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Fight Songs

music reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4

All-Reviews.com Music Review: Fight Songs

Artist: Old 97's
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: April 1999


Review by LarryG
2 stars out of 4

Old 97's last record, Too Far To Care, was an authentic sounding roots rock cd but it wasn't particularly accessible. Fight Songs is a slightly dumbed down but much catchier version of Old 97's. The band comes across as nice guys and the music is always amiable and well played, if sometimes a little lightweight. The music is enjoyable country rock but could use a little edge. On Jagged, Rhett Miller sings about feeling out of sorts but while it's rougher than most of the songs on Fight Songs, the reassuringly repetitious song and its smooth playing mean the song doesn't seem that jagged. Lonely Holiday is about feeling suicidal and unloved but the music's soothing harmonies and catchy "I'm not lonely, I've got my imaginary friend" chorus means the song's still pleasant country rock. Oppenheimer is a nice, infectious rocker which distills the cautiously optimistic tone of the record: "Me and this girl, we been working it out, we got a long way to go. Indefinitely shows a good sense of humor and more optimism. Crash On The Barrelhead is a welcome change of pace, a nice lo-fi traditional sounding country song. The charm of Old 97's is exemplified on the single Murder or a Heart Attack. The music is uplifting and the words are simple and heart felt, about being willing to take a risk to get someone back, apparently a beloved pet. Busted Afternoon and Nineteen, an affectionate look back at an early doomed romance, are also likeable musically and lyrically. Let The Idiot Speak is another upbeat, self deprecating country rock song. All through the record, Miller presents the image of a charming, somewhat clueless guy. The music is similarly pleasant and inoffensive.

Review by MusicBox
4 stars out of 4

What exactly is alt-country? While the genre may be hard to define, Old 97s are a perfect example of it. Rhett Miller & Co. have one foot in rock and the other in country. The result- a catchy, poppy new album called Fight Songs. From their first album, Old 97s have edged progressively closer to rock. Fight Songs at times even takes on a power pop quality. But even when they're trying to be pop rockers, Miller's voice can't help but add a touch of country.

The tracks on Fight Songs fit together perfectly. The songs range in subject from the essential love ballad to sticky situations. The first single from the album, "Murder Or A Heart Attack", has gotten rotation on college radio stations. This album will indefinitely put you in a good mood. Even when Miller tries to sing a remorseful tune about his youth, you can't help but dance. If you like country, if you like rock, or if you like both, you are sure to fall in love with Old 97s.

Here's what others reviewers have to say:

"...Shuffle rhythms and big-note guitar lend a fading sheen of hick to what is actually a polished slab of melodic pop, full of sad, hooky, vaguely twangy confessionals for entry-level boot-gazers..."  7 (out of 10)   Spin 6/99, p.144

"...High-strung students of Brothers Everly and Doobie, Crazy Horse and `Wild Horses,' Tex-Mex and T.Rex, they harness achy-breaky hearts to songs so packed with hooks and wordplay they seem ready to explode..."   Rating: A  Entertainment Weekly 4/30/99, p.97

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