Them Vs. You Vs. MeFeatured review by: UG Team, on march 22, 2007 1 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Good or bad, Finger Eleven is an extremely radio-friendly band that has found a comfortable niche in the world of FM airplay. With an equal blend of accessible ballads and danceable rock songs, the band's 5th studio release Them Vs. You Vs. Me is a respectable offering for the most part. For fans of bands that bring a bit more of an edge to their music, however, Finger Eleven will likely leave them a bit disappointed.
This is not to say there aren't more than a few catchy singles on the latest release from Finger Eleven (vocalist Scott Anderson, guitarists James Black and Rick Jackett, bassist Sean Anderson, and drummer Rich Beddoe). The first track Paralyzer has that same groove-oriented, funky feel that you get in Franz Ferdinand's Take Me Out. It's a solid song that emphasizes the band's talent as a whole, but some may feel it resembles Franz Ferdinand's single a little too closely. It's primarily due to the intro and the song quickly gains it's own identity. With all it's familiarity, it still is a very infectious track.
Even with the band setting the stage with the energetic opener Paralyzer, the ballads still take up a big chunk of the playlist. While it's respectable of the band to showcase it's sentimental side and there are a few moving moments in the ballads, it is the faster-tempo songs that are a bit more memorable. Change The World is a ballad that begins with a restrained piano line and restrained acoustic, but eventually builds up to feature percussion and what sounds like a whole string section. While it is cool that Finger Eleven slowly builds layers with each section, the base songwriting is just not that unique.
There are quite a few cool, funky riffs throughout the record, and those really do help draw you into the faster songs. The last track Easy Life combines both the funky and softer side of the band, making it a standout track. It actually gets progressively slower (until the big finale, that is) and has a haunting, higher-pitched guitar line being played over the quieter vocals. This technique, along with what an added slide guitar at the end, gives the song a whole different feel than the other tracks and does show the band is thinking outside the box. // 7
Lyrics: Finger Eleven's lyrics vary wildly, with the ballads often bearing the best and the worst. On a song like Change The World, there does seem to be a cheesy element to it all. Anderson sings, I just want the best for you, girl; But I don't think I really know what that means; I know you bring out the best of me. Now, the content definitely has a sweet sentiment that could touch some listeners, but the majority will probably feel that it's just a bit too predictable.
Window Song features some interesting imagery and demonstrates that the band has more to offer than a few other songs might indicate. Anderson sings, All the windows are playing their game; Where I won't see outside again; Till I write all the fog away. It's nice to hear lyrics that go beyond just the usual emotional content, and Window Song is a good example of how the band is able to take a ballad and make it more than just a sappy love song. // 6
Overall Impression: There are quite a few ballads on the record that just don't have the originality that the faster tracks, and that's really where the band falls short. There will be those who probably like emotionally driven songs like Change The World, but those tracks still don't make a huge impression musically.
Finger Eleven has already established a strong fan base and made it's way into the public eye just fine (the band's self-titled record made it to #4 on the Top Canadian Albums chart and various singles have been featured in movies), but it's hard to say if the band will be capable of breaking free from being just a singles band. The band shows it's best on Paralyzer, but they do have a few tracks like Sense Of A Spark and Easy Life that have unique tempos and indicate there is a lot of talent present in the quintet. // 7
Them Vs. You Vs. Me
__Ronnie__, on june 05, 2007 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Obviously, comparing their self-titled album to Them vs. You vs. Me you'll see quite a difference in their sound. I believe Finger Eleven's sound has matured during the 4 years between the two albums. I loved "The Greyest of Blue Skies," I loved "Finger Eleven," and quite honestly, I love "Them vs. You vs. Me" too (I don't have "Tip" yet). If you're buying this CD expecting another "The Greyest of Blue Skies" then most likely you won't be happy. The different overall sound of this album is best listened to with an open mind. The overall feel is much "happier" (I guess you could say) then anything of their albums to date. I hated it at first but after a week or so it grew on me. If you can accept Finger Eleven's change in their sound and can listen to this with an open-mind, you will probably enjoy this album. If not, go buy something else. // 9
Lyrics: Scott is a pretty good songwriter, I have no doubt in my mind about that but "Them vs. You vs. Me" doesn't seem to really portray that. I wouldn't call them bad lyrics, but many of the songs just aren't as meaningful as the songs on their previous albums. If you want to see what I mean compare the lyrics of "Paralyzer" to maybe "One Thing." You'll find by looking at the current single, "Paralyzer" that the lyrics, while cleverly written are pretty much just random phrases thrown together. "This club has got to be/The most pretentious thing/Since I thought you and me" is a good example of what I mean. Still, your average Joe can't write lyrics like these, so you've got to give Scott credit where credit is due. // 7
Overall Impression: Finger Eleven is one of my top 5 favorite bands (Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle, Shinedown and Crossfade being the other 4 on that list) and I can say that this album isn't as good as their previous releases. Excluding Tip, since I can't find a copy of it anywhere. Is "Them vs. You vs. Me" a waste of $10-$12? I don't think so. My favorite songs on this CD are "Paralyzer," it's catchy as heck and literally makes you want to get up and dance around. "Sense of a Spark," in my opinion of probably their most unique song yet. It has a very awkward rhythm at the beginning with the dueling guitars, broken bass drum beat and the seemingly random enter and exit of the bass guitar. You sort of have to be a musician to admire it. "Falling On," "Lost My Way," and "So-So Suicide" are also notable songs too. The songs have enough variety that there should be something for almost everyone here. If I lost it, I wouldn't hesitate to but it again. Even though it seems every Finger Eleven fan hates this album, it will always have a place reserved for it in my CD player, and to me, that's all that matters. // 9