Rotation review by Cute Is What We Aim For

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  • Released: Jun 24, 2008
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 5
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 5.4 (45 votes)
Cute Is What We Aim For: Rotation
3

Sound — 8
Most music fans will have either heard of or have an opinion on the chart topping band Cute Is What We Aim For. Whether you like or dislike them, the sheer fact that the Buffalo, New York quartet broke Fueled By Ramen's internal sales record (previously held by a little known band called Panic At The Disco) with debut album The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch is something to be amazed by. It is safe to say that the band hasn't changed their sound much on sophomore release Rotation. In that respect, fans of the quartet's debut release will have nothing to worry about as Rotation is very much a continuation from where The Same Old... left off. Regarding new fans, those curious and bold enough to take a listen to the album will probably find something they do like. The hooks and melodies are too catchy to hate, the guitars seem much louder, and the drums and bass seem bigger and bolder than the band's debut offering. Songs such as first single and opening track Practice Makes Perfect, Safe Ride, and Doctor, all seem destined for the charts with addictive choruses and catchy hooks. You may be thinking that all of this seems a little too ordinary and stereotypical of the pop-punk genre. But, with the help of John Feldmann of Goldfinger fame, the band has experimented with different sounds that will help them stand out from the rest of the crowd. The best example would be Hollywood, a track which gets not only the piano, but also horns, a smidgeon of Latin, and a touch of classical guitar involved. Feldmann's class of production can also be heard on Doctor, a track which could be mistaken for a song off Lies for the Liars by The Used if it weren't for Shaant Hacikyan's voice. The track starts with a baby's laugh, which incidentally morphs into guest star Bert McCrackens sinister chuckle, and then at the sound of broken glass the song starts. Bert's menacing signature screams, laughs and whispers can be heard throughout the song faded behind Shaant's strong singing, which is bravely accompanied at one point by horns and bongo-esque drumming. In this case, hearing is believing.

Lyrics — 5
Lyrically, as expected by most pop-punk/ powerpop bands, Hacikyan's lyrics aren't great. Unfortunately, the songs on Rotation are dotted with cheap rhyme schemes. Lines such as If I if I; if I die inside; would anyone realize; I lived a lie from track The Lock Down Denial is cringe worthy enough to make any metal head take a knife to their throat. Fifth track Do What You Do is the perfect example of a lyrically spastic masterpiece. With the first verse penned as: There is an engine in my body; with every beat it lets me breathe; there is a machine within my body; if I could keep up with that machine that's in my body; I could do anything, be anything, see anything; I can feel the beat within my body and consisting of the word 'body' being rhymed a total of four times, you'd be better off deaf rather than having to listen to such childish jujumagumbo. The song tops it off with another cheap rhyme scheme in the chorus: Have you ever been fake; for the sake of saving face; you can work, you can play; from the cradle to the grave; doesn't matter what they say. All in all, Do What You Do is definitely one to skip if crap lyrics drive you round the bend, otherwise in what the other songs lack in lyrical finesse is more than made up for in catchy melodies and hooks.

Overall Impression — 8
First impressions of the album are generally good if you go into it with low expectations. This way, the infectious choruses hit home pretty quickly and you learn to appreciate the album more for what it's worth. Apart from the melodies, another aspect which makes the record rather appealing to the ears is the quirky sounds dotted around the album and tracks. The ghost-like whispers and odd sounding instruments add value to the songs which makes every listen more enjoyable as you start to hear things that you may have missed on your previous listen. Overall, if Cute Is What We Aim For keep creating records like Rotation and The Same Old... and continue to add songs to their already strong back catalogue of tunes, they have the potential to one day lead the genre carved by label mates Panic At The Disco and Fall Out Boy.

