For their fourth album, Old 97’s mine the histories of pop, rock, and country music. They come back with some melodic gems. This is very balanced music: the backing vocals balance out the lead vocals, the acoustic guitar balances out the electric guitar, etcetera. Also, though Old 97’s are versed in the history of popular music, the music on Fight Songs is fresh and not nostalgic in the least. The lyrics may evoke some nostalgia, but the music certainly doesn’t.
Like they did on their last album, this time out Old 97’s use the studio to their fullest advantage. They even use bells on one track. The guitars run through this album smooth as rivers, with some Mersey chime and some Tennessee twang. Everything fits and there’s no excessive studio gloss.
So what will happen with this album? Will Old 97’s become a country/rock crossover hit? Will they be more likely to show up on MTV or CMT? (The answer is NBC, since they’ve already appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien .) Is it pointless to try to categorize modern music…even if it has old roots?