Hey There, Plain White T’s
Tae Andrews | Sunday, September 30, 2007
By now, if you haven’t heard “Hey There Delilah” you either: a) hate listening to the radio, b) live under a rock or c) are deaf. “Delilah’s” melancholy, twanging guitar chords underneath lead singer Tom Higgenson’s lyrics made it the runaway song of the summer, strumming away on the radio air waves for the better parts of June, July and August. At the same time lovelorn and desperate, Higgenson’s lyrics portray a picture of a young man persistently trying to convince the titular girl of his dreams that he will make it playing his guitar and acknowledging the probable impossibility of their making it together. It’s a song dedicated to overcoming the hardships of that most dreaded of all romantic connections, the long distance relationship. Whatever its magic may be, “Hey There Delilah” struck on a chord on the heart strings of America: lead singer Tom Higgenson’s soft, sad lyrics propelled the smash track to the #1 spot on the Billboard Top 100 charts on July 28 this past summer.Interestingly enough, this story is already old news: the CD “All That We Needed” came out two years ago, in 2005. Studio executives at Fearless Records decided to re-release “Hey There Delilah” on a whim and ended up landing themselves a #1 Billboard Top 100 hit for rolling the dice. Interestingly enough, unlike the acoustic “Hey There Delilah,” all of the other songs off “All That We Needed” have a little bit more spirit to them, although by no means would anyone characterize their music as ‘hard rock.’ The band carries a pleasant, feel-good rock vibe which is actually much different than their hit smash “Hey There Delilah.” Singing songs about typical teenage troubles, romantic highs and lows and the bright moments and blues of adolescence, the boys in the band from Villa Park, Illinois, wear their hearts on their simple sleeves. With their clear vocals and resonating harmonies, the Plain White T’s carry the sort of stripped-down, pure sound that acts as a soundtrack for the young adult life. Lead singer Tom Higgenson, guitarists Dave Tirio and Tim Lopez, bassist Mike Retondo, drummer De’Mar Hamilton have crafted great songs about unrequited love, small towns, big dreams and people trying to make it in the wide world of music.
“All That We Needed”The CD starts off strong with the album’s namesake song, a piece about a guy trying to keep his girlfriend after a presumed heated argument. “Revenge” “Revenge” is a slightly darker jam featuring a militant, pounding drumbeat, scorned lyrics and a musical quest for vengeance, in addition to a guitar solo sequence near the midway point that’s just begging for some air-guitar imitation”Take Me Away”A sad if spirited song about unrequited affection, “Take Me Away is one of the best tracks on the album. Despite lyrics such as “Take me away / I’m gonna hurt somebody / take me away / right now,” it’s hard to imagine these guys actually hurting anyone due to their sweet crooning harmonies. “My Only One””My Only One” features jarring, back-and-forth guitar grinding interspersed with schizophrenic and sweet but sad interludes, lamenting lost love. “Breakdown”With its cascading guitar chords, “Breakdown” is a hard-driving song about a young man packing up his things and putting his town in his rear view mirror for good. Sample lyrics: “I’m gonna drive and never ever slow down / I’m gonna drive until I break down.””What More Do You Want”This song rocks out with awesome guitar riffs and a spirited fever for cowbell. Enough said. “Sing My Best”This is a great song about the thrill of performing and the band’s desire to tear up the stage and put on a show for the ages. “Faster”With lyrics such as “This is what it looks like / this is what it feels like / and this is your heart beating faster, “Faster” actually starts off somewhat slow, then speeds up into a charged, conflicted song about an ex-boyfriend desperately trying to win back his woman. With their Number One single, a nationwide tour kicking off in October, and a rapidly-blossoming fan base (not to mention a quick campus concert at our very own Legends tonight), it’s clear that the Plain White T’s have made it. Maybe that will make Delilah reconsider things.