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Houston: Relaunch II
Houston Relaunch II CD Album Review

Houston: Relaunch II

AOR/Melodic Pop Rock
Originals: 3.5/5.0 | Covers: 2.5/5.0

Okay. If I wanted another universal auto-tuned smarmy boy band with good looks, cute haircuts, and a swirl of screaming tweeners, I would have ordered one from the big label's musical widget factory. Wait. I'm letting my sarcasm get the best of me right at the start. Houston, from Sweden, not Texas, returns with another Relaunch album, appropriately titled Relaunch II. This means it's another collection of covers, but also originals.

Houston Relaunch II Band Photo

Houston: I don't think we're in Texas anymore.

The six covers are from artists past and present including John Farnham (Justice For One), John O’Banion (Love Is Blind), One Republic (Counting Stars), Rick Springfield (Souls), Florida Georgia Line (Cruise), Lady Gaga (Do What You Want). Now let's top right there. Lady Gaga? Seriously? Forgetting Tony Bennett, nothing about that pop culture music whore is of any interest to me. Gag me. Along with 'let's shave our nuts' boywannabeman band OneRepublic and country pop male divas, Florida Georgia Line, their vocals are auto-tuned sugary perfection. Those three songs, from those three artists, left a bad taste in mouth, and a potential nasty worm in my ear.

But here's the thing: Houston pulls them off, every song. Actually, excepting maybe the Lady Gaga song, their version of the rest of the songs is nearly a mirror image of the original, and they get the light country flair of Cruise. As for the other three covers, Justice For One, Love Is Blind, and Souls, they simply sound like updated versions of the originals. For the four original songs, Houston basically taps the classic AOR melodic rock vein, possibly giving the tradition more of a modern twist. Standing On The Moon and especially Downtown could easily be done by any OneRepublic-like clone. In the end, what you have is this: for the older covers and their originals, Houston draws from and sticks with the traditional AOR melodic rock arrangements; for the covers of the newer songs, they simply mimic the arrangements. This basically begs the question, 'Why listen to these when you can tune into the originals?' Maybe it's just their way of linking past and present. It seems to be working for them.

Houston - Relaunch II Album Preview - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

In Short

Houston once more draws upon AOR melodic rock influences past and present for both their original material and selected cover songs.

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