Beck – Modern Guilt – music review

The new album contains 10 new songs, and with the exception of last year’s Grammy-nominated, digital-only single “Timebomb”, “Modern Guilt” is the first new material Beck has written since the prolific stretch that produced 2005’s platinum Guero and 2006’s universally acclaimed The Information.

beck modern guilt
Artist: Beck
Title: Modern Guilt
Label: Interscope
Rating: 7.5/10

Corporate line:
The new album contains 10 new songs, and with the exception of last year’s Grammy-nominated, digital-only single “Timebomb”, “Modern Guilt” is the first new material Beck has written since the prolific stretch that produced 2005’s platinum Guero and 2006’s universally acclaimed “The Information.”

“Modern Guilt” is a tightly assembled group of songs that range in lyrical tone from introspection and social commentary to off the cuff wordplay and lighthearted humor. Musically, the album’s ten tracks vacillate between economy and experimentation, hybrid and pop classicism, while consistently manifesting Beck and Danger Mouse’s shared interest in psych-rock, folk, electronic minimalism and orchestration. “Modern Guilt” was produced with Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton.

The great:
“Orphans” – A beautiful song that could have come from a ’60s greatest hits album by any number of peace-loving rock bands.
“Gamma Ray” – Beck takes on the destruction of the environment with surf guitars and the sort of spirit that doesn’t fit the message. Then again maybe it was his intention to take a pretty surf song to emphasis exactly what we might be destroying–the beauty of Earth.
“Modern Guilt” – For all the reasons why “Chemtrails” didn’t make the list of great songs–“Modern Guilt” does. This is the kind of song that you want to listen to over and over again–and of course sing-a-long to.
“Profanity Prayers” – A gorgeous song that once again taps into his rocking hippie side.
“Volcano” – This song could have opened the album–it’s a nice surprise to find it closing instead.

The rest:
“Chemtrails” – This is a beautiful song–until you realize he’s singing about dead people and trying to sort out where they go. Yet, as beautiful as “Chemtrails” is, it’s not the sort of song that is high on my replay list. That gives me pause as to whether its a great song. Replay value should rank high on that list.
“Youthless” – This sounds like Beck doing a slacker version of a Justin Timberlake song. It’s interesting and cool and yet it doesn’t match the previous tracks sound or vibe.

Finally:
Beck is the kind of artist that people either love or hate. It’s been quite a few albums since he’s really produced something truly worth buying and listening to from beginning to end. “Modern Guilt” is the cure to the so-so albums of Beck’s past. There are a few tracks like “Chemtrails” and “Replica” that don’t fit the overall vibe–and yet they aren’t bad songs. The only real complaint is that “Modern Guilt” barely clocks in over thirty minutes–that’s far too short. However short it is, if you kind of like Beck this is the time to get back on the bandwagon.If you love him you already own it.

Watch the album promotion video:

N.E.R.D. – Seeing Sounds – music review

You already know the story of the Neptunes, Grammy Award winning producers and songwriters Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, but the N.E.R.D. trio consists of Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and longtime friend and creative wunderkind, Shae Haley. The album is a blistering mash-up of booming hip-hop beats and roller-coastering rock riffs, rumbling crunk rhythms and scintillating soul music.

n.e.r.d.
Artist: N.E.R.D.
Title: Seeing Sounds
Label: Interscope
Rating: 5/10

Corporate line:
You already know the story of the Neptunes, Grammy Award winning producers and songwriters Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, but the N.E.R.D. trio consists of Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and longtime friend and creative wunderkind, Shae Haley. The album is a blistering mash-up of booming hip-hop beats and roller-coastering rock riffs, rumbling crunk rhythms and scintillating soul music. Whereas their first album, “In Search Of…,” was an imaginative, exploration of identities, and their second album, “Fly or Die,” sought out the range of genres and sounds that have influenced the group, “Seeing Sounds” grinds everything together, evoking a sound that is un-tethered by preconceptions and convention. It is also an album that amplifies the style and attitudes that have made Pharrell, Chad and Shae transcendent cultural icons.

“The Neptunes is what we do, but N.E.R.D. is who we are. It’s our life” says Pharrell. The three of them together combine for uninhibited explorations of sounds, emotions and truth, adhering to no agenda, subscribing to no rules. N.E.R.D. is the way they live their life, they way they see the world.

