Five For Fighting The Battle For Everything

It would have been completely impossible for the song "Superman,” from Five For Fighting’s last record, to somehow escape your attention within the last three years. Following 9/11, the song was everywhere, becoming an anthem for the heroes of that day, and, indeed, America as a whole. Well, despite such intense and unavoidable over-exposure, Five For Fighting’s follow-up to the smash hit America Town is actually a truly enjoyable record. While it may be impossible to approach such a record without certain pretensions, the songwriting of John Ondrasik is compelling and relevant as well as poppy without being predictable. Such tracks as "If God Made You” and "Dying” are slow, gentle pop gems, proof of Ondrasik’s gift as a songwriter. While the material here is sure to please the soccer mom set, anyone who appreciates solid pop songwriting will be surprised by the strength of this release. The first single, "100 Years,” may seem like an obvious attempt to cash in on the success of "Superman,” but listen closely — all you’ll hear is the remarkably strong crafting of a pop song. How can you fault a record on that? (Columbia)