The Good: A Worthy Single-of-the-year, 2 good tracks, Inexpensive
The Bad: Only 2 tracks, Not necessarily cost effective, Poor use of the medium (SHORT!)
The Basics: "Everything You Want" is a solid single worthy of the hype and many many many listens! The other track is fine.
First off, I was pleased that Vertical Horizon's "Everything You Want" was 2000s Single of the Year on the major charts. It deserved it. (I was similarly pleased that MatchBox Twenty's "Bent" scored higher on most year-end charts than Creed's awful "Higher," but that's irrelevant for this review.)
"Everything You Want," in case you were listening to a non-Top 40, non-pop, non-Adult Contemporary station for all of 2000, is the first hit from Vertical Horizon, a relative newcomer on the national scene. Their roots may have been in Alternative, but "Everything You Want" has a lot that makes it pop-rock. In this case, it's the high end qualitatively. Unfortunately, "Everything You Want" was pretty much the one mainstream hit for the band that got them pretty firmly branded a one-hit wonder.
The song "Everything You Want" begins with a string of high images coupled with bitter cliches and winds up to a pretty powerful chorus that is more than simply catchy; it asks the questions that preoccupy the populace today. That is, the lines explore the nature of desire, how one person does everything for the narrator on a rational level, yet emotionally the narrator is still unreceptive or unaroused. In our society today, it's a poignant coupling: so many of us see problems, yet we are disillusioned or desensitized to them. More than that, we're desensitized to people. "Everything You Want" captures perfectly how relationships today fail as a simple collection of matching lists of turn-ons and pet peeves.
Unsurprisingly, the single twists upon the last refrain when the generic narrator takes the first person form and becomes far more relevant. It goes from being the societal question to the scorching pain of a burned lover. And it works.
The single didn't deserve to be Single of the Year simply because it was better than all of the other crap out there, which it was, but because it was a truly great song. The lyrics are sharp, the vocals are competent and the music is nowhere near as simplistic as most music out today. And the defeatist attitude of the lyrics? Perfect! That it's not "alternative" is nitpicky and irrelevant. The label doesn't matter as much as the inherent quality of the piece.
The other track on the c.d. single is "The Man Who Would Be Santa." It's a fine track, done live on the single with all sorts of annoying yells and hoots and catcalls. I, personally, find it pretentious that the band would release its debut single with such an obnoxiously over-enthusiastic assertion of being "live." But the single isn't bad. It's catchy, it has a message.
The packaging of the single is simple, with only two tracks it's slightly disappointing, especially considering how good the video for "Everything You Want" is. I was hoping it would appear on the single. Despite how cheap the single is (most anywhere it can still be found, it is priced at $1.99), it is not necessarily cost effective: the two singles released since have both been of a high caliber. So much so, I'm still entertaining the idea of buying the album. For those who did not enjoy "You're a God" and "Gray Sky Morning," the single "Everything You Want" is a solid investment and the perfect solution for those people stuck in places that have gone back to playing standard pop garbage and left the vertical horizon.
For other c.d. singles, please check out my reviews of:
Don't Look Back In Anger - Oasis
New York City Boy - Pet Shop Boys
Right Beside You - Sophie B. Hawkins
For other music reviews, please consult my index page!
© 2010, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.