05/31/2016 09:25 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Nine Days Sends Snapshots for Sweet 16

Nine Days, the band behind the effortlessly catchy pop love song "Absolutely (Story Of A Girl)" is back with a new release, Snapshots. It's a blast from the past with a sweet sixteen present for fans.


Wondering where the band Nine Days has been? Well, the story behind the "Absolutely (Story Of A Girl)" band is almost as adorable as the song that put them on the map. Yep. It's the story of girl.

Long story short: the guy who wrote the catchy pop song sixteen years ago as an ode to his love, John Hampson, ended up marrying her and starting a life -- in essence, leaving his dream of being a rocker behind in pursuit of the object of his desire. It's almost exactly what you would want or expect from a kind and upbeat love song like "Absolutely (Story Of A Girl)".
But now, you can't keep an artist away for too long. Nine Days is back, and for fans who loved "Absolutely" in its heyday, are you about to be delighted. (Don't worry; I'm one of you. Ironic fans, move along. Nothing to see here. Are we down to people who hit songs on repeat that they unabashedly love? Welcome, friends.)

The gem on the release is its first track. "Obsolete" is a warm comforting blanket in a world where everything is on the verge of extinction for those who heard the band's debut. Yes -- CDs are going the way of the dinosaur -- as people buying a new computer can attest. But the creature comfort, someone telling you "you will never be obsolete," mixed with a sound kept fresh in a 90s time capsule of a guitar led crooning rock band rich with hooks makes you dance and puts a smile on your face. It's like a boyfriend showed up with roses -- unexpected, and just nice and happy. If you find yourself dancing around the kitchen -- girl, I was there.

"Mona Lisa Smile" is nice, pop, but within five minutes you'll forget the tune. Nothing bad, just nothing special, either. Likewise, "Greenlight," a ballad, is okay but dismissible. It's something you can put on in the background while you're working on another piece. Is it not enough diversity on the tune itself? There's clearly intensity and skill to the playing, but just nothing pops enough to set it apart.

The lead-in to the track "Beautiful Thing" was built for a rom com soundtrack -- it's fresh, provoking, catchy. However, then the band takes a step back into its signature sound, rather than forward to this unknown area. The ahhhs and oooohs of "Beautiful Thing" evoke the feeling that listeners got with the Hanson late release "Give A Little" -- it's definitely the defining upbeat, feel good sound of the original band. Can some faraway music producer re-release the soundtrack to "Can't Hardly Wait"? "Beautiful Thing" would pair well with the closing credits.

"Snapshot" feels like a song for a Sunday drive in your Southern pickup truck. Its storytelling lyrics like "Watching old movies from way way back," are delivered in a rolicking country twang. Combine this with the guitar track and you get a great country meets pop feel. You can tell that the band spent time in Nashville for a few years following "Absolutely". Perhaps this is where the band should travel next -- to the country.

"Conspiracy," has a pounding, pushing background track. Its undulating rhythm would be perfect to hear in a concert setting. You can easily imagine the wave of concert goers swaying to its pulse. My beef with this track is a bizarre bridge section / eclectic electric breakdown -- is its ham radio / white noise mixture justified by the title of "Conspiracy"? Well, to quote the band, then "maybe it's true" (maybe for you).

The lyrics of "Two Hearts Too Big" feel like the singer is trying to justify a break up in a small town. The majority are recantations of the relationship's combined . It feels like it could have very nearly have been great for a party where you are having people renew their vows, but then the examples themselves get very sad. Enjoy the melody but it's a heartbreak when you listen to the lyrics too sharply.

"2 Straws" feels like they pitched this for a commercial and then didn't know what to do with it afterward. "2 Straws in a Mountain Dew" and "one sip, two sip!" lyrics don't help the case for art vs. commerce.

The lyrics of "Star" are a recant of what-could-have-been, "I should be happy but I'm not." It makes you wonder if this is the songwriter speaking directly, giving his forward to the album's creation. It definitely feels like the struggle of an artist whose career was on hiatus.
"Lonely Enough" has a strong piano melody. No, it's no piano melodic envelopment akin to Jon McLaughlin's "Industry," but it is still worth a listen.

The album ends as it should -- with a re-release of "Absolutely (Story Of A Girl)". It's fresh, and upbeat, and hits all the right notes to this day.

Overall, this CD is exactly what you want from a Nine Days resurgence: it's the 2000s feel without a lot of twist. It's the comforts of an audible home that can take you back in its time capsule and, while it's been sixteen years -- how time flies! -- what a sweet sixteen celebration.

Enjoy your week, and let me know if you loved it! Tweet @smileybridge to share your thoughts.