Paper Arrows – Things We Would Rather Lose

Paper Arrows - Things We Would Rather Lose

Paper Arrows - Things We Would Rather Lose

On Myspace, you’ve probably seen the music category called “melodramatic pop song,” and much of Paper Arrows’ new album fits the bill. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with someone pouring feelings into a song — that’s often what we want, right? The ultimate assessment, though, will weigh how much is real and how much is contrived, and that’s not always easy to discern.

Things We Would Rather Lose has a grand feel to it, meaning that it seems to have aspirations beyond independent releases. It has AOR stamped on its sound. Recognizably mainstream bands like Nickelback and the band that did the song “Freshman” have given a few cues to Paper Arrows; clearly a lot of time and effort went into crafting and recording these songs. There’s a lyrcical focus here: losing love. It’s a staple of music, though, so you can’t be too hard on the musicians pushing it. However, some of the imagery and wordsmithing do come off a little cliched. “Turning the page on the last piece of love that she gave me” mixes metaphors, and lines like “I cried and cried / Until I couldn’t cry no more” don’t do much for those seeking poetry.

There’s a song called “Crystal” where the music really takes off. It’s pleasantly moody in the verses, anthemic in the choruses. It’s not exactly Shakespearean in the lyrics (“Crystal dreams they tend to break / Crystal hearts they can’t be shaped”) but it’s a good song. “How the Heart Moves On” might be a good indicator of why this album was written — getting over a failed love — and it’s also got a decent chorus. The ballad “Almost Gone” might shoot for the authentic expression of, say, Mark Kozelek or Mark Eitzel, but these guys don’t seem to put any effort into conveying the dread and sadness of their material.