Saturday, February 4, 2017

TOWNSEND-Townsend [EP] (2002)


The boybands are back! Well, I'm speaking figuratively, and in a couple of different senses: one, that they are front and center again here at "The Music Spectrum", plus the fact that I'm concentrating once again on the more obscure ones from more than a decade ago, even with the recent boyband resurgence that's stormed the pop music world within the past five years or so, There is the legion of music artists who have the surname 'Townsend', and then there are at least two artists that I know of who are simply called 'Townsend'. In the latter case, one of them is the apparent stage name by the mystery solo male pop singer whose real identity I've never been able to reveal; his self-titled album has previously been featured here. In the former case, we have this equally mysterious five-piece boyband bunch who, according to some biographical notes submitted in a CD database, were based in California and had past connections with the likes of fellow boyband N*SYNC and the girl group DREAM. Beyond that, everything else about these guys is indeed shrouded in mystery, except for the availability of this self-titled EP that stands as their first and only known music release to date. What had excited me about them—besides the fact that they were a boyband, of course—was that they were best known for doing a really good cover of yet another memorable, childhood favorite of mine: DEF LEPPARD's "Pour Some Sugar On Me". The instant I heard the lead guy delivering the familiar lyrics in the opening verse, I was whisked back to the awesome 80's and the celebrated metal rock era that came along with it! The DEF LEPPARD original will forever be a golden oldie in my heart, but these TOWNSEND guys strike gold themselves by sending some cool dance/pop beats my way, plus a bit of flashy flair with the rap break paying tribute to the 80's hair band and the beat drop that features them delivering the lyrics about the peaches and the cream in the third verse (and those were some of my favorite lyrics on the DEF LEPPARD original). I could (and probably will, at some point) fill up whole day basking in DEF LEPPARD nostalgia with TOWNSEND's heaven-sent pop remake of "Pour Some Sugar On Me", yet there are five other sweet treats here that'll feed the boyband sugar cravings further. "Understand This (Drop All The Business)" is your classic bangin' boyband dance/pop cut that tells the story of girl playing too many games with the guy who's the victim of those games wanting it all to stop. Fun moments on this one include the cool syncopated break with the 'if you hear my voice, then maybe you can understand' and how they slam the door on the song with the 'can't-can't-can't understand this' at the very end. "Close Your Eyes" is the first real good place to enjoy the boys' collective harmony—a tender ballad that makes excellent use of a dreamy backing orchestral overtures ans soft piano. It's a beautiful listen, as is this EP's other warming ballad, "Just Say Goodbye", which isn't all about farewells and breakups, but focuses on about the hopeful possibility that he'll be back in the girl's life someday to love her all over again. Back on the upbeat dance/pop side, there's "Tonight Is For You" to jam to as the boys talk about getting it on with the girl (I like the drum n' bass shift during the rap break) while "Jealousy" concludes the EP in energetic fashion with its angst-driven confessions that the girl can play all the head games while leaving him out of it. But this six-track listening adventure doesn't have to end in negativity; another few listens of "Pour Some Sugar On Me" will be all you need to sweeten the senses and seal the deal on a positive note:

1. Pour Some Sugar On Me
2. Understand This (Drop All The Business)
3. Close Your Eyes
4. Tonight Is For You
5. Just Say Goodbye
6. Jealousy

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