In Print: Unpacking the Awful Poetry of Train, One of S.F.'s Most Successful Recent Bands

Categories: In Print

From SF Weekly's latest print edition:

Derail the Train: You know the song. You'd recognize it from the gently rolling piano chords that start it off, or the opening lyric -- "Now that she's back in the atmosphere/ With drops of Jupiter in her hair," sung in Pat Monahan's signature nasal whine -- or certainly the chorus, where Monahan seems to squat before preparing for an anthemic leap: "Well tell me..." That song is "Drops of Jupiter," and 10 years ago, it launched a local rock trio by the name of Train into what we would call infamy -- but what, in quantitative terms, looks a lot like success. Train, you see, is one of the biggest-selling San Francisco bands of the last decade. It has won three Grammy awards, toured all over the world, and sold something upwards of four million albums. Its 2010 single "Hey, Soul Sister" was the bestselling single on iTunes last year, and the second-bestselling song in the U.S., period.

All of which is truly agonizing. Because while "Drops of Jupiter" may have been merely weak and pandering (at least for the first 747 times you heard it), Train has developed into one of the most hollow, bland S.F. bands ever to attain commercial success. (Yes, including Jefferson Starship.) And unlike other locally grown pop-rock acts, its members don't have the decency to shuffle off to L.A. and let us forget they ever set foot here... [continue reading]

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