Saul Zonana
"Guinea Pigs"

(20/20 Music 2002)Saul Zonana - Guinea Pigs

The too-cute title and vacant-looking guinea pig sported on Saul Zonana's newly released album give very little insight to the contents within. Perhaps it's a nod to the musical stylings: upbeat, feel-good, in a word, cute. Not unpleasant in any respect, the sound is nonetheless generic, predictably "pop." The lyrics are flat at best, stinging a little of forced meaning, and most of the time falling short of anything worthwhile. An unfortunate example resides in his third track, "Afraid of Dying." "I'm afraid of dying," he sings, "Do you understand?/Is there some kind of plan?/I do the best that I can." Hardly thought-provoking, but the possibility remains that even a song with such an "insightful" theme could have been meant to be lighthearted.

That being said, the album is by no means a bad one. Though typical and barely innovative, the music is easy to listen to and, perhaps most importantly, fun. Perfect for popping in the car's CD player and rolling the windows down, slapping on some sunglasses and singing along.

One track in particular stands out from the crowd . Titled "Bette," it's almost a shame that it rests in the first slot. Comparably clever lyrics and catchy guitar riffs will set most feet tapping. It creates a tone for the whole album, a sort of expectation, but, unfortunately, Zonana never quite follows through, letting down his listeners with songs that wear thin after repeated play.

Still, Guinea Pigs is worth the effort, even if just for sing-along potential. Sophomoric, but solid.

C+

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