Saving Abel – Miss America (2010, Virgin Records)
1. “Tap Out” … 4:07
2. “Stupid Girl (Only in Hollywood)” … 4:19
3. “Contagious” … 3:37
4. “The Sex Is Good” … 3:31
5. “Bloody Sunday” … 3:47
6. “I’m Still Alive” … 3:48
7. “Mississippi Moonshine” … 3:13
8. “Angel Without Wings” … 4:16
9. “Miss America” … 3:40
10. “I Need You” … 3:47
11. “Hell of a Ride” … 3:44
Jared Weeks – Lead Vocals
Jason Null – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Scott Bartlett – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Eric Taylor – Bass, Backing Vocals
Blake Dixon – Drums
Producer: Skidd Mills, Marti Frederiksen
Even if you are only vaguely aware of the current hard rock scene, it’s hard not to know who Saving Abel is. Their 2008 self-titled debut featured that ‘girl-in-tight-denim-with-a-tramp-stamp’ album cover which helped to get them noticed (which I know caused me to physically pick up the album and look). It was hits “18 Days”, “Drowning (Face Down)” and the platinum-selling single “Addicted” (which my ex-girlfriend had as her ringtone) that pushed that album to 500,000 copies sold.
While I have never listened to that self-titled debut in full, I did catch the band in concert once (as openers on a bill that included Buckcherry, Avenged Sevenfold and Papa Roach) and Miss America seems like more of the same: melodic post-grunge with a touch of southern rock. It’s all easily digestible for mainstream rock radio, not necessarily bad but not necessarily noteworthy either. It’s All-American Nightmare-era Hinder but without the hooks, aggression or attitude. While “Addicted” ending up wearing out its welcome (at least to my ears) it was at least catchy for a good while and I don’t hear anything on Miss America that grabs you like that song did.
I do happen to like “Tap Out”, seems like it would be a good choice to open a live show. It’s actually the intro to the song that holds the most promise though, as if it was a sign of something heavier coming but no such luck. “Contagious” rocks a tad bit harder and “The Sex Is Good” is a cool acoustic-based rocker that at least thematically continues on with the tradition of “Addicted” (Nickelback would be proud!). “I’m Still Alive” is the type of up-lifting anthem that is ready-made for radio. “I Need You” is another feel-good anthem, the better of the two I have mentioned and probably my favorite track on the album.
When it’s all said and done, Saving Abel is maybe playing it a bit too safe on their sophomore effort but it’s still well within the confines of what will please any fans that the band amassed with their debut. For myself, as I said before the entire album is easily digestible but perhaps it’s also easily disposable.
Highlights: “Tap Out”, “Contagious”, “The Sex Is Good”, “I’m Still Alive”, “I Need You”