Find yourself another heart that needs a rest

Behold the power of the guest vocalist.

As I was listening to Breach by The Wallflowers today, I kept thinking I would write about how it's a textbook example of a sophomore slump. (O.k., so technically Breach is their third album, but since their first album sold, like, four copies all the pressure was on for the third one). As I'm getting all my good sentences put together in my head the song "Murder 101" comes on. I'm sort of half listening when it occurs to me that I recognize the background vocals. They're by Elvis freakin' Costello! Man, that guy pops up everywhere on my iPod.

"How did I not know this?," I thought. Then, I thought harder. I do sort of remember buying this CD only after I read somewhere that Elvis sang backing vocals on a song. God, I'm such a sucker.

Oh, but that's not the end of it. I decided to shake up the order a little and listen to The Wallflowers' 1996 breakthrough album Bringing Down the Horse, too. It was only a couple days off anyway. The whole reason I bought this album was because Adam Duritz of Counting Crows sang backing vocals on "6th Avenue Heartache" and any friend of Adam's is a friend of mine. Even if they are Bob Dylan's kid.

I'll still stick up for Bringing Down the Horse. It's a nice album with songs about anger, sorrow and regret - all my favorite themes. There are fun rockers and sweet ballads and everything fits together nicely. I have some nice memories of listening to the album in college, which doesn't hurt either.

Now Breach is another story. The whole album is so forgettable that I could barely recall that whole Elvis Costello vocals thing. It's just flat. You can just feel the band trying too hard and it makes me sad (but not in a good way). So what have we learned about the power of the guest vocalist? I guess that it will make me buy an album. Well, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice is not just a river in Egypt.

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