JR JR, “JR JR”
In July, jangly electro-pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. decided that they’d been mistaken for a race car driver for the last time. In a post to their website, the Detroit–based group announced that they were shedding their NASCAR–inspired roots and shortening their name to simply JR JR. Though they explained that the name change was primarily intended to lessen confusion, it also seems to be indicative of a new era for the band. On the self-titled JR JR—their third full-length—the group abandons their previously fuzzy, ethereal sound in favor of clean beats and hook-filled choruses. There’s no doubt that the band is capable of creating radio-ready pop songs—the album’s lead single, “Gone,” is guaranteed to be an overplayed hit with its whistled melody and thumping beat—but on their way to achieving this new sound, JR JR has sacrificed the sincerity that made them special in the first place.