Metro Station returns with a new single: “Young Again.” It has been ten years since the release of the group’s debut album, and the pop formula that made Metro Station fun and edgy once, appears to be showing its age.
Metro Station and early 2000’s pop
I wasn’t impressed with pop music in 2007. Most singles felt vacant and juvenile — until I discovered Metro Station’s self-titled debut album. It had all the things that could go right with a contemporary pop album. In all honesty, I called it, “Mall Music.” It is that seemingly harmless music that plays while shoppers consider styles of random clothing, and the piped in pop music makes it seem as if the world would be a better place if shoppers buy something expensive and trendy. It is music that takes the edge off everything, including questionable decisions made while shopping.
But with Metro Station, I thought there was a bit more, like they were smarter somehow than the rest of the mall music bands. The song I liked most, “Shake It,” was flirty, but not dangerous, and I could see how such a song could work to fuel a party or a road trip for young people. When I listened to it, I felt younger, freer, different. One of the purposes of a pop song is to transport audiences in some ways, right? So, the song succeeded. I had no idea where the group might go from there. In fact, I feared their devolution. As listeners grew up, would this brand of pop seem just inappropriate and juvenile? I hoped not.
Metro Station in brief
The group put out a few albums in between that first album and this one. They barely caught my attention. I paid more attention this time because it had been ten years after all. I was beginning to wonder if there was a chronology theme underlying Metro Station’s work because there was a song on the first album called, “Wish We were Older,” and now the group has returned with a song (and album) titled, “Young Again,” as in, “we’ll never be this young again.”
Metro Station’s “Young Again”
“Young Again” begins with a piano motif that sounds kind of strident. The motif works to foreshadow that pending tension that could result if things don’t go the way the narrator wants them to. The song captures a love affair between two jet-setting young people who have to figure out how much they want their relationship to work out, given the different cities they seem to find themselves in. Names of various cities are dropped into the lyrics and the theme of always being on the go is crafted easily. Essentially, the narrator wants them to try because they’ll never have the youth and vitality for this kind of thing again. In this way, the song is hopeful.
The chorus is interesting with its multi-layered vocals rising in a vamp structured around a passionate expression of the syllable “oh.” Some of the wordplay characteristic of the first album is back, and appreciative fans will smile at the cleverness.
Metro Station sticks to its edgy pop formula and is mostly successful. But something is missing. Maybe the formula is aging. But, the slice-of-life lyrics are there, along with a big chorus, both of which create a song that diehard fans will take to heart and sing aloud.