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‘A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat’ review: Train tries too hard

Train's latest,

Train's latest, "A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat," is on Columbia Records. Credit: Columbia Records

TRAIN

“A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat”

THE GRADE B-

BOTTOM LINE Trying too hard to keep up with current pop

Train’s new album, “A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat” (Columbia), continues the odd Benjamin Button-like trajectory of the band’s artistic view.

They may have started two decades ago as roots rockers who leaned toward adult contemporary with weighty songs such as “Drops of Jupiter.” But in recent years, since the success of the peppy “Hey Soul Sister,” Train seems more interested in teen pop.

It starts with the fizzy “Drink Up,” which sounds like a Maroon 5 rejection, with its singsong verses and a chorus of “Take this moment and put it in a glass; if you want a sip, I’ve got memories on tap.” The first single, “Play That Song,” is built around a riff that sounds like “Blue Moon,” one of the first songs kids learn on the piano.

There are moments of seriousness, like the parental piano ballad “You Better Believe,” but those get overwhelmed by the clunkiness of songs such as “What Good Is Saturday” and its offers of French toast and “Working Girl” with its rejection of guys who aren’t “sweet like aspartame.” That’s a track Train needs to switch from quickly.

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