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CD Reviews:  Train: My Private Nation

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The third release from San Francisco-based Train, My Private Nation, is not only an affirmation that the band has come of age; it simply stands on its own as a damn good pop/rock effort. If anyone has mastered the art of radio-friendly melodic pop, it’s Train singer and songwriter Pat Monahan. And while maybe none of these tracks suggest the blockbuster potential of their big single of two years ago, “Drops of Jupiter,” it’s a better overall recording. 

“Calling All Angels” is the first single, and sure enough the band tried to recreate the “Jupiter” magic with this one. Piano-based with a chorus that could be heard from here to China, it still somehow misses the mark of being the anthem the band intended it to be. “All American Girl” has the lyrical wit and message of a Counting Crows song. “When I Look to the Sky” is another potential single with a recycled formula but strong melody. The title track is extremely catchy and up-tempo, though it sounds a bit dated, and “Get to Me” shows that the band has also modeled themselves after Matchbox Twenty, another mainstream band most critics love to despise (but not this one). “Following Rita” is vintage Train, a sugary blend of piano, crunching guitars and vocal harmonies. “Lincoln Avenue” is a modern day Beatles-meets-ELO song and a breakup tune everyone at some point can relate to. The final track, “I’m About to Come Alive,” is acoustic-based and for my money is the best cut of the lot. 

Producer Brendan O’Brien has worked with many name artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Aerosmith, Paul Westerberg and Stone Temple Pilots. This is his second effort with Train, and he manages to bring out and polish the magic within them. Train tells stories of life and love, and coupled with Monahan’s signature tenor and the rest of the bands members' seasoned musicianship, there’s a timeless quality about My Private Nation.

~Mike Farley 

Other Train reviews:
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