Taking Apart “The Quilt” by Gym Class Heroes

So, for the longest time there was this belief that artists needed to be depressed and addicted in order to strengthen their art. Especially musicians.

Travis McCoy and the rest of the Gym Class Heroes have taken that idea and whacked it upside the head with a microphone.

“The Quilt” is a fantastic outing from the Gym Class Heroes. The band brings back everything that earned them fans in the past: amazing musical talent, lyrics that are alternately honest and witty, and hooks that get caught in your head for weeks. But not only have they taken all of that to the next level, they’ve continued to defy genre definition and expanded their repertoire.

A lot of what makes the album amazing is it’s refusal to be labeled with a genre. While songs like “Peace Sign/Index Down” are pretty much straight up hip hop (in fact, that particular track features hip-hop star Busta Rhymes), the guys also branch out into vaguely Carribbean/Jimmy Buffet-like sounds on “Drnk Txt Rmeo,” and channel both late 90’s pop punk and a vaguely swing on “Live a Little” which also features vocals from guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo. They even manage to put out a song that Justin Timberlake WISHES he’d written with “Kissin’ Ears.”

On top of all that, Hall & Oates superfan McCoy got a chance to record with Daryl Hall.

But no Gym Class Heroes CD would be complete with out a dance club friendly track, and the single “Cookie Jar” is right on the money. I believe my summary of it when I first listened was “It’s making my hips move in vaguely Gabe Saporta-like ways.” The song is pretty much ideal for close grinding on a dark dance floor.

It seems fitting that the Tuesday after the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, the 2007 winners for “Best New Artist” have put out a CD that proves they’re more than just a one hit wonder.

“The Quilt” drops today, September 9th, 2008.

Want a second opinion? CubistManifesto‘s got her own review up in her blog. Go check it out!