"Why do so many people dislike Phantom Planet...and laugh when they say that I like them? Are pretty boys not allowed to rock...or pop-rock at least? You think the production of Mitchell Froom & Tchad Blake (Cibo Matto, Sheryl Crow, Crowded House, Ed Harcourt, Pretenders, Ron Sexsmith, Suzanne Vega, Tom Waits, the list really does go on & on) would've at least given them a little more respect. The Guest, in my book, is the best and most palatable of all these alternative-pop-rock acts that came out last year. I think Brian thought a little strangely of me for picking up this cd in the Boston Virgin Megastore but I think he got won over by them. We tried to see them later that fall at the Black Cat only to walk up to the line and realize that the show had sold out ahead of time. Hopefully the same won't happen with their upcoming show here in the DC area. (Best of luck in finding the double-disc version of The Guest with the unreleased title track, and live cuts of "Do The Panic" & "California." Even more luck in also finding the 5-song live promo that was released before the actual cd too. If you're nice, I might tell you who has it. ;-)"California" was the best thing about the ads for Fox's OC. Lead singer Alexander Greenwald even inflects a little country twang on "Always On My Mind" and "Nobody's Fault." I don't go a week without finding myself singing "Lonely Day" at least twice to myself...even without having listened to the cd in several months. There was a time too, in my more tortured moments, where "One Ray Of Sunlight" was my favorite of the tracks on here with the chorus of, "Try all you want to / I'm gonna try too / If I get one ray of sunlight to hold in my hand / Maybe we can be happy again." "Anthem" could be a postmodern protest song if played in the local football stadium's PA. "In Our Darkest Hour" is probably my least favorite of the tracks on The Guest; it's a little grungier, a little more garage than most of the songs and is mildly redeemed by the chorus' hook. "Turn Smile Shift Repeat" is probably their most atmospheric work to date and has drawn comparisons to dare I say it...Radiohead? The sax in the bridge makes the track though adding another layer uncommonly heard of in most of today's pop fare. "Hey Now Girl" works because it's under three minutes, same with "Nobody's Fault." The two of these songs together makes this little gay boy jump up & down like he's with a bunch of kids at their first rock show. I'm a little older so I can't jump up & down for more than six minutes at a time. I think Sheryl Crow might've sampled the opening drums on "Soak Up The Sun" from the ending drums of "All Over Again." "Wishing Well" builds up from a repetitive piano note to an epic masterpiece that could rival, dare I say it...Radiohead?...even including some Bachrachian trumpets. And you all know what a sucker I am for trumpets and horns in pop music. Album closer, "Something Is Wrong," stands-out as the warmest song on The Guest keeping it acoustic letting the bass guitar reverberate and harkens back to all those old acoustic acts from the Sixties. I think the future can hold even greater things for Phantom Planet, if the departure of drummer & Rushmore-star Jason Schwartzman doesnt affect the band too much. I would like to hear more Beach Boy style harmonies from them, but then again, I think everyone should be like the Beach Boys. I think it'll have to be their next album though to prove to the bulk of the world, yours truly excluded, that they're more than their famous last names...and that pretty boys really can pop-rock."
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 02/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Phantom Planet's debut "The Guest" is a bright, enjoyably catchy powerpop album. While most of the music and lyrics are pretty unexceptional, their experiments and energy make this a pleasant listen. It won't rock your world, but it will make it bounce a little. The popular single "California" is one of the weaker songs of this album, merely a simplistic yearning for... well, California. But the meat of "Guest" kicks off with bouncing love songs (the cute crush song "Always On My Mind") and panicked pleas ("In Our Darkest Hour," the desperate "All Over Again"). And the group veers into Radiohead territory with the somber, atmospheric "Turn Smile Shift Repeat," a surreal experiment that may be the best song in the album, along with the darkly enticing "Wishing Well."Though the guys in Phantom Planet aren't adolescents anymore, there's a feeling of teenagerhood in this album. "All I can do is hope that she is thinking of me/If I could blink/if I could breathe/If I could get my legs to move..." sings Greenwald hopefully. Crushes, hopes to go to faraway oases of fun, trying to stay together with a girlfriend and "lonely lonely lonely lonely days" are sprinkled through the songs of "Guest."Alex Greenwald has a nice versatile voice. It's clear and smooth; he can wail desperately like a man in a burning building, sing in monotone a la Thom Yorke, or just sing. The music is fairly typical, except when interrupted by faint electronica ("Turn Smile Shift Repeat," "Hey Now Girl") and the occasional dash of piano and sax. Lyrics are often quite typical (" If I get one ray of sunlight to hold in my hand/Maybe we can be happy again...") but occasionally they spring into well-written, evocative surreality.The adolescent vigor of Phantom Planet is what makes it sparkle. While "Guest" has the roughness and simplicity of many debut albums, it's a pleasant collection that hints at greater scope in their future."
T. Hawkins | Bethesda, MD | 01/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD was actually given to me from someone that had an abundance of CDs that were overflowing his case. I played it a couple of times and fell in love with it. I was living in Italy when I heard the song California, I always loved hearing it come on during the drunkin nights at the pool table. It was my 3-minute escape back to California. Over the last couple of years I have made a transition from rap to alternative/rock, and CDs like this have helped me in doing so. I grew up listening to Northern California gangster rap and never had the influence of some good-listenin rock & roll. I listened to Pearl Jam and Soundgarden but that was the extent of it. This CD is perfect in many ways. How the style of the singer blends with the melodies of each song is brilliant. I sometimes forget that "California" is even on the CD. We all wish for a CD that is going to be laced with nothing but great tracks and this is one of them. Not a fan of the last track, and "Anthem" is a little corny but still has a great sound to it. If you buy this listen to it all the way through, every song completely. Some will start out like duds and one is quick to hit next as I was, but give them a chance, those are the ones that will really catch your approval from the melody of the hooks. I haven't heard any of their other CDs, and I honestly don't think they will compare to this album but they will still be worth a try. "
Catchy and cool
T. Hawkins | 11/19/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"when i first got phantom planet's newest cd, i was skeptical but really it's a great c.d. don't let the mellow tunes on the audio sample fool you, The Guest is packed with tons of tap-your-foot songs and catchy melodies,good job guys!"California" is one of my favorite songs,it's got great lyrics and a different but cool sound."
Jessica | santa monica, ca United States | 03/27/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great CD. I originally bought it because it had 'The OC' theme song on it, and I didn't want to wait for the soundtrack to come out. But all of the songs are good... really catchy stuff you find yourself humming days later."