Train has been around for almost ten years, constantly releasing great music with an established sound and style. Their latest entry is called Drive By, an upbeat song that seems to experiment slightly with the formula we’ve come to expect. Simple guitar melodies and quirky lyrics are what skyrocketed Train to the top of the Adult Contemporary charts, and even the top 40 too! However, this song seems to try a bit harder to aim for Billboard, with mixed results.
For what the song gets right, it also does wrong, resulting in a song that leaves you with your head tilted, thinking to yourself “I liked it?” The elements that made Hey Soul Sister a massive hit have carried over to this song as well. Drive By features a pleasant acoustic guitar melody which is accented by an equally charming ukele. Its extremely easy on the ears, but the beat seems slightly out of place. In the verses, the thumping drums sound like they almost want to become upbeat enough to dance to….almost.
During the chorus, they subside just enough to really let Monahan’s vocals shine. Pat is clearly a capable vocalist, and delivers the quirky and catchy chorus with just enough charm that it almost makes up for the heavily confused and lazily written lyrics. However, the verses are just….just weird. Delivered in a stacatto half-sung/half-rapped manner, it almost seems like Pat was taking particular aim at the current trend of pop music. Sadly, it doesn’t work for a band like Train, and in fact, it almost comes off as desperate.
The lyrics themselves are a confused mash up of pop culture references, clever wordplay, a love story, complete randomness, and product placement (seriously…you want a Hefty bag for your love?) that seriously undercuts the song’s overall message.But that’s kind of Train’s appeal, isn’t it? After a song like Hey Soul Sister, you can’t think for a second that this group is taking themselves too seriously. Drive By is a fun, catchy, quirky, upbeat summer jam…and it really isn’t supposed to be anything else. However, the final result is a song that’s totally “just alright.”