The hits:
“Anti Matter” and “Spaz” – This is the hot stuff listeners have come to expect from N.E.R.D. It reminds me of the original nerds of hip-hop: A Tribe Called Quest.
“Window” – This song is softer and doesn’t sound like the guys are trying to hard. It’s natural and that makes it all the better.

The rest:

“Everyone Nose” – It’s definitely nerdy and bizarre–but that combination isn’t good this go around.
“Sooner or Later” – Forgettable R&B song. The chorus isn’t bad but it’s too bad someone who can really sing wasn’t singing the song.
“Kill Joy” – Not unlike many other N.E.R.D. songs that sound amateurish.
“Laugh About It” – Another weak release. How they can kill on one song and kill another is beyond me.

Finally:

“Anti Matter” and “Spaz” are the rare occasion where the band’s sheer brilliance comes to light. The rest sounds like a band reaching for songs they couldn’t give to someone else. It’s undeniable that the guys are brilliant producers but they are rarely great when making songs for themselves.

My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges – music review

There’s an old saying that every human cell in the body is changed over a period of seven years, thus every seven years we become a new person. If this is the case My Morning Jacket has defied this idiom by collectively shedding its skin innumerable times since its inception a decade ago in Louisville, Kentucky.

My Morning Jacket
Artist: My Morning Jacket
Title: Evil Urges
Label: ATO
Rating: 8/10

Corporate line:
There’s an old saying that every human cell in the body is changed over a period of seven years, thus every seven years we become a new person. If this is the case My Morning Jacket has defied this idiom by collectively shedding its skin innumerable times since its inception a decade ago in Louisville, Kentucky.

The past several My Morning Jacket albums have each reflected the passion that the band shares for music of all categories while continuing to nurture their signature aesthetic. Stylistically, “Evil Urges” is the album that My Morning Jacket has been making for almost ten years. Their previous work has emboldened them with the confidence to continue to grow in ways few artists would be capable of achieving. Admirably, Jim James’ songwriting manages to remain as organic and cohesive as ever, making their musical leaps forward fluid, logical, entertaining, and inspiring.

More than ever before, the band treated the studio itself as a musical instrument for the recording of “Evil Urges.” Thus co-producers Jim James and Joe Chiccarelli (The Shins, White Stripes) truly collaborated on the band’s most ambitious and convincingly executed album to date.

Although their last album, Okonokos, has been hailed as one of the best live albums of the new millennium, My Morning Jacket is a band that holds no desire to merely replicate their past work. As kinetic and transcendent as their legendary shows are, the band is not attempting to achieve concert realism with the recording of the new album. Within opening track, “Evil Urges,” alone, this focused eclecticism is immediately evident. It is clear that My Morning Jacket have officially outgrown their ‘best live band’ label. Now, Jim James (guitar, vox), Two Tone Tommy (bass), Patrick Hallahan (drums), Carl Broemel (guitar) and Bo Koster (keys) are ready to be the best band, period.

The good stuff:

“Librarian” – The must buy song on the album.
“Evil Urges” – Southern rock with what sounds like Prince at the helm, well not exactly, but I’m trying to paint a picture.
“Touch Me I’m Going to Scream, Part 1” – It takes a few listens but it’s worth ever minute.
“I’m Amazed” – A brilliantly beautiful track that keeps you swaying in southern bliss–same goes for “Sec Walkin.”
“Smokin From Shootin'” and “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream, Part 2” – Start to get into Pink Floyd territory.

The rest:

“Highly Suspicious” – This sounds like Prince if someone was squeezing his boys.

Finally:
My Morning Jacket has released a brilliant release. It’s not easy to sum it up but its damn good. If you haven’t dove into these guys yet–you should.

Alanis Morissette – Flavors of Entanglement- music review

“Flavors of Entanglement” offers a plethora of highlights, including the hauntingly beautiful lost-love lament of “Torch,” the clear declaration of “Moratorium,” the hypnotic ebb and flow of “Tapes” and the aspirational “In Praise of the Vulnerable Man.”

Alanis Morissette
Artist: Alanis Morissette
Title: Flavors of Entanglement
Label: Warner Bros.
Rating: 6/10

Corporate line:
Alanis Morissette’s new album “Flavors of Entanglement” is co-written and produced by Guy Sigsworth (Bjork, Imogen Heap), the album is Morissette’s first original studio release in four years.

While hewing to a familiar process – creating songs as snapshots of her life – Morissette found cathartic support during a big transition in her life. “I often write in retrospect, but this was written in real time,” she says. “This record helped me through some fragile moments. Every song was like a life raft.”

