Well, we can want for nothing now, for all of our dreams have come true! James Iha, one of the founding members of The Smashing Pumpkins, is now singing back-up for a pop group headed by Taylor Hanson of the legendary boy band Hanson. We can breathe a little easier.
Yes, the aforementioned musicians have joined forces with Fountain of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger and Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos to create a supergroup by the name of Tinted Windows. Schlesinger and Iha had worked together in the past (Iha played on Fountain of Wayne’s Welcome Interstate Managers), so this particular partnership isn’t so strange. Toss in the drummer from Cheap Trick and things are starting to sound good. But who will front the band? Naturally, the youngster responsible for “MMMBop” is the only option.
An idea so crazy, it just might work. But I believe Arthur Kirkland said it best when he said, “At this point, I would just like to say that what this committee is doing in theory is highly commendable. However, in practice, it sucks.” Okay, that may be going too far. There is a lot of music out there far worse than this, but there is even more music that is much, much better. Let’s hope this self-titled release marks the beginning and the end of the group, Tinted Windows.
Schlesinger, Iha, and Carlos are good musicians in their own right, and may play together for the rest of their lives if they wish. Pop music can be great! Unfortunately, lead singer Hanson does not work at all. He still sounds like his 14-year-old self, if he were singing at the semi-finals for American Idol. Singing “A-whoa-whoa” and “C’mon-a-c’mon” through the first two songs (“Kind of a Girl” and “Messing with My Head”), he echoes the thoughts of the listener listening to the album: “Whoa, whoa, stop! C’mon, you gotta be kidding me.”
“A-ooh-ooh, a-ooh-ooh” dominate songs like “Can’t Get a Read on You”, as the album delves into Make Believe-Weezer territory. Yes, into those dreaded badlands. The blame cannot be placed on Hanson alone, however. He’s only credited for writing the two songs, “Nothing to Me” and “Take Me Back”. Schlesinger writes most of this record, and is chiefly responsible. It’s as though he took “Stacy’s Mom” and spread it out over 35 minutes. Hanson is no Marc Bolan as he tries to cha-cha his way through “Cha Cha”.
Iha even wrote two songs. Using Hanson as his conduit in “Back with You”, he confessed “Time won’t heal me/I’m trying to make due/Time won’t heal me/And it won’t be too soon/To get back/Back with you.” Now, the Pumpkins are not the Pumpkins without Iha. When we think of what that band was and what they meant to us, we will always see him in that line-up, backing Billy Corgan. Here, unfortunately, I prefer to not think of him at all.
If this band is possible, will we see a group consisting of Alex Van Halen, Joe Jonas, Albert Hammond, Jr., and Krist Novoselic at the end of this upcoming decade? Heads would explode; bells would ring out Earth’s end.
The Soundtrack of Our Lives and Sloan are examples of two bands that have put out some scattershot records that featured some solid pop rock. Tinted Windows cannot even claim that much. The songs aren’t meant to be taken seriously, and we get the joke, gang. But no one’s laughing.