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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