Rockers The Smithereens Finally Release New Album Named “2011”
This album signals 31 years together for the New Jersey natives: singer Patrick DiNizio, guitarist Jim Babjak, drummer Dennis Diken and bassist Severo "The Thrilla" Jornacion.
Being together since 1980 has allowed the guys to refine their skills, rewarding their listeners with hits like “Blood and Roses” in 1986 and “A Girl Like You” in 1989. They have also been featured on many movie soundtracks from the 80s and 90s, including “Encino Man” and “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.”
They wrote and produced their new songs in a familiar place—a rehearsal room on Avenue B and 6th Street on NYC’s lower east side, where they conceived their 1988 album “Green Thoughts” with producer Don Dixon.
While fans of the band’s previous work might like this long-awaited set of 13 tracks, new listeners could easily have a hard time differentiating between tracks because many sound similar and are mostly about love and relationships.
Their single “Sorry” is reminiscent of 1960s rock and is easily one of the catchiest songs on “2011.” DiNizio sings “I would like to say I’m sorry/but I won’t” to a lover because “I’m not happy when you’re around/you make me wanna run/wanna hit the ground/you’re just not the girl that I once knew.”
It’s straightforward why the band released this as the single for the album; it has an easy flow of lyrics, strong guitar and backing drums throughout with a driving beat, which makes it a good choice for singing and nodding along.
By the third track, “A World of Our Own,” the Smithereens introduce more vocal harmonies, using them in this song for a build up.
Further on, “Rings on Her Fingers,” is a likable Western-tinged ballad of a former love. The lyrics “the ring on her finger/the pain in her heart the love that will linger/there from the start” are accompanied by a constant shaking of a tambourine in the background, which adds to a sense of the galloping of a horse.
More meditations on love can be found on most of the other tracks, including “Turn It Around,” which features the band crooning “ooh ooh ooh” harmonies with the background rhythms of tambourine. It asks “how can I turn it around with you?” so that “the love lost will be found.”
With a little more than 45 minutes of similar-sounding rock with typical themes of love, a listener will probably realize why many of the Smithereens were used as background music in so many movies.
“2011” just seems like something that would be playing in the distance, but does not really keep the listener’s attention throughout because it does not present any new ideas or even ones creatively spun about their chosen theme.
Though it may be the case that their band’s name originates from the cartoon character Yosemite Sam’s catchphrase, "Varmint, I'm a-gonna blow you to smithereens!" there is no explosion here. Overall, "2011" seems to be a lackluster album that might only create a small puff of smoke.