Albert Hammond Jr. - "Yours to Keep" This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

I’d like to start with a confession: I’m a fan of The Strokes. I know this probably gives me a bit of a bias when it comes to this record, but in other ways it makes me more competent to review it. Any discussion of Albert Hammond will of course touch on the fact that he is a member of The Strokes – and this album’s sound certainly lends itself to comparison with releases by that group.

But there’s a key difference between The Strokes and Hammond: He is earnest. I believe there is nothing earnest about The Strokes. They are image-cocky hipsters, defying “cool” with clothes so apathetically arranged that it feels like a fabrication. The Strokes are supposed to be mythical in their prodigious poshness, but Hammond is just a dude. Hammond took time out of his busy schedule to write, record, and release ten songs. He earnestly believes in this music, and it shows.

There’s something of the Beach Boys charm in opener “Cartoon Music for Superheroes” that’s supposed to take you off guard, but there’s nothing unexpected about Hammond opening with a song like this. Acoustic guitars with chiming bells are a definite contrast to the stuff he’s used to playing, and that’s the point. Hammond is showing his versatility with what is essentially a good pop record.

Songs like “Blue Skies” and “Call an Ambulance” are filled with innocuous and well executed soft-pop hooks. But Hammond is just as eager to remind you of his bread and butter, which he also does well on the Strokes-esque rockers “In Transit” and “101.”

Hammond enlists the help of some friends, including Sean Lennon, Julian Casablancas, and Strokes manager Ryan Gentles. And for those who worry about Hammond’s singing voice, he holds his own quite well.

“Hard to Live in the City” is the best song and definitely in the vein of The Strokes. Guitars churn with melodic confidence and Hammond seems as comfortable as he’s been the whole album. As the song comes to a close, Hammond has won you over. For the last minute or so the song goes into a poppy horn overture. As his guitar chugs along and the horns rock out, Hammond finally reaches the happy medium that “Yours to Keep” tries to establish. And even if this epiphany is ephemeral, it is no less admirable

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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HesterMILLIE21 said...
Mar. 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm
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Apr. 29, 2009 at 2:07 pm
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Samantha S. said...
Jan. 2, 2009 at 4:03 pm
I am not sure if there is any other way I can contact you through this website, however I will leave my first of many comments on this article. Your musical taste amazes me. "Yours to Keep" has made its way into my Top Played on Itunes, and "Hard to Live in the City" is indeed my favorite track on the album. Then, after reading this well written article, I viewed your other articles. Arctic Monkeys was what I found next. That CD is phenomenal, and I found my self nodding... (more »)
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