When a frontman casts aside his band for a solo endeavor, the resulting album usually falls into one of two categories: It’s either a creative outlet to explore ideas which might not be suitable for the band, or its individual promotion, trying to build transcendent stardom. Pat Monahan’s Last of Seven is an example of the latter, from the timely adult-contemporary pop to the priceless portrait of Monahan that graces the cover.

Pat Monahan is known to most as the frontman of Train, the one-hit wonder that made it big in 2001 with “Drops of Jupiter.” His debut solo effort could easily inspire (and probably has) the horrific headline “Without Train, Monahan has gone off the track,” and sadly, it would not only be accurate, but also much more clever than anything Monahan could pen.

Seriously, the lyrics are that bad. Look no further than lead single “Her Eyes.” Monahan rhapsodizes his love with ridiculous non sequiturs like “She’s old enough to know / And young enough not to say no / To any chance that she gets / For home plate tickets to see the Mets” and “She’s a Gemini, Capricorn / Thinks all men are addicted to porn.” After these huge turn-ons, he continues, “She loved Michael Jackson / Up until he made Bad.” This girl must be some catch.

“Cowboys and Indians / Heteros and Gays.” If this phrase seems like a jarring way to initiate a paragraph, imagine it opening a song. Accepting people of all creeds is a good thing, as is Monahan’s progressive political views, but the track has some of the crassest lyrics ever committed tape.

To be fair, Last of Seven is an album made for consumption, not an attempt at a consummate artistic statement, so it deserves some consideration beyond its lyrical missteps. But the music is a mixed bag at best. Monahan’s excellent voice carries the occasional strong melody, but nothing truly sounds natural. “Her Eyes” is marred by a horribly misplaced synth, while the gospel background vocals grafted onto “Someday” and “Ripple In The Water” end up showing just how little soul this music has.

The simple inclusion of some songs, such as the grungy kiss-off “Ooh My My” or the country commentary “Cowboys and Indians,” is more puzzling. It’s impossible to understand why Monahan would bloat his album to 14 tracks with such stylistic outliers. It’s only on Train-esque melancholic piano ballads “Thinkin Bout You” and “Always Midnight” where Monahan sounds comfortable, and, not surprisingly, these are the album’s best offerings.

Even if he’s at his best sounding like Train, it’s unfair to expect Monahan to eschew musical growth in favor of a tried-and-true formula. But Last of Seven sounds more like a stab at Billboard glory than an attempt at an individual musical blossoming. It’s not Pat Monahan exploring Pat Monahan, it’s Pat Monahan exploring his commercial prospects.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Pat Monahan
Last of Seven

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