Morissette’s penchant for eclecticism, whether musical, spiritual or otherwise, brought new sounds and styles into this latest effort, which she previewed for fans during her recent tour with Matchbox Twenty. Among the new songs included in her electrifying live set were lead single “Underneath,” which reflects Mahatma Gandhi’s notion that “You must be the change you want to see in the world”; “Versions of Violence,” a jarring deconstruction of human behavior, and “Citizen of the Planet,” a poetic narrative of her life story and transnational perspective set against a backdrop blending Eastern percussion, strings and electronic hues.

“Flavors of Entanglement” offers a plethora of highlights, including the hauntingly beautiful lost-love lament of “Torch,” the clear declaration of “Moratorium,” the hypnotic ebb and flow of “Tapes” and the aspirational “In Praise of the Vulnerable Man.” Morissette also explores the often cyclical nature of learning in the pensive, rock bottom-capturing “Not As We” and the ecstatic freedom of “Giggling Again For No Reason,” before wrapping with the Phoenix-rising closure of “Incomplete.”

“There’s not another artist-male or female-who can take you on the kind of emotional journey that Alanis can,” says Sigsworth. “She has this ginormous, super-massive, planet-eating emotional range. She goes all the way-10 on the Richter Scale-and we’re at the epicenter with her as she sings whole worlds into existence. She can be raging and hostile, distraught and desolately heartbroken, glowingly nostalgic, sensual, breezy and self-deprecating-all in one album.”

The hits:
“Underneath” – This isn’t so easy to put into the hits category. It’s slightly above average as a single. It’s not great and barely compares to the brilliance of her first album.
“In Praise Of The Vulnerable Man” – With a title like this you’d never expect it to be so good. It makes you wonder what that genius, get the sarcasm please , Ryan Reynolds was thinking.
“Torch” – Simple, raw and emotional. This is Alanis giving her vulnerabilities to fans.

The rest:
“Versions of Violence” – The song and the beats don’t mesh into anything great. There are ingredients missing here–and his name is Glen Ballard.
“Citizen of the Planet” – It’s bizarre. A song with a gorgeous hook and verses and yet the lyrics are awful. Usually Alanis writes writing great lyrics. Here she falters.
“Straitjacket” – This sounds like a bad song written for Britney Spears–and trust me Alanis doesn’t sell it any better. The beats don’t fit her style at all.
“Moratorium”

Finally:
I love Alanis–just read our previous reviews and interview. But “Flavors of Entanglement” just doesn’t it do it for me. The Nine Inch Nails beats and her beautiful voice is better suited singing big hooks. These twoingredients are oil and water. The songs are a better fit for Madonna than Alanis. I’d say Ryan Reynolds got off easy–easier than the guy from “You Oughta Know.”

Watch the video for “Underneath.”

The Fratellis – Here We Stand – music review

The much anticipated follow-up to The Fratellis debut “Costello Music”. Like it’s predecessor, “Here We Stand” has a great melodic sense and funny heartfelt lyrics, rounded out with excellent production and ear-grabbing vocals. “Costello Music” has scanned nearly 150,000 units in the US and over one million units in the UK to date.

The Fratellis
Artist: The Fratellis
Title: Here We Stand
Label: Universal
Rating: 6.5/10

Corporate line:
The much anticipated follow-up to The Fratellis debut “Costello Music”. Like it’s predecessor, “Here We Stand” has a great melodic sense and funny heartfelt lyrics, rounded out with excellent production and ear-grabbing vocals. “Costello Music” has scanned nearly 150,000 units in the US and over one million units in the UK to date. “Costello Music” was also a critical and licensor’s favorite in 2007, including most notably an iTunes campaign, among many other placements. Throughout the fi rst album campaign, every time the band came to the US their audience increased dramatically.

The hits:
“Shameless” – It is shameless and a good sing-a-long song.
“Look Out Sunshine!” – This is a song that might have made the second side of a Partridge Family LP. You can figure out if that is a good or bad sign.
“Mistress Mabel” – A song you will grow to love to hate. This catchy track is devoid of any substance.

The rest:
“A Heady Tale” – As interesting as the song may be its also quite exciting.
“My Friend John” – Is it me or are The Fratellis mimicking Muse without all the sci-fi references?
“Milk and Money” – It’s pretty and might thrill a few more than it did me.

