It’s the beginning of March. The scent of bleach and Pine-Sol is in the air. Spring cleaning season has arrived, along with new tunes to make battling the dust bunnies slightly more bearable. Mike Doughty’s sophomore album (a follow-up to his 2005 release Haughty Melodic) Golden Delicious is the perfect music to clean to: The melodies are catchy and upbeat and the lyrics are perfectly ignorable.
The drone of the vacuum cleaner won’t drown out anything particularly notable. For someone who studied poetry at the New School in New York, Doughty writes lyrics sorely lacking in meaningful content. In fact, most of the choruses consist of the repetition of single syllables. It’s as though he couldn’t think of any words to fit the melody, so he filled in the gaps with “just-for-now” noises, including a bit that’s reminiscent of “The Little Drummer Boy:” “Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum,” anyone?
One of the more infectious songs on the album, “Put It Down” has a feel-good melody and an undeniably catchy chorus consisting of the lyrics, “Put it down / let it go / drop it in the mail / drop it in the sauce / bottle up the sauce” repeated over and over alongside a line or two of “na-na-na’s.”
Not exactly Shakespeare, but it’ll make you dance with your broom.
One of the most laughable tracks on the album, “More Bacon Than the Pan Can Handle” is almost too much to handle. Nonsensical lyrics like “emperors and salamanders” are accompanied by an obnoxious chorus of “more bacon than the pan can handle” sung in a bad imitation of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes from TLC. Yes, those cotton balls will work as earplugs.
The single “27 Jennifers” is also lacking in lyrical content -“I went to school with 27 Jennifers”- but does its job of getting stuck in one’s head. It is a musical earwig.
Overall, in an age of emerging singer-songwriters, Mike Doughty does little to make his work stand out. While most of his upbeat melodies are likely to get you bobbing, you won’t be using your mop as a microphone. Instead, you’ll be waiting for a hook that never comes; the build up simply goes flat. All of the songs seem to run together.
Doughty’s music has the feel of an outdoor venue, which makes sense since he’s been a opening act for Dave Matthews Band, and he must be given credit for throwing a GRE word (“abscond”) into “I Got The Drop On You.” However, toward the end the album drags on and on… and on. Fingers will abandon scrubbing the crevice behind the refrigerator and reach for the skip button. Mike Doughty’s Golden Delicious is no sour apple, but it isn’t quite sweet, either.