Sloan took a completely different approach from the production style of its previous albums this time around, working together on tracks for more than a year rather than coming together for three days of studio time with a “you play this how I wrote it” attitude. Thus, Pretty Together should have been the band’s best album to date. It is certainly its most cohesive, sounding like the first album coming from an actual band, in striking contrast to Between the Bridges, which sounded more like four compiled EPs than anything else. The result here is more derivative than spectacular, however, with Sloan wearing its influences on its collective sleeve as much as ever.
Throw in some arena rockers and a few ballads and there you have it — it’s the standard formula that we’ve all heard before, but with less heart. “If It Feels Good Do It” is, most obviously, “Money City Maniacs” revisited. The understanding of “The Life of a Working Girl” seems a bit forced and insincere; Chris Murphy seems more comfortable with the apathetic tone taken by “The Other Man,” which is a logical progression from the character he developed in “Chester the Molester” from Navy Blues.
But to get past all that, and then to hear stunners such as those written by Jay Ferguson or Patrick Pentland, leaves the listener pulled from side to side, not really knowing what to think. On one side, there is the Paul Stanley-biting “Pick it Up and Dial It,” which is simply uncomfortable, but then there are songs such as the genuine “Dreaming of You” and “It’s In Your Eyes.”
More often than not, though, Pretty Together feels like the band members have stopped writing songs that actually say something on this album. There are a few saving graces, but, in the end, fans will be left feeling unfulfilled and newcomers will be wondering what all the fuss is about.
E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.