Album Review :
Rocky Loves Emily - American Dream

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Band: Rocky Loves Emily

Title: American Dream

Label: Tooth & Nail

Release Date: November 22, 2010

Review By: Scott L


  1. American Dream
  2. Clueless
  3. See Her Again
  4. Name Of The Game
  5. There’s A Word For You

You’ve gotta love the iPhone. I mean, seriously, what’s not to love. It can do pretty much anything… and much of what it can do is free. The other day on the recommendation of a friend, I downloaded a free app called Labyrinth 3D. It’s one of those walled rat-mazes with the holes in the floor that you try to roll a ball through. I used to love those as a kid. Because it’s not just about finding your way from one end to the other, you have to do so with a very steady hand. Music is a lot like that. It’s a careful balancing act while trying to avoid pitfalls. Too much of any one thing and the resulting shift could be disastrous. Not enough attention paid to what you’re doing or where you’re going and the bottom could drop out before you ever even got things rolling.

Michigan’s Rocky Loves Emily manages to find that delicate balance that allows them to sound familiar enough to be instantly accessible while sounding unique enough to be instantly enjoyable. A pop rock outfit from the suburbs of Detroit, Rocky Loves Emily may be relatively new to the scene, but their drive, vision, and work ethic have already garnered them a rabid fanbase. Not to mention catching the ear of Tooth & Nail Records.

With a sound that easily elbows it’s way in among such industry standards as Every Avenue, Dropout Year, and The Maine, Rocky Loves Emily is a 6-piece touring machine that would be right at home in any pop rock fan’s playlist. It’s a happy blend of quasi-whiny and anthemic vocals over layers of churning guitars, rolling drums, and plinky keys. The bass does a good job of providing a strong foundation but typically stays pretty tame as the rest of the band races around it. Think My Favorite Highway meets The Bigger Lights.

Lyrically, these guys keep things pretty ubiquitous. Which is just a fancy way of saying generic. The themes found in the songs on “American Dream” are for the most part interchangeable with any other similar sounding pop-rock band… Christian or otherwise. Tailored to this generation’s younger crowd, it’s all about life, love, and loss. Albeit in a bubbly, happy, put-a-ribbon-on-it sorta way. Consider the shallowly self-effacing “Name Of The Game” which says, “oh she said what’s your name boy / I thought in my head / oh how could she forget / the sleepless night in Detroit / she showed me everything about her silly plans / and how she hates her friends / and how no one understands / no one understands her but me / she said she doesn’t even know my name / and it’s me I should blame / even know my name / that’s the name of the game”. All that wrapped in a sparkly ball of happiness. So if you’re looking for spiritual content, I’d suggest looking elsewhere. But if you’re just wanting some no-brainer music to play volleyball on the beach to or just something to play in your car, Rocky Loves Emily should do the trick. For a little while anyway. It should be noted that this 5-song EP clocks in at just under fourteen minutes. Lucky for us the songs manage to hold up well on repeated play throughs. They run together a bit, but most folks probably won’t even notice.

The standout track on the EP was the title track “American Dream”. Unlike the band’s first single “Clueless”, which I found largely forgettable, this song really knocked it out of the park and started the EP off on a high note. This song alone should rocket these guys up the charts. The other four songs aren’t exactly slouches… I mean they’re good, just not great. At times I found that I had a little trouble telling one song from another, but there’s a fine line between sticking with a winning formula and lacking creativity. So I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. the songs are uniformly catchy and the EP is enjoyable throughout so there’s really no sense complaining. If it works, it works. And for the most part, it works.

Overall: Named after a Four Letter Lie song? Maybe. A memorial to a punch-drunk boxer who can’t remember that his wife’s name is really Adrian? Maybe, but not likely. Good music that will move your body and raise your spirits? Definitely. Hopefully this EP, short and sweet as it is, is only a taste of things to come. So if pop rock with an upbeat bent is your thing, then Rocky Loves Emily should do you nicely. The EP releases on November 22nd and will be sold exclusively at Hot Topic stores and online.