With a business degree andÂ a background as an offshore driller, musician Michael Fitz’sÂ biography is anything but the standard musician story. His debut album, Never Look Back, was released in 2006 and stayed on the Billboard Top 200 chart for 14 weeks, receiving 3 Grammy nominations in 2007. This critical acclaim mixed with Fitz’s colorful past made his album all the more surprising to me, but not for reasons most might expect. It turns out that Fitz’s album – from its cliche title to its short 9-song length – is fairly underwhelming: it’s the kind of American rock that we’ve hear for decades now.
To be fair, Fitz has an impressive take on the gritty, hardworking vocal stylings of an American rocker, but there’s just not too much else here that gets above average. Most of the lyrics here sound vaguely familiar, and it could be because we’ve heard similar sentiments before. Take this snippet from the love song “Mrs. Solis” -Â ”Ain’t it jut like you to call me for no reason? / and ain’t it just like me to come?” This is fairly standard stuff, and though it’s clear that Fitz is putting a good deal of effort into his work, it comes off sounding a bit too much like everything else.
The first single off the album, “The Way It Goes,” is an upbeat country-rock piece that Fitz says is his mantra. “It’s about coping with life,” he says. “And to do that, sometimes you just have to suck it up, get dressed, and go out and make stuff happen.” It’s a heartfelt message, laced withÂ wailing harmonica andÂ female backup vocals,Â but it doesn’t come offÂ quite as clearly as Fitz might hope. LyricsÂ such asÂ ”Every day make love withÂ all your might / until the day you fall into the light” are a bit hard to swallow sometimes.
Bottom line -Â Michael Fitz has an interesting backstory and has made a good start with his first album.Â There’s clearly potential here, but he’ll need to tighten his lyrical prowess before putting out another albumÂ
Zach’s Rating: C
Perfect For: Die-hard American rock fans
Stay Away if: You’re looking for something you haven’t heard before
If you buy only one track, make it this one: “You Did So Good”
To purchase Never Look Back, visit Amazon