Written by Fumo Verde
Yes, it was only time until Drake Bell made the jump from The Amanda Show on Nickelodeon to making music, or at least trying to. Bell, who had started his acting career at the age of five, began playing the guitar at age thirteen, and now at the ripe old age of twenty has come out with his second CD, It’s Only Time. Bell has a great-looking resume that includes some made-for-TV movies and shows on Nickelodeon, but that’s where he should have either stopped or got off the bus. There’s no other way to put this: this album sucks. I don’t know what his first one sounded like, but some record executive should have probably listened to it, so I wouldn’t have had to suffer through this one.
We start out hearing sounds from the bridge of a submarine. Admiral C.J. Abraham greets our ears with his faceless voice. Abraham co-wrote all these little ditties along with Bell and Michael Cocoran. You would think that with three of them working on songwriting one would have had something to say. “Up Periscope” is the first track, and when the music started, I thought I had popped in one of my eight-year-old nephew’s CDs. Not only does Bell come to us from Nickelodeon, so does his music. “Up Periscope,” like all the songs, is super upbeat and “happy-happy.” It’s the type of music that makes me angry. Angry that anyone would spend money on making bad music like this when there are kids starving on the streets of America as we speak.
This whole CD sounds like it was made for a pre-teen, after-church TV special. “The entire world is beautiful and I love you” is the theme on It’s Only Time and that course is never strayed from. If Bell is trying to break from his youthful ties, he best get off the set of Nickelodeon and go into the word on his own. The songs are contrived and the melodies bounce around like odd jams by The Beatles on bad acid. Like all sugarcoated pop artists, Bell has the illusion of being brokenhearted and blue, but there’s no feeling to it. No soul or spirit and nothing that catches the listener’s attention.
Even when I read the liner notes and the song lyrics, there wasn’t anything I could relate to. Some of his words were so out of whack, I had to refer to my buddy Ferg to see if he could make heads or tales of what Bell was saying. For example, in track number eight, “Fallen For You,” the song opens with “The first time I saw you, I thought you were barefoot. Your hair pulled back, your jelly shoes. Should I lie about my age? Your Buddy Holly glasses on a Betty Davis negative.” As these lifeless words are being spewed out, the music is moving at a Sesame Street-pace. Words like that with children’s music backing it up make my brain feel like it’s going to have an aneurysm. The fourth line in the title track states “I’m more refined in my recent years.” Yeah, that’s a big jump from eighteen to twenty, a coming of age so to say.
The worst thing to say about this CD is that it probably won’t be Bell’s last. But if he does come out with another one, I hope he lives more of life than what lays within the studio compound of Nickelodeon and The Amanda Show.