Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Rhett Miller 

The Believer (Verve Forecast)

Old 97's frontman Rhett Miller may believe his second solo album sounds like "George Gershwin does T. Rex's The Slider," but unfortunately for us, The Believer comes off more like Semisonic-meets-the soundtrack-to-Rent, with the former Dallasite fully abandoning his twangy Texas roots on nearly every track. While Miller's lyrics have often walked a fine line between clever and cringe-worthy, The Believer contains some of his worst, from the embarrassing chorus of "Help Me, Suzanne" ("You gave me the reason/For feeling like I do/You gave me the reason/I'd like to thank you") to the excruciating first verse of "Meteor Shower" ("Love/Gets you in the gut/Takes the top off of your head/And makes you wish that you were dead"). George Drakoulis' over-production doesn't help matters, smothering the sometimes-stately pop arrangements (featuring horns and a string section) with a grocery-floor sheen your mother will surely enjoy as she hums along to the radio-ready "Brand New Way" in the frozen-food aisle. It's sadly telling that the only great tracks here are a rehashed 97's song ("Singular Girl," which misses Murry Hammond's harmonies) and an old Ranchero Brothers chestnut ("Fireflies," done here as a sweet country-soul duet with Rachael "She's Not Norah Jones, but She'll Do" Yamagata). And Rhett, no matter how many versions you record — the 97's version; the album-closing, synthesized-strings version here; the French (French!) B-side version — I will die before I let anyone play "Question" at my wedding.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Noah W. Bailey

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 9, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation