Love and Theft – “Runaway”

Juli Thanki | May 8th, 2009

Love and Theft 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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  1. [...] a Second Look Posted on May 8, 2009 by Aunt B. 1.  Go take a moment to linger over the review that contains this deliciousness– The result is debut single “Runaway,” a song which boasts memorable and captivating [...]
  1. Sam G
    May 8, 2009 at 7:52 am

    Well… their name is cool, and that seems to be about all they have going for them, if this song is indicative of the rest of their stuff. But I have to question why The 9513 is reviewing pop/adult album alternative songs now. I hope this song is an anomaly, and you all go back to covering country music in the future.

    I mean, this seriously isn’t being marketed as a country song, right? Right??

  2. Brady Vercher
    May 8, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Courtesy of Carolwood Records, Sam G.

  3. Brody Vercher
    May 8, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Isn’t their claim to fame a song that Taylor Swift wrote about one of the guys named Stephen…or am I thinking of someone else?

  4. Sam G
    May 8, 2009 at 8:42 am

    I was being a little facetious with that comment, but still, the fact that this particular song is being released as country is baffling. I actually think this song becoming a hit would anger me more than anything Taylor Swift or Rascal Flatts has done, because it doesn’t have even a passing resemblance to country music. Does Nashville need its own version of the Jonas Brothers so badly that they’ll foist this crap on an unsuspecting public?

    Great, now I’m all pissed off first thing in the morning. Thanks loads, guys. ;-)

  5. J.R. Journey
    May 8, 2009 at 9:11 am

    @ Brody: I saw these guys on CMT Insider last weekend, and yes the lead singer is the famous Stephen from the Swift song.

    Great review. I wouldn’t recommend these guys quit their days jobs either. This track just sucks – and in a bob that head kind of way.

  6. Kim
    May 8, 2009 at 9:12 am

    While the song is not country in the least, you gotta give them credit for setting themselves up for more than one possible controversy in the country world.

  7. Bobby
    May 8, 2009 at 10:14 am

    “This track just sucks – and in a bob that head kind of way.”

    You walked right into that one, didn’t you? Way to go for the single entendre.

  8. Rick
    May 8, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I saw these guys perform live and they have a bit of that Crosby, Stills & Nash vocal thing going on. They also took a stab at Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire”, so they at least do know what real country sounds like. As mainstream Top 40 country music moves ever farther away from its roots and becomes just a pop-rock subsidiary, groups like this will become ever more common.

  9. Matt B
    May 8, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    I will say this about the band: they have no one lead singer.

  10. Kristen
    May 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I’m going to get harassed for saying this, but I actually like this group. This song was a bad song for their debut though. They actaully have some good songs such as Me Without You ,You To Miss, and World Wide Open. But yeah, this song is not the greatest, but are we really saying it’s as bad as Bob That Head?

  11. Thomas
    May 10, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    When I was running to Star Country 94.9, and this came on, I wasn’t sure that I was on the country station. Sadly, I was, and this was on the airwaves. What a shame. Its every bit as intolerable as bob that head. Gosh, who decides to market this as country?

  12. Jimmy Maleced
    May 13, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    This blog site sucks!! That is all it is..not even a real website…! The reviews suck! The writers suck. These people that write on here for 9513..whatever that is suppose to stand… can’t make it Nashville and have been fired or removed from various industry jobs, so they created a blog site to bash artists and there music because they (9513 people) can’t make it..isn’t that right..Brady/Brody…boys!! LOL! How were the ACM’s boys…no funds to fly out to the biggest party in country music this year?!?

  13. J.R. Journey
    May 13, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    You should check out this study, Jimmy. It confirms your theory.

  14. Donny
    May 23, 2009 at 10:11 am

    As the dad of one of these boys, I can assure you they know country music. My son has a great respect for its history and does not want to dis-grace it in any form. One should not be to quick in their judgment. Country music is always about the song, not the artist. When their CD is released in August you may change your negative judgment. Everyone has a story and you don’t know theirs, yet. Enjoy your Journey.

  15. Paula_W
    June 9, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Heard this on the radio yesterday. Wasnt sure about it for the first 20-30 seconds but was intrigued enough to keep listening. By the end I was really liking it.

  16. Jonathan
    July 6, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    I really like the song and I think that this site is wrong in its negative rating of the group.

  17. Rockstar
    July 16, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Really like this song.They are one of the best new country acts.

  18. Meredith
    August 3, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Love and Theft is one of the best up and coming acts in the business. They have relatable lyrics and catchy melodies, rounded out by beautiful harmonies. The guys are geniunely NICE GUYS, which is rare to find in any part of the entertainment realm these days. But most of all…their music is FUN. Isn’t that what music is supposed to be in the first place?
    Lighten up on the criticism. If you could do better, your name would be in lights instead of L&T.

  19. Paris
    August 10, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Meredith, you took the words out of my mouth. This is my new favorite band. They’re new, fresh, and country. Maybe not as country as Rascal Flatts, but definately country. So chill with the trashing. I’d like to see y’all do better.

  20. Leeann Ward
    August 10, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Ick. Not as country as Rascal Flatts?

  21. S Berry
    August 11, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Love them, love the song, cant wait for the CD to hit in two weeks. I hope they continue to rise up the charts..this song deserves that !

  22. Kayla
    August 25, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    The person who wrote this article has no idea what they are talking about….if you actually listened to their songs before running ur mouth then you would know how amazing and relatable they are….i give this article a thumbs down and i know Love and Theft are gonna be big one day…they are amazing and dont deserve your bull shit

  23. David Allen
    August 25, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    The reviewers on here wouldn’t know a catchy song if it bit them on the behind. Not everything has to have a serious message or be twangy to be country. Actually I don’t like the twangy country. Give this group a shot and I have heard a few of their other songs which were better than this lead off single. The problem with the reviewers is they analyze every lyric to death. Lighten up. Take care.

  24. Fran
    September 2, 2009 at 1:27 am

    OMG, i can’t believe all this negative talk about this song…i absolutely LOVE it!! I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s country (which is pretty much all i listen to) but they sound like The Outfield back from the 80s which was one of my most favorite bands back then (yes, i am an 80’s girl!!)

  25. Kevin
    September 3, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Maybe the only thing i would say is that “Runaway” is a great song…..for modern rock radio. Sorry but this group is about as country as Lamb Of God is Christian. I like the song but country used to mean something. It used to define a certain sound but that sound is slipping away.

  26. Jamie
    September 3, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    All I listen to is country music and this band is going to be the next up and coming band. The song is great and so is there CD. That’s all I’ve been listening to since I bought it. This review is absolutely horrible!!!!!!

  27. Billy Joe Bob
    October 13, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Well, shucks, let’s all burn up all these here new-fangled “see-dees” and put on our Tennessee Ernie Ford an’ Conway Twitty albums for the millionth time and beat our wives ‘n’ dogs ‘n’ kids!

  28. kimberly
    October 18, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    well gosh guys yall all seem to hete this song but i love it! its got a great beat and everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Erin
    November 3, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Before you go bashing Love&Theft, why not actually listen to their songs? Don’t go into thinking ‘oh I have to review this and it’s probably not going to be that great etc.’ but actually LISTEN. ‘Runaway’ although it’s a good song, may not be the best one to start off with, I agree, but Love&Theft have other, deeper, meaningful songs that would make you eat your words.

    They aren’t processed, carbon copies of other bands. They have their own voice, literally and metaphorically.

    People really shouldn’t be underestimating them.

  30. Susan
    November 4, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Normally listen to Gary Allan as my touchstone for country music. While Taylor Swift can write a song just can’t sing one well, Carrie Underwood can sing..she just spends too much time in the higher octaves, and Rascal Flatts is always off in the live tv productions, there is room and time for this group to grow and to have a decent chance at stardom. I’ve spent some time on youtube looking at Love and Theft and they can carry a tune and seem willing to hone their craft. I will give them some time before judging them. As for Swift, Underwood and the Flatt boys they have been judged and I’m ready for the overkill and slick productions from them to disappear.

  31. Gerald
    November 25, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    yep…So to follow up… 1st single goes to #10..20 shows on Jason Aldeans fall tour… 40 shows on the upcoming tour with Tim Mcgraw…hosted first part of CMA’s…featured artist at ASCAP awards singing a JD Souther song…2 national tv appearances…Yep I reckon they shouldn’t give up their day jobs just yet…Geeeez!

  32. Rachel
    January 17, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Seriously L&N is absolutely the best new country group I have heard in this past year. Runaway is absolutely my favorite song off the albm. Stephen, Eric and Brian have the absolute best harmonies. Listen to the track “Drowning” – absolutely flawless. I can’t wait to go to their concert this coming May. Hear their music first before you go bashing one of the best groups and genuinely nice guys that you don’t see ever. Get to know them. Love you L&N!

  33. stormy
    January 17, 2010 at 8:49 pm


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