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The Unknown Music: Hoobastank ‘The Reason’

All killer and no filler… with one exception.

Robert Frezza

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Editor’s note: As part of CMN’s ongoing music journalism program, we asked our team of music writers to find and write about a physical piece of music (CD, album or cassette) they had no prior knowledge of. You can find out how it all unfolded by browsing our music section

I went to my local thrift record store, Hi Fi Records, here in Astoria, New York, which carries a variety of new and used vinyl, and a small selection of 45s and CDs. They sell record players at a hefty price too.

This shop is very small and opened up after most record stores closed up due to the sales of vinyl resurgence in recent years. I was the only customer in the shop at the time. I perused their music racks and they have a lot of indie bands and folk/rock selections. The sun shone through the windows as coffee was brewing behind the counter.

I ventured to a small dusty box in the corner that carried a small selection of CDs. Although my original pick was Tori Amos’ Boys for Pele, the CD was missing so I closed my eyes and picked another one out: 2003’s The Reason from Hoobastank.

The case was cracked in all its glory and the CD itself was reasonably priced at $3 and some change, considering this particular album was released over 15 years ago. Hoobastank first came to fruition after the rap metal scene was coming to an end.

I personally liked them, but they fell into oblivion after their self-titled record was released in 2001. But when their third album, The Reason, was released they morphed into a Top 40 band with the title track.

Kudos to them for the crossover, but they lost many fans at the same time. I adored their rock sound until that point and the public kind of turned their backs on them for their heavy rock turned soft rock sound.

Listening to The Reason for the first time, it opens up with the hard rock song “Same Direction,” followed by “Out of Control,” the highlight of the album.

Doug Robb’s vocals are killer when he screeches on the top of his lungs, “I’m spinning out of control.” The album continues to delve into heavy relationship material without losing that much momentum of the opening songs with “What Happened To Us?” Robb sings, “We used to be so perfect/now we’re lost and lonely”.

“Just One” kicks back with a heavy guitar riff. It is another great rock song. “Lucky” has its slow parts but I was still waiting for the band’s soft rock sound to emerge on this album. The only thing that is soft about this album are the lyrics.

Alas, found smack dab in the middle of their album is their sellout song, “The Reason.” Too bad the record company pushed for this single because the rest of the album is all killer and no filler.

 Don’t get the wrong idea about Hoobastank, they didn’t sell their souls to the Top 40 charts at all. With the exceptions of “The Reason” and the closing song “Disappear,” this album gets a good rating from me. You can still listen to this particular CD and plan to rock out.

It’s unfortunate that the band got such a bad wrap for the song “The Reason” but their reputation is still solidified as one of many decent rock acts of the new millennium, even though this band has been together since 1994.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Robert Frezza is a music journalist based out of NYC. He has interviewed Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails, among many more. He enjoys interviewing musicians.

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