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Not Economically Viable

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Album Review

Methadones leader Daniel Schafer has said that the band's third album, Not Economically Viable, is a concept record loosely inspired by the 1993 Michael Douglas film Falling Down, about a murderous rampage by a laid-off defense systems administrator. (The title comes from one of the film's key lines.) Lyrically, the album is akin to the great X albums deconstructing the Reagan-era American dream, from Los Angeles to More Fun in the New World, but Schafer is a more impressionistic writer than John Doe and Exene Cervenka, without their eye for detail. Musically, however, the album completes the Methadones' slow transition from garagey punks à la early Social Distortion into a more polished power pop outfit with a greater emphasis on vocals (Heavenly's Amelia Fletcher sings her trademark helium-toned harmonies on several tracks) and catchy guitar hooks. Not at all coincidentally, the album ends with the aptly-titled "Straight Up Pop Song," a rueful blend of sardonic kiss-off lyrics and a droning guitar riff that sounds so much like a radio hit by the likes of Jimmy Eat World that it seems likely to be at least partially satiric in intent.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A good band name always gives the potential listener some idea what sort of music to expect. (Bad band names are ones that mess with those expectations: a certain artsy-jangly guitar pop band of the early '90s would have been much more successful had they not been called Vomit Launch, which sounds like the name of a scabrous hardcore act.) Chicago-based pop-punk band the Methadones is an excellent case in point: methadone — not to be confused with methamphetamine, aka crystal meth — being...
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Not Economically Viable, The Methadones
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