So far, in 2003, many high profile rock artists put out disappointing albums. While new releases are on the horizon, nothing I’ve heard thus far has really impressed me. I was starting to think that either my expectations are too high or the artists are lessening the quality of their music.
After a three year wait, Fuel makes a return to the Modern Rock scene. However, the album “Natural Selection” is all over the map in terms of genre. The band tries too hard to cover five different styles, Metal, Pop, Grunge, Blues, and Emo. This album is not consistent enough to be liked by any one particular audience.
To Fuel’s credit, “Natural Selection,” is one of the few albums of the year that features superior guitar solos. In the song “Luck,” lead guitarist Carl Bell plays two very well written guitar solos. Fans of Fuel’s heavier album tracks will enjoy “Luck,” “Million Miles” and “Down Inside of You,” which are similar to the hard rock songs “Down” or “Last Time” off Fuel’s previous album, “Something Like Human.”
The first track on the album, “Quarter,” is analogous to a Korn song, but “Quarter” has an awkwardly placed piano riff and bad lyrics. “Quarter” seems as if the band was struggling to get through it, and if all the songs were similar, Natural Selection would have gotten one star.
Fuel attempts to become a pop-rock band with the song “Most of All.” The best way to describe this song is comparing it to pop chart-topper “Stacy’s Mom” by newcomers Fountains of Wayne. The song contains simple power chords, repeated endless, emotional lyrics, and a catchy tune. “Most of All” seems fit to be the band’s next single and it will probably be popular, but the song doesn’t blend well with the rest of the album.
Making the CD even more awkward is the following song, “Getting Thru.” Like “Quarter,” the band goes back to a loud rock style. This song is an example of how the album has no flow or transition. “Natural Selection” is more like a mix tape than an album.
Fans of their previous albums may not enjoy the new direction the band has taken, so proceed with caution. Only two songs on “Natural Selection,” “Falls on Me,” and “Running Away” are similar to songs on their previous releases. The diversity to several different genres will make the fans feel alienated, unfulfilled, and disappointed.
This is comparable to Good Charlotte’s 2002 release, “The Young and the Hopeless.” Good Charlotte released four singles that were four different genres, and made new fans in each of those genres, while their original fans considered them a bunch of sellouts; I feel Fuel is trying to do the same.
Music fan and sophomore mass communication major Chris Laurenzo commented on the new release. “Usually, diversity isn’t bad thing, but not in this case,” he said. “Natural Selection’s” extreme diversity destroys the album. There are four good songs that you probably won’t hear on the radio, but that’s not worth the price of the album. Three stars out of five.
Fans of Fuel can check them out live when they appear with Smile Empty Soul Oct. 23 at the Avalon Ballroom in Boston, Mass.