42 comments sorted by best / new / date

    boyan89
    i just dont know what to say, Cute Is What We Aim For, thats the worst band name ever and their a pretty bad band
    NemX162
    You can aim to be an adjective. You can aim to be cool, you can aim to be unique. You can aim to be cute. Whoopdeedo. Anyway. Not a bad album.
    whiteraven119
    I wonder if he used the word "gent" seventy thousand times like he did on the last album.
    LewisMasonx
    I don't think some fans are swallowing their pride on that Shaant's lyrical prowess has degraded from Blood Rush, or even the demos. His wordplay and poetic technique was okay on Blood Rush, but on this album, it's the same old same old, and as a fan, I admit it's gotten worse. He could have been a lot more descriptive with lyrics, and he does overuse words a lot. There's the odd good bit here and there (off the top of my head, I can only think of the closer, "Time"), but other than that, lyrically it's quite painful... A solid pop album nonetheless, a few dead moments, like Do What You Do and The Lockdown Denial, as pointed out. I don't really like Navigate Me either personally.
    lunchboxturtle
    To proneSolution, or whatever... in this whole, adjective/noun argument, "cute" is an adjective, in the sense that the title means it in a way that suggets "our goal is to appear 'cute'" it does not mean that they are literally shooting at Cute, the mascot for Bubblegum-Pop, it is simply a metaphor.
    snype26
    Not a bad job for a sophomore album. Definitely some catchy tunes, but more work could have been put into writing. Shaant's voice has matured a bit, as he sounds less whiny than his previous album. Good variation in tracks, although the acoustic tracks have plenty of room for vocal improvement. A good album overall; very far from a sophomore slump. 8/10
    Retrobution
    These guys are kind of a guilty pleasure for me. I really like them I better pick up this album. COnsidering the rest of the stuff I listen to consists of mainly Grind/Deathcore
    blink182plus44
    haven't changed their sound much? are you ****ing kidding? they complete changed and I don't like this cd. this is terrible compared their first one.
    5_Strings
    Zeppelinff wrote: These guys ****ing suck. I hate all of you bastards, listening and fueling the shit music of today. Get ****ing real. Go pick up an Allman Brothers Band album and get some real ****ing music into your heads, not this faggot shit. This band sucks and none of them are talented. What kind of faggot, queer name is shaant? Fucking fags, I hope the die and burn in hell, from the very lowest depths of my heart, I hope they die and burn in hell. Fags.
    lol wut ... ?
    jherm
    I was disappointed by "The same old blood rush" but I was really excited about some tracks they'd released before that (demos.) I doubt that this album has shown how they've improved. The lead singer, and other songwriters involved, if any, should take note that they should keep things simpler (like they did on their demos) because it avoids sounding too convoluted or contrived. (I am not a professional musician)
    ratedpg
    not as "cute" as their last album in a good way, you can't really go wrong with John Feldman. Good CD, but still I can't really seem to get into the whole "cute is the new angry" movement that seems to be going on.
    Anonymouslyours
    from what i hear "cute" was Shaant's substitute for "cool", explaining the band name, whether you think its good or not. but what up with the dude insulting Shaant's name? he didnt name himself did he? i am a fan of this band but i really cant compare the two albums yet. this new album seems a lot more poppy in comparison with blood rush. but i do agree he says the same words too much sometimes, especially "body language"
    Anonymouslyours
    oh, one more thing. as the review states, the instrumentals sound much better than the last album, especially the guitars. at certain parts of the last album i thought the guitar tones sounded horrible. even though the main guitar tone here is a stereotypical pop rock distorted guitar i find it much more easier to listen to.
    Stumpo
    Well for a listen the first time around, it didnt hit me that the lyrics were too repetative. In fact the catchy-ness makes these songs nice songs to just dance, chill out and move along to. It catches me more than their previous album but that's just my view.
    jamiexallxover
    It was a little hard for me to really get into this album, much unlike the first Cute Is What We Aim For album. When I eventually got hooked on Rotation, I noticed that it's a much better album musically. Each of the songs sound different from each other, which isn't really something you can say about the first album. Wow, I didn't know that Bert was on Doctor. I guess I'm just clueless...
    anarchy_riot09
    omfg its been foreever since ive listened to ciwwef lol i used to be in love w/ this band. i love their lyrics and the way they fit them in and use them. not really my cup of tea anymore tho, im moreinto the dead kennedys, casualties, exploited, ramones and etc...but they are a good band to listen to to get in a good mood, i may have to check that new cd out =]
    Samster1214
    I know most people dislike the name, but it's worth noting that where they come from, apparently cute is synonymous with cool. so they're actually Cool Is What We Aim For, in weird slang. haha. Haven't had a chance to listen to the new album yet, hope i like it.
    HurricaneSG
    the previous album was better but this is great too .. i actually love that "there is in engine in my body" part..
    shooshi123
    This is a good album. Not as good as the same old blood rush. But still its a good album and it doesnt matter if they have bad name. They're still a decent band and Shaant is an amazing song writer
    Vinnie9
    mvtan wrote: is cute a noun?
    Haha xD Their last album was better..
    Vinnie9
    mvtan wrote: is cute a noun?
    Haha xD Their last album was better..
    Trohnado
    mvtan wrote: is cute a noun?
    Cute is an adjective, actually. And I think CIWWAF's new album was pretty good. But hey, what do I know? I'm only a fan. :]
    anarchy_riot09
    OMFG! haha i remember when i used to be in love w/ this band haha i havent listened to them in forever, i like their lyrics and their sound and how they use the lyrics..not really my cup of tea tho anymore, im more into the dead kennedys, casualties, exploites, ramones and etc, but ciwwef is still pretty good to listen to when you want to get in a good mood, i might have to check their new cd out =]
    serjiscoolz
    i have their old album. it was ok. i listened to the preview for 'practice makes perfect'. he said the words 'body language.' and i wanted to throw up. HE USES THE SAME WORDS TOO MUCH. im mnot getting this.im tired of 'em.
    ProneSolution
    Trohnado wrote: Cute is an adjective, actually. ]
    He was joking. It is proper to say that you are aiming for a noun, a person place or thing. However, saying that you are aiming for an adjective is improper, and frankly makes you look stupid. On a side note, I do like this band and this album.
    avenge_me91
    Technically no, not if you were say aiming for a sound for example it still, in this context, would make sense. That does not however make it a good name. It's ****ing retarded if i'm honest. Haven't listened to this yet, first album was alright.
    pheonix1392
    I disagree with most of u guys This album kicks waaay more ass than their last one , which actually took me a while to get into this first time i heard this one i was like...awesomeness :] ...but that's just my opinion
    electric7
    lead singer = pitch corrected. they played at bamboozle and they SUCKED. my friend dragged me there, and after one song, he was like, "let's get outta here".
    always_rainin09
    the first album was great and this album was great, as for Shaants lyrics not being good, i would like to see you write half as good of lyrics as Shaant and have it sound that good to top it off
    _GoingBlind_
    I probably shouldn't comment on this....I don't get this music....but to each his own..her own... whatever
    Ethan3312
    Band names shouldn't sway you to not like good true meaningful music that sounds amazing!!!