“Stereo Hearts”

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Reviewer

Bob Hoose

Album Review

This is Gym Class Heroes’ first hit from its fifth effort, The Papercut Chronicles II. And the eclectic New York hip-hop/pop-rock hybrid act blends rap and reggae rhythm with Maroon 5 lead Adam Levine’s lilting tenor to create a lightweight ode to love. Throughout the tune, frontman Travie McCoy weaves an extended metaphor in which he compares his heart variously to records with worm grooves, boom boxes and mix tapes. “If I was just another dusty record on the shelf,” he begins, “Will you blow me off and play me like everybody else?”

“My heart’s a stereo,” Levine adds in the chorus. “It beats for you, so listen close/Hear my thoughts in every note, oh, oh, oh/Make me your radio and turn me up when you are low/This melody was meant for you just to sing along to my stereo.”

McCoy raps about the wounds that love sometimes inflicts: “Furthermore, I apologize for any skipping tracks/That last girl that played me left a couple cracks.” Yet his overall attitude maintains a positive groove: “I’m over that/’Cause holding grudges over love is ancient artifacts.” Still, a couple of lines flirt with mild rebellion as love gets personified as a thumping rhythm attracting police attention: “Would you turn my volume up before the cops?/And crank it higher every time they told you to stop?”

The song’s video sports an old-school vibe as Travie and his bandmates sing in an urban setting. It’s complete, appropriately, with what once might have been dubbed a “ghetto blaster” and ’80s-style break dancing.

The end result is an eminently listenable, hooky tune that—unlike several other Gym Class Heroes hits—doesn’t require (moral) ear plugs every time it’s cranked up.

Bob Hoose
Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.

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