Choice Picks

The Rembrandts

Aakee, 2005

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Warning: DO NOT buy this if you want the original hits from the Rembrandts. All 13 of these songs (minus the new one) have been re-recorded for this release.

Pretty much every early-90s band worth making a hits collection about has had one made, which means next in line are the marginally successful fringe alternative/pop bands that had one or less hits. The Rembrandts had two, actually: "Just The Way It Is, Baby" and the theme song to my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Friends.

Yes, this is the band that made "I'll Be There For You," and it's the only song most people will recognize here. The re-recorded version (in fact, most of them) stay true to the originals, but that's no reason to pick this up, since the originals were marginally entertaining at best.

Personally, I have yet to find a truly great male pop duo outside of Simon & Garfunkel. Some would point to Air Supply, Savage Garden, or Hall & Oates as shining examples of pop, but they would be wrong. And in re-recording the songs, the two Rembrandts don't do anything to change them, liven them up, make them seem more exciting 15 years after the fact.

The sound of the band was in vogue in the learly 90s -- light jangle pop with acoustic guitars, upbeat rhythms, no song longer than five minutes -- and there were some good examples of this sound on Gin Blossoms and Hootie & the Blowfish records, not to mention a lot of early R.E.M. but nowhere near as emotionally resonant or creative. The Rembrandts don't have their own real style or much to say, so this rarely rises above pleasant background dentist-office music.

"Just The Way It Is, Baby" remains a good song, though, while "I'll Be There For You" is a good nostalgia trip but, in its full length, a bit inane lyrically (the opening line of "So no one told you life was gonna be this way" contrasts with the hastily-written "So Momma told you that there would be days like these," the latter added on once Friends was a hit and the band was asked to record a full-length version).

"Show Me Your Love" has a somewhat interesting sound and "Rollin' Down the Hill" is rather catchy, while "This House Is Not A Home" actually has a bit of bite and a strong Tom Petty influence. Still, even with these influences, Choice Tunes is strictly for fans of the band and of mid-90s acoustic jangle pop.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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