Last year, one of my favorite songs was "Girl Next Door" by Saving Jane. It had a great melody, great vocals, and lyrics that were relatable to a lot of people (yes, including myself). Lead singer Marti Dodson wasn't model-pretty, but in her own way her looks were striking, perfect for pop stardom. The single was so good that the band were picked up by a major label for a re-release of their latest album featuring that song. MTV even used it as a theme song for several of their dumb, completely non-music related reality shows! However, things didn't work out and they decided to go back to the indie route for their new album One Girl Revolution, which isn't really an "indie-sounding" album, although who knows what the hell that means anymore? Anyway, the album drops this Tuesday.
Loser - I love this. It has the tongue in cheek quality of an upbeat "punky" Avril Lavigne without the brattiness and nasal vocals. It's somewhat "Since U Been Gone"-esque with the woman being happy to be free of her idiotic ex. There are some great lyrics: "You'll be glad to know I sold your ring for extra cash." Heh.
Better Day - Very upbeat and catchy pop-rock. For some reason it reminds me of some of Billy Mann's production, like "With You" by Jessica Simpson. It doesn't really sound the same but has the same sunny vibe.
Let Me Down Easy - This track is a bit more melancholy. I like the mix of guitars, pianos, and even some electronic effects. It's really a song that could work in any form...in the hands of another artist it could be an r&b pop number and be equally good. In this song you can hear one of the male members of the band actually sing, and he and Marti do a bit of back-and-forth response singing to each other at the end.
Ohio - A bit more "pure pop" and not as heavy on the guitars (although there are some orchestral effects on this mid-tempo), this song is about leaving to follow your dream and missing your family and friends back home. Corny but sweet. Surprisingly, there aren't that many pop songs about this subject, though it's a running theme in country music (Sugarland's "Baby Girl", Carrie Underwood's "Don't Forget To Remember Me"). Not surprisingly, the band hails from Ohio. :P It shows some vulnerability...she even apologizes to her parents for getting tattoos but still stands her ground.
Writing on the Wall - This is one of those "ballads with a beat" that I love. The lyrics are about a relationship falling apart due to her boyfriend's alcoholism, and it's emotional without sounding preachy or self-pitying.
The album also features the lead single and title track manifesto against the shallow, looks, sex, and stupidity-centered expectations of female pop stars (available to listen to at their MySpace). It's fine, but when it comes to these proto-feminist anthems Pink did it better with "Stupid Girls".