In These Times, by Dan Zweben Date August 8, 2009 at 12:40 AM
By: Vandal Truong Rating: 10/11
For years, the musical faithful of melodically over-endowed acts like Cheap Trick, The Pretenders, and Jonathan Richman were confused and bewildered by the failure of modern day power pop to carry on the legacy in this post-Beatles era. But the thing is, it did happen. Pop music conquered the airwaves once again, but it was in the form of Disney singers and tweener bands.
Dan Zweben is a singer/songwriter and guitarist who answers the question, "Where is all the good, catchy pop music?" Zweben is both a rocker and a folk artist, playing up this contrast on his latest EP, In These Times. He allows his breezy voice to linger on lyrics that hint darkly at themes of loss, pain, and general human regret. The music behind those arresting words takes even more daring twists: as great as Zweben croons with a sugary harmony arrangement, prepare yourself to be surprised within moments by one of his vicious guitar riffs. In the feel good tune, "Safe With Me," the narrator confesses the long road, although still bumpy, will be better together. When Zweben sings, "We hit a rough patch/ now it's green grass/ rolling in the sun," it’s easy to believe in this hard earned love affair. The song is beautiful, its lyrics about a leap of faith in the tradition of Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You." With catchy hooks and melodies, it also has the feel of George Harrison's "Cloud Nine," a smart pop song that’s completely infectious. The standout track, however, is the heartbreaking, "You Don't Have To Love Me." A lesser singer would perhaps drown in sentimental ooze, but Zweben makes a very mature story about two adults who have realized their love is finally over. Dan Zweben's music has recently been featured on television shows such as, "October Road," "Smallville," "Ghost Whisperer," and MTV's "The Real World." His music video for "You Don't Have To Love Me" (starring Law and Order: SVU actress Michaela McManus) was selected for The Hollywood East Film Festival.