Sound — 6
The album opens with "Ride" and "Animal Machine," two half-hearted concessions to their successful but less interesting hybrid of grunge and garage rock. Winning Days' flat opening wouldn't be so bad if the rest of the album made up for it, but once again the Vines fail to deliver. The rest of the album delves into the pop side that made the band seem a little deeper and more diverse than some of its rock revivalist contemporaries; this is still the side of the band that produces the most substantial music, but this time around the returns are greatly diminished. "TV Pro" mixes the trippy and rocking aspects of the band's sounds fairly well, but its impact is thwarted by the syrupy production that coats most of Winning Days. Most egregiously, "Autumn Shade II" comes across as a cover of Highly Evolved's "Autumn Shade" instead of its sequel, its title telegraphing the dearth of ideas on the rest of the album. As disappointing as Winning Days is, it's not a total loss. "She's Got Something to Say" might be slight, but its '60s pop pastiche is still entertaining, and "Fuck the World," a live favorite that might as well be a Highly Evolved outtake, is brash and simplistic, and therefore one of the most immediate songs here
Lyrics — 6
Aside from some slightly more complex song structures, these songs just aren't particularly notable or memorable.
Overall Impression — 6
Two years after their single "Get Free" seemed to be everywhere in one form or another, the Vines returned with their second album, Winning Days. The criticisms leveled against the Vines by their detractors ? that they were just aping Nirvana and didn't have ideas of their own ? apply far more to Winning Days than their debut "Highly Evolved" CD. Highly Evolved, in some ways, a leap forward in style and frenzy. Though, when it came to the melodies, Winning Days is definitely a departure; it leaves behind not only the melodies but the messiness and ambition that made the Vines distinctive.