San Francisco band Train returns with its seventh studio album, Bulletproof Picasso, which has as much musical evolution from its previous album as the near-identical album covers suggest.
The album opens with the most typical Train track (get it?) ever made. “Cadillac, Cadillac” describes its protagonist choosing to ride off into the desert in a ’60s convertible when a relationship gets slightly complicated. Following that are 11 songs consisting of heartbreak, regret, and uninspired, cliché lyrics. “I Will Remember” opens with the cringe-worthy line, “Did you ever do drugs? It’s like love/ Have you ever done love? It’s like a drug.”
With lyrics that are already relatively safe, the album’s production also sees no new development from its predecessor, while lead singer Pat Monahan offers somewhat disconnected vocals throughout the whole record.
Bulletproof Picasso is an overly-emotional confessional album; however, two songs stand out in being much more tolerable in their reflections. “Just A Memory” explores the past, and chiefly, teenage life: “I was breaking up, breaking down, the girl at the bank knew what we were fighting about when I didn’t even know what I was writing about.”
In a world where everything and everyone is adapting to norms we’ve fabricated and created ourselves, maybe Train’s unyielding musical style is what attracts people. Maybe this record reflects the refusal to let go of the past. Maybe.
As it stands, though Bulletproof Picasso remains just as its title suggests: A piece of work that’s beautiful and personal to its artist and creator, but upon its refusal to evolve and exist exactly the way it desires, results in a rather bland and retread listen. It’s a testament to Train’s trademark sound, but ultimately lost amidst the increasingly interesting and accomplished records of today.