The Other Side Hilltop Partners
by Derric Miller
Comments: It is physically, spiritually, philosophically, and ethically impossible to find a more radio-ready release than Stereo Fallout's new CD, The Other Side. Stereo Fallout is lead by Steve Brown, a man who made his fame in Trixter but should have been just as huge with his band 40 Ft. Ringo. Writing and co-writing all of the music, playing guitar and also tackling lead vocals, Brown leaves his mark all over this sonic canvas.
And Brown didn't just leave it to himself to pen these hits. He brought in some writers like Xandy Barry (Backstreet Boys, Ashley Parker Angel), worked with Grammy Award Winning producer Skidd Mills, and added Brian Malouf (Lit, Everclear, Bon Jovi) to mix some of the tracks. This all adds up to a self-fulfilling prophecy, but in a good way - this album is going to be a major hit for Stereo Fallout.
The Other Side kicks off with "End of the Girl," a track that begins with the title repeated a couple times, and then slides into something Butch Walker wishes he could have written. Put the needle down; this is your new addiction. Even two-year old boys, on hearing this chorus one time, will run around singing, "This is the end of the girl … this is the end of the world." Brown plays a brief but furious guitar solo as well, letting you know he's still got it. But it's truly his vocals that steal the spotlight. Brown owns a candy-covered and smooth as silk delivery, perfect for this kind of pop rock.
It seems like Brown is just a happy guy, because songs like "Go" are just about as positive as a song can be. "Go" has probably been prescribed by psychologists instead of Oxycontin to shake people from their manic depression. You can't sing lyrics like, "We should go, where the sun shines brighter, to a place where the streets are nicer. Go … where we'll see much clearer, do away with the broken mirrors," without feeling a bit rejuvenated.
"Stop Calling Me" isn't even a guilty pleasure … it's just a pleasure. Again, it seems like Brown is raging against the dying of the light, or at least, assholes. "Stop Calling Me" is about loving yourself (not that way), about being proud of who you are, and believing in yourself regardless of what others around you say or do. This chorus sinks its hooks into you with such ease it'd make Pinhead mewl in envy. Try on these lines, "Stop calling me a dreamer, for the things that I believe. For the clothes that I've been wearing, the songs that set me free. Stop calling me a loser, if it seems I'm falling short of your goals. Why can't you let me be … and stop calling me?" These kinds of songs may be syrupy, but they can also become timeless.
Just on one song, Stereo Fallout walks a fine line between Rock and whatever it's called that the Backstreet Boys unleashed on the world, and the twain actually do meet on "Brand New Me." Now, Bon Jovi has been doing this duo-genre things for years now, writing a song that could be a hit on Country or Rock charts, but with the programmed beats, this is the one skip-worthy track.
When Don Henley wrote "The Boys of Summer," he brought nostalgia to a new high. Stereo Fallout tries their best on "Back in the Day." You'll even get a little "Boys of Summer" vibe from this song.
The heaviest song is probably "Believe," a track with chunky riffs and Brown adding some attitude to his vocal delivery during the verses. Like all of the choruses, this has a huge backing vocal presence and it's all catchy and memorable, especially when they start with the "nah nah nahs."
What's the first hit song? Who knows; how do you even choose? Everything on The Other Side screams hit. If Stereo Fallout doesn't make waves on Billboard, MTV and mainstream radio with this release, then the only conclusion is that music fans hate music.
1. End of the Girl
3. Coming Home
4. Stop Calling Me
5. Stuck in the Big Life
7. Brand New Me
8. Til the End of Time
9. Back in the Day
10. This High
11. Black N Blue
13. Everything I Have to Give
HRH rating: 8.5/10