Rookie of the Year – Canova Presents: The Goodnight Moon Part II

written by: August 24, 2013
Album-art-for-The-Goodnight-Moon-Part-II-by-Rookie-of-the-Year Release Date: August 13, 2013


Rookie of the Year’s fifth album, Canova Presents: The Goodnight Moon Part II, is a sequel to the 2006 album The Goodnight Moon. Rookie of the Year’s independent release is full of peppy pop-rock with an air of teenage angst and romance.

In the beginning, it’s fun, high-energy music, but after six songs, the good feeling is over; everything starts to sounds the same. How many times can lead singer Ryan Dunson really sing about love in such a high-pitched, adolescent voice?

This album is definitely youthful, and because it is reminiscent of being 16 and shopping at Hollister, it doesn’t have the most mature sound. Dunson is 28 years old, yet ROTY is still making high school tunes.

The Goodnight Moon Part II is a continuation of the pop-rock that was popular approximately seven years ago. The band started in 2005, and it sounds like now it’s producing a more intricate version of the music it was making then, without much significant change.

On this album, the band has a strange tendency to produce songs that are youthful, both in sound and lyrical content, even though perhaps it is beyond that. It feels like a front to pander to a target audience of teens.

On “Colors of Summer,” Dunson sings, “And it feels like we are/Young kids in the pouring rain/Smoking cigarettes to ease the pain.” A few tracks later, on “Raleigh,” he sings that he’s “stuck between 28 and 17.”

Content like this feels less like healthy nostalgia than an attempt to recreate juvenile feelings. This style of pop-rock has its angsty moments, and there’s nothing wrong with that for a young band. The only problem is that ROTY isn’t such a young band anymore. As the members grew up, they should have had more mature experiences to sing about.

At times, though, the music sounds youthful in a good way. The track “Wild and Free (They Way It Goes)” is fun and peppy. It is one of few songs on the album that seems young without being awkward. 

“Leave It All Behind” dips into Lumineers territory with the lighter melody. It’s got oomph, but in a folk-pop fashion as opposed to the more pop-rock feel that Rookie of the Year tends to create. The repeated lyric, “So let’s leave it all behind,” is backed up with melodic “ooohs” and whistling in the background. This track is more in line with folk-pop norms.

It sounds as though ROTY is jumping on trends—first stuck in the dying wave of emo alt-pop, and then following the hot music of the moment—rather than developing its own sound.

It is disappointing, because the band has been around for quite some time, and “Leave It All Behind” simply sounds formulaic, rather than displaying musical maturityy. 

Dunson has a voice that is often perfect for this style, but on tracks with stripped-down instrumentals, it sounds too whiny. “444” is a sad break-up song. In fact, nearly all of Rookie of the Year’s songs are about romance in someway, and on “444,” Dunson is complaining emphatically like a teenage boy about a lost love. 

Overall, The Goodnight Moon Part II is indeed fun, but it feels repetitive and uninteresting by the end. Some of the mixing and composition is impressive, especially on the opening track, “Everything,” which has sonic moments that are pretty unique.

The intrigue that the opening song creates sets the bar for the rest of the album, and isn’t exactly met. A handful of songs are worth a listen, but Rookie of the Year packs too much teenage angst to digest in one sitting.

Rookie of the Year – Canova Presents: The Goodnight Moon Part II tracklist:

  1. “Everything”
  2. “Love/Me/Crazy”
  3. “…Light Years Away”
  4. “Three Words”
  5. “Wild and Free (The Way It Goes)”
  6. “Colors of Summer”
  7. “Save Me”
  8. “Leave It All Behind”
  9. “Raleigh”
  10. “Love and War”
  11. “444”
  12. “Sweeter (Bonus Track)”
  13. “Let It Play (Bonus Track)”
  14. “Colors of Summer (Acoustic Version)”