It’s a pronoun problem.
Black Taxi is busy blowin’ up Brooklyn’s venues and creeping into other areas of life. Some songs have been featured on television shows on NBC and ABC. The EP version of “Pretty Mama” was featured in the trailer for Youth in Revolt with Michael Cera. And if that’s something you’d be interested in, then We Don’t Know Any Better is right up your alley.
For this 13-track record leaves you wondering whether it’s we, you, or I who is clueless as to what’s better. Produced by Aaron Nevezle, who worked with The Black Keys (and it’s painfully obvious), there’s enough hipster pop to go around. Meaning for fans of Bloc Party, The Strokes, Modest Mouse, or any other band pushed on alternative radio- here you go. Black Taxi isn’t original by even an ounce.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it’s seriously not a criticism of taste. It’s true no band is original but there has to be some spark of specialty and it lacks here. All of the previously mentioned bands have some pretty good substance. I don’t mind it; after all, I still listen to FM radio.
However We Don’t Know Any Better is brick by brick a pop record in alternative format. For example “Tightrope” could be on radio Top 5 lists tomorrow. Yet the next song, “We Don’t Know Any Better,” is completely different with an almost hip-hop edge that is extremely repetitive. It’s like Black Taxi set off on a mission to cop Head Automatica but just go down in smoke.
Essentially every song after is more of the same. The lyrics are uninspiring including hits like “Tell Me What You Need” as a dumb love song about stupid guys, or “Hope I Never Know”’s subject matter of what it would be like if we all had different colored blood and wouldn’t die. The acoustic-of-sorts songs don’t work either. The oh-so essential keyboards remain single noted. My notes of this record repeatedly contain the following word: boring, but with different adverbs (ridiculously, totally, absolutely). That being said “Vultures,” “Do What You Gotta Do” and “We’ll Take Another” aren’t clunkers and deserve another listen.
Now about a decade ago, 13-song albums were how we got our money’s worth but now it’s just too long. My attention span lasts as long as a rat’s. Let alone when We Don’t Know Any Better is this prolonged, it doesn’t give one song a chance to shine.
It leaves you wondering if that’s the point, which is why it’s just too damn easy to say They Don’t Know Any Better. That, my friends, is up to you.