Tinted Windows’ “Self-Titled Debut”

Released: April 21, 2009  (S-Curve Records)
Format: Pop Rock

It was the summer of 1986. I was heading into my senior year and all I wanted to do was hang out with my friends and play basketball. I was driving a beat-up, primer red 1967 Volkswagon Bug. I had a cassette deck and two lame-ass speakers in the back window. At any given time, you could have spotted me & Chuck cruising along Maple Avenue with “Danger Zone” cranked up or The Outfield’s “Play Deep” or Bryan Adams. It was a great summer that year and I didn’t have a care in the world.

Flash ahead some 23 years later. I’ve got 2 kids, a mortgage, lots of worries & concerns. But I still love great pop music and recently a “supergroup” released an album that takes me back to those days of my youth; when music was more about falling in love and heartbreak than it was about getting laid and getting high. “Tinted Windows” is a foursome that includes perhaps the oddest mix of artists ever put together for a single album. But when you throw this disk in your CD player, it’s pretty obvious that I’m not the only one missing the golden age of the 80’s.

Lead singer Taylor Hanson is from the pop boys band Hanson (remmmember “MmmmmBop”?). Guitarist James Iha is from the band “Smashing Pumpkins”. Bassist Adam Schlesinger is from one of my  favorite bands, “Fountains Of Wayne”. And drummer Bun E. Carlos is from 70’s rock band “Cheap Trick”. Wonder how a band like this comes together? Well…me too. So I looked into it. Apparently Taylor & Adam are friends since the mid-90’s and had been tossing around the idea of making some music that would pay homage to New Age music of the late 70’s/early 80’s. In their minds, they were thinking of bands such as The Knack & Cheap Trick. Well…of course once they got together and wrote some songs, they needed a guitarist and a drummer. Enter Iha, who had toured with Fountains of Wayne while with Smashing Pumpkins. So then all they needed was a drummer. They figured who better to emulate the great bands of that era than one of them? So they sent a demo to Carlos and he really liked what they were doing and joined in. Thus, “Tinted Windows” was born.

It’s all a great story, but it wouldn’t be complete without the music. And what a fun album this is! It’s power pop at its best and really does sound a lot like Cheap Trick/The Outfield/Rick Springfield/The Knack/Bryan Adams or almost any other band of that era. It’s not deep. It’s about having fun and driving with the windows down and enjoying the summer sun. Just like I did back in the summer of 1986. So if you are craving to let loose a little and revisit your past, there are worst things you can do than dropping a 10 spot and picking up this new CD. Great music and great fun. And be ready for a blast from the past! And for my money, there hasn’t been a better 1-2 combo of pop music than track 5 & 6 (Back With You & Without Love) since The Outfields’ “Say It Isn’t So” & “Your Love”.

Rating: B+

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