Man on the Run an album not to be pursued

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Zane Nyhus

 

Two decades after reaching fame (and perhaps their peak) with their six-time multi-platinum album Sixteen Stone, it seems that the last time that the band Bush was relevant was when Childish Gambino used them in the song “Freaks and Geeks,”  for his lyric ‘In the back of a Bush like Gavin Rossdale’s drummer.’

After being broken up for seven years, reuniting (albeit with two new band members) and releasing a fifth album in 2010, Bush is trying to become relevant once again with their newest album Man on the Run.

The British rock band starts off their album with “Just Like My Other Sins,” a guitar-heavy song that is very reminiscent of the band’s post-grunge style that initially brought them fame.  “Man on the Run” is the next track, and one that resumes a common trend of Gavin Rossdale’s, where he repeats the title of the song over and over and calls it a chorus.

The next song on the album is one that was released as a single, “The Only Way Out.” Having performed it on Jimmy Kimmel back in October, this track is the most likely to be heard on the radio.  The heavy guitar-playing gives the song an infusion of energy, and Rossdale’s lyrics have some substance to them: “Follow me down to the water/through the trip wires in your head.  Through the seven layers/of your holy bed.”

The grungy guitar fill is revisited in “Loneliness is a Killer,” but this is about the only good thing about the song.  For one, this is yet another song where Rossdale sings the title to death and asks us to pretend it counts as a chorus.

Also, writing a song about loneliness being a killer when you are a multimillionaire who is married to Gwen Stefani, hangs out with Roger Federer and has acted in Hollywood movies is a tough sell for me.

Sure, you can have all these things and still feel lonely, but at least do more than repeating the line over and over.  “Dangerous,” “This House is on Fire” and “Let Yourself Go” all follow suit in Rossdale’s unsubtle songwriting.

“Broken in Paradise” is the album’s token ballad, though Bush pulls it off with Chris Traynor’s pleasant guitar fills and some emotion in the singing (even though Rossdale repeats the phrase “She’s broken in paradise” close to 50 times).  The only other ballad on the album, “Surrender” is oddly placed right after “Broken In Paradise,” causing the song to lose much of its intended effect.

Much of Bush’s initial appeal back in the 90’s was their grungy, slow-building songs that had catchy hooks and great acoustics.  Unfortunately for Bush, Man on the Run doesn’t have nearly enough of this, and as a whole falls short of the mark.

Long, drawn out songs that lead in no real direction really makes Bush show their age.  Their cookie cutter riffs mixed with Rossdale’s vapid, overused lyrics leave Bush in the rapidly growing category of aging bands who should have remained broken up.