Pete Yorn

Day I Forgot

(Columbia; 2003)

By Scott Reid | 20 April 2003

This review isn’t a malicious swipe at an easy target, nor is it a humourous attack at just some random MOR radio rock album that I just happened to feel like reviewing. What you’re reading is genuine disappointment from a person who thoroughly enjoyed Yorn’s debut disc, Musicforthemorningafter, and who is more than a little surprised to discover that Yorn’s new batch of songs is completely devoid of personality. Finding its way into my top 20 of 2001 list, his debut album was a consistent and hook-filled testament to FM rock done right. Though not necessarily the most challenging or earth shattering album of the year, it remains an entertaining and easy listen for those not going into it expecting much else.

See, somewhere down the line, Yorn got grouped in with the Dashboard/Barsuck/TRL party line of sensitive heroes with their hearts on their bloody, tear-stained sleeves. To be sure, Musicforthemorningafter is a whiny, break-up album if there ever was one; the big difference being that Yorn managed to focus on the melody instead of finding different ways to “sing it like you really mean it.” Screaming Infidelities, this isn’t. “Just Another,” “Sense,” “On Your Side,” “Simonize,” and “Life on a Chain” had melodies as infectious as the the urge to punch Chris Carraba in his meal ticket of a face. But then he got all sensitive on our asses and, for some reason, wrote a song about a burrito.

The good times, as they say, can’t last forever. And while the first five songs on Day I Forgot, his second album, might do their best to convince you otherwise, the only thing Yorn is sound-tracking these days is his own decent into “good looking guys that whine about girls never wanting them and then touring so thousands of girls can cry and offer themselves to him” territory. I mean, really, how does the guy even manage to crawl out of bed in the morning? Someone give this man a hug. While you’re at it, make fun of him for writing “Burrito” and make him cry. Shouldn’t be too hard.

The increasingly Vedderesque vocals (“Hey guys, what if I sing like this? Has anyone else done this yet?”) are clear from first single “Come Back Home,” though at least it has a decent melody to fall back on. By the time album gets to “Long Way Down,” you can sense something has gone wrong. Slowly, the album just falls apart into absolute mediocrity. “When You See the Light” bounces along without driving home its decent melody. Album highlight “Turn of the Century” (a song from way back re-recorded for the album, though the original demo was much more affecting than this version) promises better things, only to be followed by one of the absolute worst songs I’ve heard in years: "Burrito." It wouldn’t be as annoyingly bad if it weren’t for the lyrics or the way Yorn pronounces “Bur-EE-TOE” or says that his “can last you forever.” If it’s a sexual metaphor, it’s on par with second grade wang jokes. If it’s not, well, it’s still pretty stupid.

“Man in Uniform” is just a pointless re-write of any number of songs from Musicforthemorningafter and the forgotten Lifehouse single “All At Once” sounds like someone making fun of Yorn and doing a pretty funny job of it. Strip away everything good about the songs from Musicforthemorningafter, throw in all the criticism and assumptions about the album and it’s all you’re left with. Which is pretty much the problem with the second half of this album: Yorn really hasn’t had much else going for him except for his knack of writing good FM rock hooks, and the entire second half of this record, save “Turn of the Century,” is sorely lacking them. When you take that away, all you’re left with is the same level of whining drivel that most already assume is his only appeal. The man has talent, but he’s going to have to do a lot better than this to win over an audience outside of LittleMissDashboardLOVER-44. Come on Pete, you can set the bar a little higher for yourself than that, can’t you?