Eli Young Band – “Radio Waves”

Juli Thanki | June 3rd, 2009

Eli Young Band - Radio Waves Songwriters: Mike Eli & Blu Sanders.

It took the Eli Young Band a long time to become an overnight success. “When It Rains” was one of the more unexpected songs to hit the charts in 2008, and subsequent single “Always the Love Songs” cemented the quartet’s position as one of country music’s most promising up and comers. Of course, in music there’s always the dreaded third single, which can catapult an artist into stardom (think No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak”) or bring their growing momentum to a screeching halt (The Wallflowers “The Difference”). (Is there a reason for these ’90s namedrops? Sort of.)

It’s a good idea to follow “When It Rains” and “Always the Love Songs” with a faster paced song like “Radio Waves,” lest the band get pigeonholed by radio and music television as purveyors of solely mid-tempo, middle of the road, pop-influenced country music (the possible exception to this would be broken-girl ballad “Guinevere,” the best track on Jet Black & Jealous).

And although “Radio Waves” is one of the weaker songs on this newest album, it’s far from being unlistenable. The chorus is decidedly un-catchy and the lyrics tepid, but Mike Eli manages to sell awkwardly phrased statements like “I know days are harder, I know things have changed/But, baby, ‘goodbye’ you know I just can’t say” with a decent amount of conviction.

Like several of the songs it shares airtime with, “Radio Waves” has more in common with 1990s alternapop than traditional country music of fellow Texans Willie and Waylon. Unlike several songs on the radio today, however, “Radio Waves” actually sounds like good ’90s alternapop (remember Semisonic’s “Singing in My Sleep”? It’s a little like that in both theme and melody).

Fans of the Gin Blossoms (the intro sounds similar to the Blossoms’ “‘Til I Hear It From You”) and the early sounds of the aforementioned Wallflowers will certainly find themselves drawn to the track.

“Radio Waves” may not be What Waylon Would Do, but it certainly sounds like What Dylan Would…Jakob Dylan, that is. And that’s not a bad thing at all.

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  1. [...] her review of Eli Young Band’s new single “Radio Waves,” Juli noted the song has a considerable resemblance to the tunes of ‘90s rock [...]
  2. [...] her review of Eli Young Band’s new single “Radio Waves,” Juli noted the song has a considerable resemblance to the tunes of ‘90s rock [...]
  3. [...] The 9513 calls it one of the weaker tracks on the album;  Become a friend of Eli Young Band on Myspace; [...]
  1. Chris N.
    June 3, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I recently compared Dean Seltzer’s record to the Gin Blossoms, and Juli’s reference above is clearly apt. If this is the start of a wave of acts influenced by them, I can’t say I’d mind too much.

  2. Ben Milam
    June 3, 2009 at 10:19 am

    sounds like the gin blossoms with pat green singing lead. neither of these move me in any direction. just kind of there.

  3. Sam G.
    June 3, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Definitely not my favorite song on the album, but I like this band and hope they continue to do well. “Guinevere” and the title track are the best of the songs that haven’t been released, in my opinion.

  4. J.R. Journey
    June 3, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I think ‘Guinevere’ is the best song on the album too – and wikipedia is listing it as the current single. I was hoping it was the one going to radio … I’ve slowly come to appreciate the EYB as the anti-Flatts. Their melodies and lyrics, while equally catchy and aimed at the same demographic, convey a coolness and aplomb that all the Rascal Flatts power ballads are lacking.

  5. Bobby
    June 3, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Guinevere has charted, but I think that this one is still officially the third single.

  6. Matt. B
    June 3, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    90s ‘alternarock’ crossing into country is obviously the next ‘wave’ for Nashville bands I suppose. I thought “Guinevere” was gonna be the new single last week then saw this one as the new single this week.

  7. Jim Malec
    June 3, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    To my understanding, no one associated with the band ever confirmed “Guinevere” as the next single

  8. Matt. B
    June 3, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Jim,

    That is true. I actually expected them to release this one, which they obviously have.

  9. Tristan
    June 3, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I like this one as well. Not as much as “Always the Love Songs” but I like it.

  10. Jon
    June 3, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    “’ve slowly come to appreciate the EYB as the anti-Flatts. Their melodies and lyrics, while equally catchy and aimed at the same demographic, convey a coolness and aplomb that all the Rascal Flatts power ballads are lacking.”

    This comment, along with others and the tenor of the review itself, confirms an observation I made some time ago (and which has been fortified on innumerable occasions since) – namely, that arguments about what is or isn’t country often are displaced arguments about tastes in the different kinds of musics that influence country. Alternative rock influences are cool, so they don’t prompt “that’s not country” rants; pop influences aren’t, so they do. But of course, from the perspective of a knowledgeable country music fan, they’re all just influences that bring new materials and ways of doing things into what’s always been a broad genre, and hence they’re fungible. As a country fan, why should I prefer country music that’s been influenced by Semisonic or the Gin Blossoms to music that’s been influenced by Britney Spears? And why should I consider it less “non-country?”

  11. Chris N.
    June 3, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Semisonic and the Gin Blossoms excelled at hooky melodies, which is something modern country needs more of. It’s become very focused on lyrical hooks at the expense of interesting musical ideas.

  12. Jim Malec
    June 3, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    The lyrical hooks could use some work, too.

  13. Brady Vercher
    June 3, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    These guys are pretty big in Texas, but I’ve never been able to get into them and don’t care for their music any more than I do Rascal Flatts. The country cred topic came up in Jim’s interview with Mike Eli last September.

  14. Leeann Ward
    June 3, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    I have their album (it must have been an Amazon daily deal or something), but still haven’t listened to it yet. I love “When It Rains” though.

  15. k
    June 3, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    I love “When It Rains, but seriously why does everyone compare every new band to Rascal Flatts? It is not needed, and pretty shallow to me. The Flatts are one of the biggest bands in any genre, and still successful after almost ten years in the business. Why do you all feel being anything like them is a bad thing? They are sweet, likeable guys who obviously know their sound and love what they do.

    Maybe the writers at 9513 should eat some humble pie and start being respectful.

  16. Jaime
    June 3, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    K, as “sweet and likable” as RF may be to you, I will never, ever get over “Bob that Head.” (shudder)

  17. k
    June 4, 2009 at 9:57 am

    To each his own, I guess. Here’s a list of songs I will NEVER get over:
    Lonestar, Mr Mom
    Lonestar, Let’s Be Us Again
    Tim McGraw, Down On The Farm
    Rodney Atkins, Watching You
    Rodney Atkins, It’s America

  18. Mayor Jobob
    June 6, 2009 at 2:17 am

    These guys remind me of the Lost Trailers. They sound the same but I like the Trailers better. I mean the early trailers, before Holler back era.

  19. Noeller
    June 7, 2009 at 2:56 am

    Ummm…say whatever you want, but don’t you DARE defend Rascal Flatts and then, in the same sentence, call down “Down On The Farm” and “Watchin’ You”. PLEASE!! One of the only songs either of them (TM/RA) has done with any respectability.

  20. Noeller
    June 7, 2009 at 3:00 am

    I just wanted to point out that, while somewhat serious in that those songs are one of the few which I feel are respectable, I’m not exactly serious.

  21. merlefan49
    June 7, 2009 at 9:07 am

    These guys aren’t my cup of tea. They remind me of Rascal Flats who I really don’t like.

  22. Michelle
    May 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    This song’s okay, but I love “Always The Love Songs,” “When It Rains,” and “Guinevere.”

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