Bulletproof Picasso by Train

Date Mon, September 8 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed music, so let’s hop right back into this.  Bulletproof Picasso is the upcoming album from train, and it will be available on September 16th. If you listen to top 40 radio, you’ve probably already heard the lead single, Angel in Blue Jeans. You can watch the video below.

Angel in Blue Jeans is one of 12 tracks:

  1. Cadillac, Cadillac
  2. Bulletproof Picasso
  3. Angel in Blue Jeans
  4. Give It All
  5. Wonder What You’re Doing For the Rest of Your Life (feat. Marsha Ambrosius)
  6. Son of a Prison Guard
  7. Just a Memory
  8. I’m Drinkin’ Tonight
  9. I Will Remember
  10. The Bridge
  11. Baby, Happy Birthday
  12. Don’t Grow Up So Fast

“Angel in Blue Jeans” is actually more traditional and perhaps radio-friendly than many of the tracks. It starts out slow and with some definite Mexican influence, which you see in the video.

This isn’t to say that I don’t like the music. In fact, the opposite is true. Bulletproof Picasso is very soulful. There are definitely jazz and blues influences it not sampling from classic songs in those genres. For example, “Just a Memory”, which may be my favorite track. It almost seems influenced by Motown, and it’s hard not to dance along.

“Wonder What You’re Doing For the Rest of Your Life” features Marsha Ambrosius, and her voice is a perfect compliment to front-man Pat Monahan’s in this song that reminds me of 60s inspired music. In fact, the opening notes are reminiscent of the 7th Heaven theme song. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean! This track makes me dance, and it feels like summer. It would have been a perfect candidate for 2014’s song of summer if the CD had dropped a few months earlier.

My other favorite tracks are “The Bridge,” a song about being on the jumping point of a relationship. Monahan sings to a potential lover, asking whether they should jump off a bridge or burn it behind them. I love the water and bridge inspired lyrics:

We’re at the bridge together once more

We cross it over like we;ve done before

We could start a fire go up in smoke

Jump into the water and do the back stroke

We’re at the bridge I love this view

but I don’t know if I can cross again with you

We could start a fire go up in smoke

Jump into the water and do the back stroke

Come on, what’s is going to be?

While “The Bridge” becomes faster during the chorus, which features some talented background singers to keep that retro song going.  In fact, it seems like there’s a lot more harmonizing going on that the typical train song, which focuses on Monahan’s vocals. One obvious exception is “Baby, Happy Birthday,” where Pat croons a whiny apology to his significant other and relates how he wishes he weren’t the sort of person to forget birthdays. It’s just a little obnoxious and reminiscent of “Meet Virginia.”

Similarly, I am not fond of “Cadillac, Cadillac”. There’s a lot more repetition and aggressive use of vocals and instruments on this album as a whole, and that song is a perfect example even though I think it’s intended to be one of the singles. The title track is definitely going to become a single; although, it’s not the best on the album in my opinion. “I’m Drinking Tonight” has some of those vocals that are a bit grating, but I’ll let it slide for the line “the only thing stronger than you is whiskey.” Love it!

“I Will Remember” is one song that’s a little more aggressive, and Pat uses a spoken style of singing, but it still is one of those songs I prefer. The chorus sounds like a great drinking anthem and the lyrics hit home:

Did you ever do drugs? It’s like love

If you’ve ever done love it’s like a drug

It’ll mess you up good, mess you up bad

Make you fall harder than you ever have

Even with the songs that I don’t love the sound of, I find myself liking the lyrics.  “Don’t Grow Up So Fast” is a slow song dedicated to a female, perhaps a younger friend or daughter. It’s unclear, but the lyrics are those we all can relate to.

“Don’t you hurry, try to take it slow

You will get there before you know it

Ain’t just the bad times, the good times too shall pass

So don’t grow up so fast”

“Give It All” is another example of a song with Monohan’s familiar vocals. They’re clear as he sings about how he knows he should be grateful but he’d still give it all for “one more night with you.” It definitely seems like there was a breakup going on as the guys wrote these lyrics.

In a departure from the typical Train song, which is usually about love or relationships, “Son of a Prison Guard” is honest and reminds us all of our roots.

While I don’t love every song on Bulletproof Picasso, I feel like the group has crafted an album that has something for everyone. It’s more original than many songs on the radio now, and the throwback to other types of music and music from other eras is obvious. I don’t know if this will help or hinder the album and singles, but I truly think the songs that aren’t slated to be released on the radio are some of the best.

Check it out on Amazon or iTunes

Love, I guess

Is there anything else?

— Just a Memory

I participated in the Train Bulletproof Picasso album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own

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