Tinted Windows: Tinted Windows

By: Dennis Cook

Oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, bubblegum can be yummy. Tinted Windows is remedially pure power pop crafted by a quartet of old hands who know a thing or two about snagging the public’s ear. Obvious yet nigh-irresistible, by the second song, “Messing With My Head” (yes, even the titles read like a primer in boy-girl radio history) you’re made of sterner stuff than me if you aren’t clapping your hands, singing along and reaching for the repeat button.

Comprised of guitarist James Iha (ex-Smashing Pumpkins), drummer Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick), bassist Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) and lead singer Taylor Hanson (Hanson), Tinted Windows strips away everything but the gooiest, most enduring elements of hard pop singles past. Sophisticated it ain’t, and Entertainment Weekly may be on the money in suggesting some base commercial motivation because this is primed to catch on with the Jonas/Miley set. Except those of us with way more decades under our belts with a weakness for Sweet, The Knack and well, Cheap Trick will find oodles of fun waiting for them on this self-titled debut. The lynchpin is Hanson’s fantastic, limber voice, alternating between boyish sulk and mannish charm, which drives the music into our arms. In this computer assisted, manufactured talent age it’s refreshing to find a mainstream singer that belts ’em out with real force and personality. It’s totally understandable that as an adult he would love a chance to just sing without the albatross of the Hanson legacy dangling in front of every note, and backed by the total pro muscle of Carlos, Schlesinger and Iha, he shows himself a worthy inheritor of what Eric Carmen/The Raspberries, young Todd Rundgren, Badfinger and Box Tops’ Alex Chilton kicked off long ago.

Playing this in the car, my wife commented, “This is sorta Jovi.” And she’s right. So, why am I defending/celebrating anything remotely Bon-esque? Because it’s well made and really enjoyable. I know it’s a trinket and I suspect so do the four guys who made it, but it glows and spins just the same, and sometimes pretty colors and bubbly noises are just what we need as we pound the steering wheel and bob our head back and forth as if there weren’t a care in the world beside where our next kiss is coming from.

JamBase | Finger Snappin’
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