lyrically the song works as it gives a glimpse of what it is to be a "low million" ("The only prerequisite for membership in this fluctuating club is feeling down, whether you've stubbed your toe, lost your job, or your wife just walked out for good," as quoted from: www.lowmillions.com). Strong vocals are shown again here, which compliment the lyrics nicely in speech tone and intonation.
4. Here She Comes - The best aspect of this song is its catchy hook (My loveís every single song on the radio / My loveís every pretty face on video / My love my love / Iím seeing her in everyone / Here she comes). Led by the hook, the song expresses itself very well. Instrumentally this is another upbeat, kind of light melody that makes you want to move or tap your foot, especially in the chorus. This light, upbeat instrumentation compliments the subject matter very well. Once again, strong vocals. Overall the song has more of a modern radio single feel, but not your annoying radio single, a good radio single.
5. Statue - The instrumentation on this song frankly owns. It is a slower acoustic guitar to start and is joined by some electric and in the choruses some heavier drumming. The instrumentation truly sets the mood for the song giving it kind of a somber, expectational feel. In staying with that theme, the lyrics also give off a very somber tone, which is carried through perfectly in the vocals. Great song, one of the best of the album.
6. Julia - The slowest song on the album, but also one of the best. Instrumentally it is mostly string driven. The lyrical content is strong and emotionally moving. The vocals are slower, a bit softer, and more somber to fit the theme of the song, and it works well. The production of the song was done very well.
7. Diary - "Diary" is a "love it or hate it" track. It is the oddity of Ex-Girlfriends because it is so different from the rest of the album, and it tends to raise a lot of eyebrows from people, and usually people really like it, or don't like it at all. Instrumentally the song has some keys, some strings, and some synthesized noises thrown in. There is a nice instrumental breakdown at the 3 minute mark in the song with a cool guitar solo. Vocally it is more talking than singing at points, and during the verses there are random bits of talking behind the singing, which is somewhat distracting and adds to the oddity of the song because you end up trying to listen to what the background is saying, and what the lyrics are saying at the same time. Lyrically the song is a bit odd and ominous, but those are the types of things that usually make it in a diary, the weird things you think that you might not say out loud, so from a lyrical standpoint it makes sense.
8. Hey Jane - Originally a single from lead singer Adam Cohen's Melancolista CD (which was all in French), "Hey Jane" ("the English version") is a very catchy tune. Instrumentally it is kind of light with more of a mid-to-up tempo beat. Lyrically the song seems like it is reminiscing, yet it is also progressing forward. The vocals are good, and compliment the instrumentation well.
9. Money Thing - This is another song comparable to "Diary" in that it is different from the rest of the CD in its lyrical and instrumental content. The instrumentals are a beat over strings, with a bridge section of guitar in which the vocals are literally being yelled over the guitar. Lyrically the song kind of seems like a cynical critique of how everything in life revolves back to money and how much you have. Vocally there is a wide range, from talking, to singing, to yelling. It is definitely an interesting song, which again can be compared to "Diary" as it too has the "love it or hate it" status.
10. 100 Blouses - This song is slower paced instrumentally, but it works well because it flows and points your ears towards the lyrics of the song. Another good hook to this song, and overall the lyrics are solid. Vocally, there is a good range shown while singing the lyrics of the song, and the vocals match nicely with the pace of the song in certain points.
11. Nikki Don't Stop - Instrumentally the song is a slow-to-mid tempo beat, with a very good use of guitar to spice up the beat and keep it consistent. The lyrics are hot and lusty, which is portrayed very well through the vocals. The lyrics, instrumentals, and vocals all hit their climax in the bridge and all wind down to the end of the song, which works very well.
While from some of the songs on Ex-Girlfriends you can field comparisons of the Low Millions to other pop-rockers such as Maroon 5 and John Mayer, the Low Millions use some nice instrumental techniques to set their songs apart from the typical pop-rock you might hear on the radio today. The songs also benefit from the impressive vocal range and ability of Cohen, which affords the songs a vast array of possibilities for tone and pitch changes, which helps to bring home the meaning of the lyrics. Lastly, one thing that stands out about Ex-Girlfriends that a lot of other pop-rock CD's lack is that every track has a very solid, catchy hook. In music, especially in the pop-rock genre, the hook is sometimes everything, and in their production of Ex-Girlfriends, it seems as if the Low Millions understood that, and penned excellent hooks for all 11 tracks.
Only time will tell if the Low Millions can break through into the top tier of the pop-rock genre, but one thing is certain: they definitely have the talent (instrumentally, lyrically, and vocally) to do it.
For more information see www.lowmillions.com