A sonic car wreck

<!– Link: LFO (Lyte Funky Ones)

When I say I have an open mind, I really want to back that up. I really want to demonstrate that, yes, I’m really not an elitist.

That means I can’t categorically dis such obvious commercial fair as Mousketeer pop — the Britney Spears and Christina Aguileras and Backstreet Boys and N’Syncs of the world (or rather Orlando.) Not without really giving these gangbuster moneymakers an even shake.

But where to start? How to ease myself into such terrifyingly alien territory that my comfort zone can’t fathom?

I can listen to the Kronos Quartet and John Zorn make instruments do things they were never designed to do, but can I really stomach five pretty boys — or girls — melismatically waxing shallow about (ugh) love? In the interest of fairness, it is my duty.

So I go where my hormones take me — the Lyte Funky Ones, a.k.a. LFO. Out of all the boy bands out there, this trio seems to have the most queer appeal. (What’s with the dreads on that one Backstreet Boy?)

And yet, it’s probably one of the most poorly executed acts musically. Quick impressions at an in-store listening booth dictated LFO was the sonic equivalent of a car wreck happening in slow motion. Further detailed listening indicates the car wreck involves an 18-wheeler and a early 80s economy car.

These white boys can’t rap. One of them can’t sing, and he’s given the most vocal time on the album. And the recycled bits — Yvonne Elliman’s “Can’t Have You” and the Human League’s “Human” — would have probably worked better as straight covers.

And don’t be surprised if many of these tunes sound too familiar. The minor hit “Summer Girls” uses the chord arrangement of Extreme’s one-hit wonder “More Than Words” verbatim. “Cross My Heart”? It was probably on some NKOTB album somewhere, sometime.

And yet. And yet. And yet.

I do have a weakness for this kind of slick pop. Musically, it’s not that bad. Lyrically, it’s pure dreck. If only some clever songwriter could only marry this smarmy, urban pop with Michael Stipe-an poetry, we could have, oh I don’t know — Beck!

And my faith keeps going on the closet belief that slick pop and nonsensical lyrics can really save this crap from being deemed “unartistic.”

Hope springs so eternal.