Do what you wanna do

Brianna Riplinger

The somewhat punk-tinged, pop-emo foursome Attention would, as my friend Paul smartly said, easily fit right into MTV’s current rotation. That is not to say they would necessarily deserve that mega-level of, um, attention. Most of the songs on “Say What You Mean What You Say” fall into that relentless brand of three-minute thrashings of pop punk infused with silly, characterless lyrics. Fortunately, the lead singer has a strong, melodic voice that separates him from the generic moaning vocals of most “rock” bands featured on MTV.

On “What if Great,” lyrics like “No, I won’t fall down/ I hope I don’t fall do-how-hon” are typical of the feigned drama permeating both the record and the entire emo genre. On “Say What You Mean,” the band slips into predictable, uninspired emo-rock that really whines. Many of their lyrics would fit perfectly in a motivational seminar. The “You’re the only one who’s letting yourself down” line off “Where Are You Now” seems like scolding, tough-love therapy talk.

Despite the overarching banality of the record, there are some worthwhile moments. “Plastic” has plenty of energy, a memorable start-stop chorus, and a poppy 1980s guitar lick that zigzags in and out of the song. And, to give Attention credit, they play the uninspired music well. The drumming deftly carries most tracks, bursting into up-tempo and slowly lifting up the downer songs. Jangly guitars and angry, sharp chords sometimes evoke quality bands of a similar genre, such as “Dear You”-era Jawbreaker.

Perhaps when next you hear about Attention, their video will be the latest climbing the charts next to mediocre acts like Dashboard Confessional and Nickelback. And maybe that’s what they want. But if they cared more about shaping their sound into something a little more interesting, perhaps they could reach even higher ranks of appreciation.