Singing In The Reign

Orlando, Florida's teen-pop machine spews forth more foot soldiers in its global-domination strategy.

Straight outta the Orlando, Fla., talent farm that brought us the Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync and Britney Spears, it's C Note — yet another all-handsome-boy pop-vocal quartet. For what it's worth, C Note differ from their Trans Continental Management brothers and sisters in two ways: they can, you know, sing — and they can also do it en español.

The problem with Different Kind of Love is that C Note's clean teen-pop is so stereotypical and slick, it begins to sound like parody. The music on the ballads is so lush and layered that you can predict exactly where the strings will come soaring in like jet engines. The faster paced tunes, meanwhile, boast a popping bassline just made for synchronized dancing and are ripe with suburban hip-hop swagger. Perhaps too ripe.

The lyrics are where C Note most play into the genre's conventions. Sappy above and beyond the call of boy-band duty, the lyrics range from the unoriginality of "Right Next to Me" ("You're the woman that I choose/ And I can't afford to lose/ You, baby") to the saccharine, pseudo-sensitive "Tell Me Where It Hurts" ("Did someone leave your heart in the cold?/ You just need someone to hold" [RealAudio excerpt]) to the laughably bad (far too many examples to single out just one, really).

Schlock-meister Diane Warren (writer of Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" among others) even helps out, tossing the boys "One Night With You" (RealAudio excerpt), a terribly written ballad that seems as though it were composed for Boys II Men back when they could get away with such lyrics as "I don't mean to put you under pressure/ I just wanna spend some time together." Warren has done much better work, who knows how this one escaped from her vaults.

Occasional Latin-flavored lyrics and music aside, it is unfortunate that vocal chops and language choices are not enough to separate C Note from the teen-pop pack. There isn't an original note sung or played on Different Kind of Love, no personality expressed beyond the boys' desire to hold the listener tight while the storm passes.

Here's what it comes down to: if you're looking for vocal pop songs with some originality to them, take a pass this time 'round. If there's still room on your wall for some new Teen Beat posters, C Note are as easy on the eyes as they are on the ears.