Whatever by Hot Chelle Rae
If we know two things about Nashville bred faux-rockers Hot Chelle Rae, it’s these: they aren’t afraid to ask for help, and they really, really like to party. With as many as eight writers to one song, you have to wonder if their songwriting sessions look more like business meetings in Corporate America. “You, in the corner with the face, write the not-really-a-guitar-solo-but-we’ll-call-it-one-anyway.” It’s not surprising they get all this aid, considering all four members have family in the entertainment industry.
Despite strong ties to the south, HCR shuns all forms of country music, opting instead for low dose party music, intended to get tween toes tapping and hearts fluttering. Jangly guitars and vocals splashed with a liberal dose of auto tune litter the album. Lyrically, they fall somewhere between the vapid boyband charm of the Brothers Jonas and the snarly bite of Green Day. References to blowing up somebody’s phone and celebrity name drops are in no short supply, and RK Follese’s nasal cry ranges from irritatingly self-assured to downright whiney, not helped by the omnipresent synthesizer tugging away in the background. Perhaps the most disappointing thing about this album is its shelf life. Unlike timeless music, HCR is living in the moment. Never once do they consider the future, it’s all about the instant gratification of, “Tonight, Tonight.” In a measly few years, when music wakes up from its party-induced hangover, Hot Chelle Rae will be obsolete, a thing of the past. Not that any of this matters to them. As the title track “Whatever” suggests, “I don’t care at all.”