Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 11:17 a.m.
Artist: Foxy Shazam
Title: Foxy Shazam
Release date: April 13
Attention, fans of Glee and American Idol and Fame and Broadway and Queen. Your prayers have been answered by Sire Records, who has delivered unto you a band from Cincinnati that will blow you away. The band is called Foxy Shazam, and they will soon be your new favorite act. I promise.
Foxy Shazam will be at Scottsdale's Martini Ranch on Friday, April 23. I'm tempted to go, just to see if F.S. can come anywhere close to matching the record's arena-rock majesty in a club setting. Sire shelled out some big bucks for big-name arrangers, producers and session musicians to forge this mammoth-sounding, Queen-meets-Meatloaf-meets-Springsteen-meets-Green Day record.
Led by a Freddie Mercury clone on lead vocals, Foxy Shazam do nothing subtly, which is good if you're eventually gonna be arena-filling superstars or be the house band of Foxy Shazam: The Musical, starring Adam Lambert.
Seems every major arena act of the past 30 years gets a musical nod on Foxy Shazam. Let's see, there's U2, Madonna, Green Day, Springsteen, Guns N' Roses, Billy Joel, and of course, Queen and Meatloaf. Really, only Metallica goes unrepresented.
From a performance, songwriting, and production standpoint, Foxy Shazam is impeccably made. The melodies are memorable, the vocals are expressive, the choruses are massive, the lyrics are blandly uplifting, the arrangements are airtight, and the production is pristine and tailored to as a big an audience as possible.
If this were a movie, it would be Avatar -- a treat for the senses but not very fulfilling.
In the end, Foxy Shazam is the kind of record made for people who buy one CD a year.
Best song: "Unstoppable." As if you couldn't tell by the title, this is Foxy Shazam's stab at a "We Are the Champions"-style anthem.
Deja Vu: The Grease soundtrack as imagined by Green Day.
I'd rather listen to: Sire's back catalogue: Pretenders, Ramones, Radio Birdman, Dead Boys, etc.
Grade: D. After listening to tomorrow's Nothing Not New entry, Coheed & Cambria, I'm changing Foxy Shazam's grade to a solid B. Foxy Shazam wants to be the "Michael Jordan of rock 'n' roll" and I like their spirit.
"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.
The "Nothing Not New" Archives