Finally:

The Fratellis are all over the place with “Here We Stand.” It goes from Muse to Partridge Family to The Fratellis. It’s not anything you need to rush out and buy. The few tracks should suffice as downloads if you want to get the best of the rest.

Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter III – music review

Cash Money/Universal Motown Records multi-platinum artist Lil Wayne is once again taking control of the airwaves and breaking records in both with “Lollipop,” the first single from his highly anticipated album “Tha Carter III.”

lil music
Artist: Lil’ Wayne
Title: Tha Carter III
Label: Cash Money
Rating: 3/10

Corporate line:
Cash Money/Universal Motown Records multi-platinum artist Lil Wayne is once again taking control of the airwaves and breaking records in both with “Lollipop,” the first single from his highly anticipated album “Tha Carter III.” This is the biggest add week that a hip-hop artist has received at Rhythm Crossover and the biggest any artist has received at Urban Radio including Beyonce and Mariah.

“Lollipop,” is being well received at key radio stations across the country including: New York (Hot 97), Los Angeles (Power), Seattle (93 KUBE), Miami (99 Jamz), Philadelphia (Power 99), Atlanta (Hot 107) and Detroit (Hot 102). Lil Wayne’s MySpace page received over a million unique views this week giving him the #1 Top Artist profile on the site. The video is currently in heavy rotation at MTV, MTV2, BET’s Rap City and MTV Jams, where it appeared as the Jam Of The Week. The “Lollipop” video is also in medium rotation at MTV Hits and on BET’s main playlist. Lil Wayne will also appear on BET’s annual Spring Bling and will be only the 2nd artist in the event’s history to perform for an entire episode!

Since the release of his last CD, the platinum selling “Tha Cater II,” Lil Wayne has guest appearances on over 70 songs for other artists including Fat Joe’s 2008 Grammy nominated single “Make It Rain,” DJ Khaled’s “We Taking Over,” and Wyclef Jeans’ “Sweetest Girl.” He also released a duet CD with Bryan “Birdman” Williams titled Like Father, Like Son in 2006 which was a critical and commercial success.

The hits:
“Lollipop” – The only song where Wayne lets his unique style loose. It’s a hit but that doesn’t mean its great. It’s dance club worthy but not winning any awards. In a few weeks it’ll be completely forgotten.

The rest:

“3 Peat” – What is Wayne doing? He sounds like he’s straining to kick out a rhyme like he’s sitting on the toilet.
“Mr. Carter” – Wayne must have skinny man disease–he always seems to have to prove he’s a bad ass. We’re only two tracks in and already its a self-love fest.
“Got Money” – Wayne is trying way too hard and gets nowhere. I’m sure he thinks he’s getting far.
“Phone Home” – Apparently Wayne watched E.T. and figured out what he would do if he was a long necked alien… he’d rap like he had no talent. This is the worst song Wayne has ever made.
“Shoot Me Down” – I spoke too soon. This is the worst Wayne song ever. The chorus is horrible. The rhymes are even worse: “I sweat money and the bank is my shower.” Enough said.
“La La” – Okay, not enough said. This tops both of the worst songs ever.

Finally:
Lil’ Wayne was supposed to be the next Eazy-E.. He had a voice that was unique and a tight flow. There is a big difference between Eazy and Wayne: one is a legend the other is a wanna-be. Wayne has squandered his talent worrying too much about telling us how great he is but never being great. He’s run away from his unqiue voice. Lil’ Wayne isn’t getting better–he’s fallen from cult hero to mainstream hack.

“Lollipop” video:

Jewel – Perfectly Clear – music review

It comes as no surprise that Jewel, an acclaimed American singer, songwriter, actress, poet, painter, philanthropist and daughter to an Alaskan cowboy singer-songwriter, finds herself in the embrace of country music for the release of her seventh career album, “Perfectly Clear.”

jewel
Artist: Jewel
Title: Perfectly Clear
Label: Valory Music Co.
Rating: 6/10

Corporate line:
It comes as no surprise that Jewel, an acclaimed American singer, songwriter, actress, poet, painter, philanthropist and daughter to an Alaskan cowboy singer-songwriter, finds herself in the embrace of country music for the release of her seventh career album, “Perfectly Clear.”

Jewel’s personal odyssey, partly chronicled on one of the best selling debut albums of all time, the twelve-time platinum Pieces of You, comes full circle with her forthcoming country album, “Perfectly Clear,” the debut release on newly launched Nashville-based independent label The Valory Music Co.

