If you don't have already have a healthy fear of marriage, you will once you listen to Stars. It's the kind of cheesy, limp pop that seems to be the cause of so many stupid marriages. Surely you know people like this: they are so wrong for each other and it's obvious to everyone but them. The couple is so immersed in their fantasy world, they don't see each other's faults, let alone the fact that they have nothing in common (except, usually, a fantastic sex life, though that will fade out in a few months and then they're left staring at each other across the bed like "I fucked you?")
In other words, Stars is like Viva Voce if they got lobotomies.
"Romantic Comedy" is the perfect example. Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell alternate singing, and the lyrics are... well, judge for yourself: "You think you're so bad but you're just badly raised.... You pick the curtains and I'll pick the sheets/ Our silver anniversary will be the next time we meet.... You're my foe and my lover and brother and friend. [ew!] ...Before I give you the ring, there's one thing you should know/ You have 7 seconds before it's too late to go.... I never ever want to see you till our wedding day." All of which is backed by music that sounds like it belongs in a cereal commercial. Maybe it was meant to be a joke, but the whole album is like this.
Another good example is "Time Can Never Kill The True Heart." Torquil and Amy sing breathlessly, "We'll touch till it feels right/ You won't say love, but I might.... One heart out of two/ One life, me and you." I absolutely despise the idea that marriage, or true love, means that people aren't individuals anymore, so I can't help but despise this song.
I understand that it isn't easy to write lyrics, but this is ridiculous. In "Death to Death," Torquil croons, "I have a way of seeing and it's nearly gone/ And nobody was listening so I wrote this song/ When you know the chorus you can sing along." What the hell is that supposed to mean? Right before this, he's talking about telling a gypsy her fortune; then he switches to his motivations for writing, which sounds like whining to me, and then he tells us we can sing along once we've got the chorus down?! Someone needs to stick a pin in that ego and let out some of the air before Torquil suffocates.
Honestly, I couldn't help but think that this is merely radio-friendly bait. The music is catchy; the singers know how to sing. But it's all very earnest in a questionable way. It reminds me of someone who is so concentrated on being famous, they have sacrificed their personality. Or someone who tries so hard to be hip, they have no distinctive style of their own. In the end, they just come across as bland and no one wants anything to do with them.
To be fair, Torquil's accent is enchanting, particularly in "Don't Be Afraid To Sing." And if you want to tell something to someone you love without having to worry about them getting confused, this is the music for it. Their lyrics are mostly uncluttered by any sort of complicated thought. But that's not necessarily a good thing, and they might hate you anyway, just for sending them this trite crap. Stars should quit making music of their own and write their vapid pop for contestants of American Idol instead. 3/10 -- Eden Hemming Rose (25 May, 2005)