“Kansas,” the new EP by The After Party is…confusing. On one hand, this is pretty standard, catchy, top 40-style pop music. There’s definitely a Plain White Ts vibe going on, especially on the tracks “Waste the Day” and “A Better Me.”
If I heard this playing on the radio, it would seem, at first, to fit right in. Likewise, the songs are about a very top 40 radio subject: Love. Falling in love, being in love, loving the wrong person. It’s all vague enough, and therefore universal enough, that I imagine that a lot of 14 year old girls can relate to it. This is not a bad thing: the pop radio music scene is built on the musical tastes of 14 year old girls. This means that the songs must cater to the emotional lowest common denominator. This type of pop music tends to be inoffensive and be either full of current popular culture references or none at all. And herein lies my confusion.
On the second track, the aforementioned “A Better Me,'” vocalist Kenny Greeley* drops f-bombs in the chorus. I’m not sure if this is so that the bleeped-out radio version will seem edgy or what, but it seems like a bad idea to throw repeated profanity into a song of this style. This, coupled with outdated cultural references (a “Daisy Duke smile” on the track “She’s Got a Boyfriend”? I’m an old dude, and I can’t even picture that) lead me to ask “just who is the target audience? Is there even a target audience for this?”
I’ve got it! “Kansas” by The After Party is the perfect dance pop album for creepy old dudes who are trying to impress 14-year-old girls! Wait, that can’t be right…
*Kenny Greeley recently left the group, but I believe he was vocalist on this EP.