“They can tell us that we don’t know right from wrong/ When they never ever heard us sing a song/ But they don’t know how the chorus goes/ All they know is Barry Manilow”
When it was announced that Rooney’s six-year hiatus was over and they would be returning with new material, I was ecstatic. I had been missing some west coast music to get me through my day, and Rooney just brings a certain vibe to the table that is hard to beat.
Washed Away was described as an album full of “summer anthems” and it doesn’t disappoint. All I wanted to do while listening to it was hop in my car and drive around with the windows down. One thing that I’ve always appreciated about Rooney is that you don’t find filler material on their albums. There isn’t just one stand out song and then the rest are just so-so; every single song on this album is fantastic. The lead single, “My Heart Beats 4 U” kicks off with gang vocals that will get a live crowd singing along from the start. Vocalist Robert Schwartzman shows off his range and vocal chops here with great high notes that really set the song off. “My Heart Beats 4 U” would translate to a fantastic acoustic track too. It’s just super strong and works well to pull in a new audience to Rooney.
As I mentioned before, there isn’t a bad track on this album, but my favorite is “Do You Have to Go?”. Right from the first note it starts off with a great staccato pattern to the verses but morphs into a very classic Rooney sound in the chorus—with a lead guitar line that feels familiar to fans of “When Did Your Heart Go Missing?”. It’s the perfect example of the band embracing their past success but pushing into new territory at the same time.
Schwartzman’s writing is top notch on Washed Away. He brings in a sense of familiarity with every word. Each song is about love, heartache, or just relationships and that makes the album easily accessible for the general listener. When Schwartzman sings lines like, “I keep on thinking about last night. It felt like we were over, you brushed me off your shoulder” on “Why” (which is the second single from the album) you can pinpoint an exact moment when you’ve had that same thought. Washed Away is an album that appeals to new and old fans of Rooney alike.
Buy it, Stream it, or Skip it: Buy It and let it be the soundtrack for your summer road trip.