Verdict: 3 / 5
Train keep on the straight road and deliver a pop heavy album.
‘California 37’ is a pleasant, accessible record. It has decent songwriting and real emotion, as opposed to so many contrived and synthetic sounding pop records out there. ‘This’ll Be My Year’ is lyrically adventurous, chronicling historic events and Train’s musical journey. While interesting, running a list of historical events does become tedious after two minutes, but at least it tries to be different. The single, ‘Drive By’ has an infectious beat and sing along chorus, it is commercial and disposable but won’t grate your ears or insult your intelligence. ‘Feels Good at First’ has a lovely melody with a pleasant acoustic guitar for accompaniment. The song’s folky, Beatles feel gives the album a great deal of credibility. The stomping ‘Bruises’ is a tasty mix of country, pop and folk while ‘50 Ways to Say Goodbye’ is a cheap but charming flamenco based number with stereotypical lyrics about love and loss. The bridge is catchy and the distorted guitars laced in the song add a nice contrast to the acoustic elements.
The title track, ‘California 37’ is a hip hoppy, rap tinged excursion that shows the bands playful side and ‘When the Fog Rolls In’ is a great Billy Joel like tune. It is filled with lovely, warm piano, brass and banjo tones that set it up as one of the premier songs on the album. In conclusion I’ll say that ‘California 37’ is a pop record that has heart and sincerity despite its overly commercial sound, which redeems any shortcomings on the record.