Alternative Rock, 2006
I think I’m over John Ondrasik, the man who’s behind Five for Fighting. Two Lights is his third CD but it is filled with songs that not only sound alike after a while, they sound alike to Superman (It’s Not Easy) and 100 Years, two hits that are already too similar-sounding despite coming from two different CDs. The increasingly stale sameness of too many songs on this CD make Mr Ondrasik’s falsetto really start to grate on my nerves. I can’t even listen to the lead single from this CD, The Riddle, for two minutes before feeling this urge to take an ax to Mr Ondrasik’s piano and hopefully force him to create a song that isn’t a pointless rehash of that one song he has written and performed so many times before. It’s really irritating how I can sing 100 Years over tracks like The Riddle and Freedom Never Dies and still manage to be in tune with Mr Ondrasik.
The sole exception to the dire mournful dirges on this CD is Policeman’s Xmas Party which sees Mr Ondrasik doing something close to dance. It’s similar in a sense to a dance remix of a Sting’s Roxanne, really, but the effect of Mr Ondrasik’s mournful hyena howls over a master track that is trying very hard to be cool is unfortunately more comical than entertaining.
If I haven’t listened to the previous two CDs by Five For Fighting, I could very well enjoy Two Lights. After three CDs though it is way time for John Ondrasik to stop being a one-note wonder and come up with something that isn’t a tired regurgitation of Superman (It’s Not Easy). Lyrics-wise, Mr Ondrasik has many interesting ways of expressing his stream of consciousness – check out the lyrics of Two Lights and Policeman’s Xmas Party – so that his songs on love, patriotism, war, and pawn shops (don’t ask) are, lyrically, a hundred times more interesting than they are melodically. Maybe Mr Ondrasik should publish a book of poetry or something if this means that he will come up with something more interesting, melodically, for his next CD. He is, after all, a music man and it’s a shame if his unimaginative music ends up burying the things he wants to say through his music.