Rooney - Washed Away - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Rooney - Washed Away

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:4.5 Release Date:2016-05-09

After a six year hiatus, LA pop group Rooney is back with more music for the masses. This is unashamed pop: clean, crisp, chorusy, and cloying. Let me make it clear that I’m not averse to pop by any means. Hell, I still reminisce about 45s on the back of cereal boxes.

Yet, with lyrics that seem like they were nicked from some teen’s journal and a propensity for anthem-like choruses, Rooney have their hormonal target firmly in sight. To further underscore their purposes, frontman and main songwriter Robert Coppola Schwartzman (a member of the multi-rooted acting family tree) has stated often in promoting this project that he writes to reach as many people as possible.

Sure, every artist wants to be recognized. It’s just that some are a bit less obvious about it.  

Admittedly, it’s easy to slag this off as another Hollywood brat’s masturbatory endeavor, and in too many ways, it most certainly is. But, there are definitely songs that have the potential to find their way onto the radio, which is either damning with faint praise or mere jaded pragmatism. Whether Rooney can recapture the pocket change of the ever-fickle teen audience they once owned is another issue altogether; but be assured that they're giving it their all. 

Pre-release single “My Heart Beats 4 You” is a derivative piece of sugarcoated superficial pop that might’ve been patched together from fragments of Fall Out Boy B-sides. Schwartzman sings, “They can tell us that we don’t know right from wrong when they never ever heard us sing a song. They don’t know how the chorus goes, they only know Barry Man-i-low.” Really? Throwing shade with a reference their audience would have to Google just to understand? Does he think the "they" who don't understand are a bunch of little old ladies, and if so, why does he care what they think?

There are times when it goes beyond innocuous and into the realm of nauseating, as in the preachy “Don’t Be A Hero.” When Schwartzman sings, “Corona, tequila, a little marijuana,” unfathomably ripping off the worst Beach Boys chorus ever, he inadvertantly makes me jones for anything to erase the memory of this song from my mind. 

In the end, this album is SO not intended for a middle-aged guy like me, as if the text-speak song titles weren’t a dead giveaway. That doesn’t mean it’s without merit by any means, or at least not by looser parameters. If you are craving some embarrassingly saccharin pop, this could really fill your need. If you’re like me, however, you’d be better off surfing YouTube for washed out videos of the The Partridge Family. 

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