Jewel is set apart her whole career for not only singing, but writing all her songs, and this album is no exception. “I’ve been writing country songs my whole career; some of the songs on this record date back to when I was 18 years old. I’ve been hanging on to them until now. They were meant for a record like this one.”

The record’s first single “Stronger Woman” is a powerful and positive message that resonates with women of any age. Perfectly Clear is produced by Jewel and John Rich of Big and Rich fame. “Jewel is probably one of the greatest American singer-songwriters we have. It is such an honor to work with anyone of that caliber of talent,” Rich says. Jewel has spent a lot of time in Nashville over the last few years, and has naturally been drawn to and accepted by the Nashville music community. “If I were discovered today, there is no doubt that I would be signed as a country artist. Songs like “You Were Meant For Me” would have been a country hit today, and not a pop hit as it was in the 90s. The genres have changed more than I feel I have,” says Jewel.

The hits:

“Stronger Woman” – Jewel’s gorgeous voice carries the song. This song in less able hands wouldn’t be as interesting.
“Thump Thump” – A simple, beautiful song. It has a lot of corny moments–but Jewel’s voice is amazing.
“Perfectly Clear” – A beautiful song that shouldn’t have been left for last.

The rest:

“I Do” – Pretty, unremarkable. It goes from a total country song like “Stronger Woman” to a folksy track like this is really startling.
“Rosey and Mick” – Great lyrics: “Mick came home late last night/ He drank enough beer to take the edge off a knife.” But the song doesn’t have much of a hook.

Finally:
Jewel was born to make country music. It’s the perfect transition for her and a great career move. Country is one of the surest ways to a long career. So why didn’t Jewel make an entire country album? She still has one foot in folk music and one in country. At some point she needs to make a choice instead of releasing schizophrenic albums.

Jewel performs “Thump Thump”

Jewel interview/performance on GMA

Weezer – The Red Album – music review

For the third time in its six-album history, Weezer will release a self-titled album through DGC/Interscope Records. To distinguish it from the other eponymous albums, it’s being referred by people as “The Red Album.”

Weezer
Artist: Weezer
Title: The Red Album
Label: Geffen
Rating: 6/10

Corporate line:
For the third time in its six-album history, Weezer will release a self-titled album through DGC/Interscope Records. To distinguish it from the other eponymous albums, it’s being referred by people as “The Red Album.” There are now no more primary colors to describe Weezer albums having exhausted blue and green previously. Comprised of sessions produced by Rick Rubin, Jacknife Lee and the band itself, the album is adventurous and undeniable Weezer pop-rock. The first single, the quirky and catchy “Pork and Beans,” was recorded under the watch of the Irishman Lee and will soon be a Weezer classic.

Great albums are culminations of the past with an eye to the future, and the Red Album has parts “Blue Album,” “Pinkerton,” and forges new territory with all four members taking turns singing lead. The Red Album is the rarest of modern music combinations: being both immediate and having the quality of growing better upon each subsequent listen.

The hits:
“Pork and Beans” – When you talk about classic Weezer this is it. Big, catchy hook and rocks from beginning to end. Too bad every song wasn’t this good.
“The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)” – Even though it has moments when it could have gone either way, Rivers pulls it out anddelivers.

The rest:

“Troublemaker” – It has all the elements of a Weezer song with its bad-ass geekiness ala Napoleon Dynamite–but it lacks the big hook.
“Heart Songs” – Why Rivers wasted such a beautiful instrumentation to do nothing but list his favorite bands is beyond me. What a waste of time.
“Everybody Get Dangerous” – Maybe it’s only me–but doesn’t this sound like Everclear? And no, that’s not a good thing.
“Thought I Knew” – Why Rivers handed off the vocals to guitarist Brian Bell is beyond me. It sounds like a bad Fastball track.
“The Angel and the One” – Forgettable.

Finally:
A Weezer album always has lots of anticipation. But this one sounds too cool for school again. There is a lot that seems pretentious from tracks like “Troublemaker” to another self-titled album. If Weezer could just stick to their catchy rock tracks like “Pork and Beans” all would be good. But sadly its not.

