POZ Review: The Plain White T’s – Should’ve Gone To Bed

Their creepily romantic song “Hey There Delilah” was a huge hit in 2005, making tween girls across the nation weep every time it came on the radio because they weren’t nearly as captivating as Delilah. But for the past three years, Plain White T’s has been musically inactive.

In 2007, Plain White T’s released Every Second Counts, followed by Big Bad World, which contained more heart-bursters like “1, 2, 3, 4.” Their most recent album, Wonders Of The Younger,dropped in 2010, but still didn’t soar as high as the 5 previous albums.

Now, Plain White T’s has returned with a new EP, Should’ve Gone To Bed. Unfortunately, the EP is on the shorter side, but it still gets the point across—Plain White T’s is back, but they’ve been better.

The title track opener starts the EP off on a bad note. First off, there is way too much Autotune on the vocals. And the chorus is so cheesy that if I were diagnosed lactose intolerant, I would have experienced an allergic reaction to it. Choice lines include: “I should’ve just gone to bed. I should’ve never called you. I should’ve listened to my head when it said, ‘Leave it.’” As if the simplicity and mundaneness of the lyrics isn’t enough, at times they are also contradictory of each other. This track is so inconsistent that I couldn’t even listen to the whole thing. I should’ve gone to bed instead of listening to this song.

While the first track is a major setback, “The Giving Tree” shows the softer side of Plain White T’s that everyone typically associates the band with. It’s a cute song that explores the process of wondering what a former lover is doing now that they have gone their separate ways. “When all I wanted to be was your giving tree. Settle down, build a home and make you happy,” Tom Higgenson sings.

The vocals are at their best on this track, especially when Higgenson is accompanied by some gorgeous harmonies. It’s a folksier jingle paired with good acoustics provided by guitars and banjos. It’s easy to envision Higgenson delicately plucking guitar strings and serenading you under a cherry blossom tree, planting a Cheshire grin onto your face.

“Helium” is the EP’s most consistent track. There’s a solid mixture of vocals, audio manipulation, and soft acoustic instrumentation. The swift strumming and call-and-response chanting carries a feeling of weightlessness that builds up within each verse. By the end of the song, listeners will certainly ”float away full of love” and ease into “Haven’t Told Her” as it properly closes the EP.

If this is any indication of what to expect from Plain White T’s in the future, I suppose that the band’s unexplained absence will have been worth the wait. Quality music takes time to make.

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