Love and Theft – “Runaway”
Fellow nerds may recognize the phrase “Love and Theft” from Eric Lott’s landmark cultural history of the same name, in which he detailed the history of blackface minstrelsy and the reasons behind white, working class men donning burnt cork: A combination of homosexual desire for the eroticized black body as well as a desire to control said body. Or, maybe you recognize Love and Theft as the title of a 2001 Bob Dylan album, which he probably appropriated from Lott.
Regardless of where they got their band name, Love and Theft seems to be doing a little appropriation of their own as they combine the adult contemporary pop of “Iris” era Goo Goo Dolls and the treacly sentiment featured in your average Rascal Flatts song with the nonthreatening cuteness of the Jonas Brothers.
The result is debut single “Runaway,” a song which boasts memorable and captivating lyrics such as “It’s been a long week/I got a slow leak/In my left front tire/I’m sick of where I work/My boss is such a jerk/Don’t care if I get fired.”
Based upon the strength of this track, it’s probably not too wise for this trio to be burning bridges at their day jobs.
Sure, the chorus is catchy and the harmonies sweet, but there’s still two other minutes in the song, most of which are filled with lyrics as witty and deep as those mentioned above. Furthermore, there’s not an ounce of grit in the vocals, and if you’re going to sing about selling all your worldly possessions and running “a parallel line with the railroad tracks,” not to mention–gasp–smoking cigarettes, it should probably sound like you’ve done at least one of these things.
There’s nothing separating Love and Theft from Emerson Drive, Rascal Flatts, or any of the other unoffensive guy groups out there. Only time will tell if Love and Theft will have the mass appeal and staying power of their fellow pretty boys.
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