Jude Christodal covers a song by Bread on his new album, King of Yesterday. Not that there’s anything wrong with that per se — but he could have spiced it up somehow, given it an interesting update. Instead, “Everything I Own” sounds nearly identical to Bread’s version from 1972. And Bread’s version is not very good. In fact, it’s so gooey that it barely passes as a legitimate song; it’s more like a jingle. This is not a good omen for Jude.
As a lightweight singer/songwriter record though, King of Yesterday nearly transcends its Bread-ness. This is because Jude plays to his strengths. His golden voice sounds smooth and clear throughout, and his songs, mostly acoustic, first-person sing-alongs, wear their pop sensibility unabashedly on their sleeves. “Everything’s Alright (I Think It’s Time)” and “Sit-Ups” drive purposefully down the middle of the well-worn roads of literate, sunny guitar-pop. And though predictable, ballads like the title track and the re-recorded “I Do” fulfill their heart-warming potential. The rest of the record floats by pleasantly, rarely veering from its tunefulness but never stirring up much of a ruckus. The final song, “Teenage Girlfriend”, boasts a notable horn solo and some pretty backing vocals.
King Of Yesterday came into being because Maverick rejected Jude’s other, more ambitious project, a 32-track demi-opera called Can’t Stop My Feet! Probably the record’s unpretentiousness as well as its blandness can be attributed to the rush. Like a Fountains of Wayne record, King Of Yesterday sounds great on the first listen. But also like a Fountains of Wayne record, King Of Yesterday goes in one ear and out the other; it’s ultimately rather forgettable stuff. That said, it beats Bread by a mile.