Watch the video for “Pork and Beans”

Ashanti – The Declaration – music review

The incomparable Ashanti is back with “The Declaration”!!This multiple Grammy winner and R&B superstar has delivered some of her most powerful and passionate songs yet.

ashanti the declaration
Artist: Ashanti
Title: The Declaration
Label: Motown
Rating: 4/10

Corporate line:
The incomparable Ashanti is back with “The Declaration”!!This multiple Grammy winner and R&B superstar has delivered some of her most powerful and passionate songs yet. “The Declaration” features the smash hit “The Way That I Love”, which showcases the power of Ashanti’s soulful voice as she tells the heart wrenching story of a scorned lover. This 13 song set is Ashanti’s 4th studio album and first since 2004. Ashanti has been busy developing her acting career with John Tucker Must Die, Coach Carter, and Resident Evil, and now she returns to deliver a career defining album!

The hits:
“So Over You” f/Akon – Ashanti and Akon are a fairly dynamic duo.
“Body On Me” f/Akon and Nelly – The one and only single on the entire album. Ashanti needed some help to make this hit worthwhile.

The rest:
“The Way That I Love You” – An average single that lacks any fire.
“You’re Gonna Miss” – Ditto the previous song–but worse.
“Struggle” – This ballad is boring. It was tough to get through the whole song without fast forwarding.
“Girlfriend” – The beat crunches but the lyrics never live up to the hype. Ashanti is trying to sing a song that’s sexy–it doesn’t work.
“Things You Make Me Do” f/Robin Thicke – Crappy instrumental. The song is 100% corny.

Finally:
What is Ashanti declaring on “The Declaration” anyway? It’s a great album title for an artist like Mary J. Blige. Ashanti’s version of a declaration is pretty weak. There are no really good tracks. Everything is pure formula pop.

The Foxboro Hot Tubs – Stop Drop and Roll – music review

Imagine a big-time punk-pop trio from the Oakland area deciding, for fun, to record a cool song that reminded them of ’60s garage rock—adventurous, reckless, and edgy but with a “doo-doo-doo” party sound.

The Foxboro Hot Tubs
Artist: The Foxboro Hot Tubs
Title: Stop Drop and Roll
Label: Warner Bros.
Rating: 6/10

Corporate line:
Imagine a big-time punk-pop trio from the Oakland area deciding, for fun, to record a cool song that reminded them of ’60s garage rock—adventurous, reckless, and edgy but with a “doo-doo-doo” party sound. Imagine the lovechild of an unholy marriage between The Stooges and Tommy James And The Shondells. Imagine the track, “Mother Mary,” leaking out and amazingly going Top 20 Modern Rock. Imagine the mysterious “new” band then deciding to release an EP for free on the Internet. Now imagine a full-length album—an actual album you can hold in your hands, just like way back before the dawn of the new millennium! Imagine Foxboro Hottubs and the album Stop Drop And Roll.

The hits:
“Stop Drop and Roll” – This sounds like Elvis on steroids.
“Mother Mary” – Imagine its 1958 and you are at the high school dance and you just discovered the new thing. And then everyone starts to dance and have a grand ol’ time. Right on!
“Ruby Room” – The Stray Cats tried to revive this sound and it might just take Green Day for anyone to care. And if you don’t care you just might dance until you drop dead.
“Red Tide” – This is formulaic rock songs ala The Monkees and that is actually a compliment. The song is a tidy sing-a-long.

The rest:
“Broadway” – This is the most Green Day style song and it might be the worst song on the album. Why is it here? It doesn’t fit the common thread of the rest of the album.
“Sally” – The boys have been listening too much to The Turtles or The Zombies or some other ’60s band with “The” at the beginning of their name.
“Allligator” – A B-side if there ever was one–not to mention a rip-off of The Kinks.
“27th Ave. Shuffle” – This sounds too much like The Rolling Stone’s “The Last Time.”

Finally:
Yes The Foxboro Hot Tubs are Green Day. It’s not much of a secret–and if it was meant to be a secret it wasn’t kept very well. I understand that the fellows from Green Day had songs like this floating around but why not put it out as Green Day? Do they really need to care what fans might think at this point? I think it would be a cool statement to say “hey, we’re Green Day and if we want to do something different either enjoy or f**k off!” Most of the album is full of songs that consist of three chords but that isn’t new for Green Day–they’ve made a career of it. “Stop Drop and Roll” isn’t the best Green Day album and it doesn’t have to be. It sounds partly like a gimmick and partly like something serious. Irregardless, there are definitely songs that must make their way into your musical rotation. The biggest problem is that most of the songs sound like Green Day retooled old original songs and called them their own.