Day I Forgot (Columbia)
Pete Yorn

By John Wright

After recording a universally acclaimed debut album, expectations for Pete Yorn's second outing were sky high. So how does Day I Forgot measure up? Pretty well, I'm happy to say. The things that made Yorn's first album so good remain - thoughtful lyrics, strong production and memorable hooks to catch the listener. Perhaps the only difference in the new disc is that, with songs like "Come Back Home," and "All At Once," Yorn seems to be taking a more conscious shot at mainstream airplay.

Yorn's songs deal with commitment and relationships - nearly every song involves a he and she or a you and I. This sort of template works well; you just plug in the names and the songs become instantly personal. Take the album's final track, "So Much Work": There was a time she could never see him/And her fault was to always need him/They became their only rescue. Vóila - an ode to co-dependency. Yorn's lyrical formula is simple but effective; he manages to walk the line between vague and specific, all the while throwing in enough witticisms to keep things interesting. Lines like

I'm looking for my best friends/I'm tired of all the people I'm seeing through ("Pass Me By") keep you feeling smart while you wait for that next soaring chorus.

Musically, Yorn is a one-man band. Originally a drummer, he also plays guitar and bass and has the sort of voice that can range from tender to world-weary in the same song. His pop sensibilities are excellent, recalling Bob Mould circa "Copper Blue." Along with the songs mentioned above, standout tracks include "Long Way Down," the acoustic gems "Man in Uniform" and "Crystal Village," and the punk-tinged "Burrito." All in all, Yorn manages to dodge the sophomore jinx by following the adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."