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MP3 The Favorites - Bright Nights, Bright Lights

Pure, hook-filled pop rock.

12 MP3 Songs
POP: Pop/Rock, POP: Pop

For The Favorites, the journey to 2008 has been a long one.

The band originally formed in 1999 under a different lineup. They released a debut EP entitled "Something Magical and Good", and quickly sold out of the initial pressing. They shared stages with notable names such as Bowling For Soup and Clem Snide, and gathered a fan base on par with anyone else playing out of Houston at the time.

All things not named The Rolling Stones must come to an end, however, and the band went their separate ways in 2002. Bryan finished his teaching degree and started work as a schoolteacher. Jeremy went into the United States Army and served a tour in Iraq. Joshua started working at a gym, and Jon secured his degree in recording arts and became a studio engineer.

The guys came back together in 2005. Beji George joined the band on drums, and they entered a studio in Houston to record another EP.

The band was at a crossroads when they sat down to begin work on a new album. They could take the easy route and keep making the songs that made them popular with the fans they had, or they could create the music they truly loved.

See, all of the guys in the band are heavily influenced by bands like Fountains of Wayne, The Feeling, the Beach Boys -- gloriously constructed pop music laden with hooks and feel-good moments. Not only that, but The Favorites are a group of guys who love to have fun. They love the Houston Astros, they love The Office, they love geeky things and they love to have fun, but that comedic side had never shown through in their music because they''d always tried to be "serious".

Instead of trying to create a "serious" album that focused on social commentary or lost love, The Favorites made the decision to go the opposite direction and do what they loved best, to create music that was more like they stuff they enjoyed listening to.

The result is Bright Nights, Bright Lights, an album stuffed to the brim with head-bopping pop hooks. It''s an album suited for throwing the top down on your convertible and driving to the beach, the perfect record to toss on the iPod for a party. It''s a unique album in that every single song, from top to bottom, has the ability to get stuck in your head after only one listen. The band spent the better part of 7 months writing the record, making sure that every song was as catchy and memorable as they could make it.

Once the songs were finished, the band entered the studio with producer John Glover (Jaci Velasquez, The Finalist). Glover helped craft the songs the band had written into an album that is cohesive and as tonally bright as the title suggests.

And though Bright Nights, Bright Lights is not a concept album, it is full of characters who make appearances in more than one song. Every song is a story, but listening to the record as a whole allows you to see a bigger picture developing, a portrait of regular people living everyday lives that are at once both mundane and extraordinary.

The first single, "Hope In The Sky", is a perfect example of the songwriting prowess of the band. What appears to be two stories is actually the beginning of a new one. A girl looking for something more than the tedious life she leads moves to Los Angeles in search of the American dream. A man stuck in a boring corporate life where everything is the same from day to day readies himself for yet another business trip. In one of the seminal moments of the record, the two have an accidental meeting at LAX, and another story is born.

Tommy is a guy who works in a dreary corporate environment during the day and hates his job, as evidenced by the events of "08:00AM". But after the work day is done, he lives life to the fullest, and "La Tortuga Terrible" documents his 25th birthday party, a zany night when he makes a decision that will affect him for the rest of his life.

Other songs on Bright Nights, Bright Lights take the standard love song and turn it upside down. "Let Me Come Home" sounds like your typical "I messed up and I apologize, so please let me come back home to you" country fare, but with a Favorites-sized twist. In the Favorites world, the narrator is telling his love that she screwed up and is a complete mess without him, so the best option for both of them is for him to be allowed in the house again, perhaps to sleep on the couch.

Bright Nights, Bright Lights is a record that you''ll be addicted to. There''s no doubt about that. But in creating songs that are seemingly innocent on the surface, the band has also given us a deeper look at ourselves and at our lives. While our lives may seem boring and hapless on the surface, there''s always a glimmer of hope shining through the walls we build. There is happiness, and there is love, and behind it all there is music -- the kind that tells us a little bit more about who we are while making us laugh, cry and dance.

Bright Nights, Brights Lights is available in hardcopy and in digital format on iTunes and Napster on May 31st, 2008.

People who are interested in Fountains of Wayne The Feeling should consider this download.

Tags: pop
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