Real talk: Going into The Proclaimers‘ new album, ”Like Comedy,” I had some reservations. See, in the early to mid ’90s, I was in high school. I remember their hit “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles).” I watched as the song went from being a hit, to being that song you are tired of hearing get played over and over on the radio, to it finally becoming a punchline on “How I Met Your Mother.” I told a couple of friends I was reviewing the new album, and they busted into a rendition of that song, complete with fake (and exaggerated) Scottish brogue.
Here’s the thing: there’s nothing wrong with that song. In fact, it’s a fantastic pop song, which is why it got so much radio play. And, in light of this, I should have expected that “Like Comedy” was going to be a solid pop album.
And it is solid. Right from the first song, the catchy ” Whatever You Got,” the brothers Reid prove that they are more than just “I’m Gonna Be.” At times, they almost sound twee, like on “Simple Things,” and at times, they’re perhaps a bit too “adult contemporary,” like on “A Mix,” and “The Thought of You,” but it’s good adult contemporary: slightly schmaltzy, slightly idealistic, and almost definitely written about women that these two have been with for a long time.
And where “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” may have turned itself into a novelty song, this new album is not a novelty album at all. Lyrically, it’s intelligent and well-written, like on the title track, where one of the Reid brothers (which one? I don’t know…they’re identical) sings “You were built to last a lifetime/ Just not the life that you live.” It’s a clever way to put how I think a lot of us have felt from one time or another. It’s not all serious, though. “Women and Wine” explores what it is to be a man coming of age in Scotland, where “You didn’t need any brains/just a taste for booze and an eye for lassies.” Again, it’s an idea that’s Scottish in execution, but universal in its sentiment.
Overall, The Proclaimers’ “Like Comedy” shows that these 50-year-old one-hit wonders can still be relevant today. However, it still leaves the unanswered question, “What the hell is ‘Havering’?”