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Monday, August 21st
The Critics Corner: Albums
All Time Low
Sugar Ray- Music For Cougars
Group stays the course after a 6 year hiatus on new CD
Leave This Town
Name: "Music For Cougars"
Label: Pulse Recordings
Release Date: July 21, 2009
My rating: 4.5 out of 5


Review written by: Ann Frohoff
Due to release today – July 21st is Sugar Ray’s latest studio album. Boy how time flies when you’re having fun, or is it just because the older we get it just goes by faster?  A decade has gone by in a blink of an eye.  I can recall when Sugar Ray came on scene in the late 90’s, and like many bands of that era (if you want to call it that), Sugar Ray has jumped on the band wagon with a record release which is mixed with a few potential catchy hits, and in my opinion a few misses as well.

Sugar Ray hasn’t released anything new since 2003’s failed pop attempt with “In the Pursuit of Leisure” – however Mark McGrath’s vocals in their newest compilation, “Music for Cougars”, their 6th studio album; puts me in a time warp, taking me back to that not too long ago summer time fun and has me hitting re-play, on some tracks, more than once.

The title itself “Music for Cougars” had me laughing and wondering at the same time.  After listening to each song, the lyrics surprised me. This is a whimsical at times; more mature album…thus “Cougars” and zeroing to his late-90’s fan base is what popped in my mind.  The first song on the album, “Girls Were Made to Love” is a catchy mix of Jamaican rhythms and 50’s flare – quite unique. Then there’s the single “Boardwalk”, a ballad-ish bubblegum pop driven tune.  The 3rd track, “She Got the (Woo-Hoo)” is an upbeat guitar-rift filled ode (I want to know exactly what ‘Woo-Hoo’ is referenced to). The 4th through 8th track is where I noticed the “age-factor” and positivity in a time where we need it most; whether it’s through their own life experience or through some other form of inspiration – the messages are clear: “Love is the Answer” has a positive spin with “you have to get to trust in the world”; “Rainbow” with “…the sun will burn the clouds away…”.  The 6th track, “Closer” is a bit intimate in tone, but carries a poppy, electronic vibe; for anyone who has been in a long-term relationship (marriage or otherwise), it will strike a chord. It’s not so easy to walk away when so much time has been spent, one may love the other more, or one may love the relationship but the passion has been lost, this gives the encouragement not to give up: “…we’ve been building a bridge for far too long, it’s been 15 years of so long, but you’re still here, by my side…”

“When We Were Young”, the 7th song is a disco bass, pop-rock melody that will have the “Cougars” reminiscing their more youthful days and “Going Nowhere”, well, this one is for those of us who are churning in our own perceived mundane life, at least you’ll know someone else is feeling it too.

Overall, the whole album is a mixed bag of tricks, with “Love 101”, “Last Days” (which is a great break up song) and the Donovan Frankenreiter duet (if you want to call it that) “Dance Like No One’s Watching”, with its catchy beach life inspired edge; it’s a well rounded endeavor from a bunch of guys who like to make music and didn’t have any expectations about their 6th effort, other than doing what they love.
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