Nick Bognar
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Nick Bognar


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Nick Bognar - I'm in Love And I Hate It (No Label)

I know you can't judge a CD by its cover (or who you're gonna love by your lover*), but I automatically like Nick Bognar better than the last dozen artists who've submitted music to me solely on the presentation of the disc. We're talking vivid colors, professional photography, shrink-wrapped...the whole nine. Everyone else, it seems, has been sending me CDs with labels and jackets and press kits printed on a home printer that appears to be running out of ink and consisting of out of focus or highly pixellated shots taken on their best friend's disposable camera. The lesson to be learned? We know it's music, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the visible aspects!

As for the music, it's power pop. Bognar's clearly got a good stack of records that say things like "Material Issue" and "The Knack" on the side. And he's clearly picked up a lot from those records. There are some damned good melodies on I’m In Love And I Hate It. Seriously, Nick Bognar has a gift for melody that rivals, say, Dudeface from Fountains of Wayne or Girlygirl from The Blissters. The arrangements are pretty solid too-my favorite moment is the a capella bit at the end of "It Doesn't Work Anymore."

Sure, the chord changes aren't particularly new, but neither were any of Bob Dylan's and he's pretty top shelf, that guy. In a sense, that's actually a wise choice on Bognar's part. He's obviously very concerned with his lyrics, and most of them are pretty amusing. It's refreshing for a solo, indie, whiny-voiced guy to make you feel like he's smirking through every word as if Life's a Joke and You're In On It. I mean, could you picture Whatshisname from Bright Eyes or Sissypants from Dashboard Confessional singing lines like "We can cook meth up until we explode/That would be Hollywood cool?" Or what about "I want money if I can't be happy?" And I'm not gonna quote it, but "Just Like Me" has a great malaphor verse about Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons which cracks my shit up (although it's scientifically inaccurate, as no distinction is made between the two very separate species and he calls them Jurassic, which is a period that ended before humans began!).

One thing, though, is that I felt that for all the emphasis he put on the lyrics, they could have been stronger. It's not like they were weak lyrics, but they just weren't that strong. I think he may have been too tongue-in-cheek for his own good. Some of the lines were too long and actually work against the meter of the song, which detracts from his quite obvious skill at song craft. It's almost like he's trying too hard to be clever. Just let the clever flow, baby!

On the whole, I'm In Love And I Hate It is a pretty solid power pop album. Hopefully his next record will bring him up from Romantics/Late '70s-Early '80s Kinks territory into Cheap Trick/Late '60s-Early '70s Kinks territory.

*Bonus Points to those of you who know what song that's from. Email me so I can send you your Bonus Points.

- Jargon Chicago


"Im In Love and I Hate It" EP- 2005



In the current world and musical climate, where gorgeous people
pitch-correct and produce their way into the national ear, Nick Bognar
has emerged as the perfect opposite of the mainstream- modest-looking,
modestly-produced, and deadly intelligent. Bognar mixes sharp lyrics and
sticky pop hooks with a balls-out live show in order to assure that he
will be ringing in your ears on the ride home from the bar (in the back
of a police car).

Nick Bognar takes a very personal approach to writing songs, taking his
most striking (and often embarrassing, sometimes infuriating) moments
and transcribing them into song. The premise behind Bognar's recent
debut album, "I'm In Love and I Hate It" is that Bognar himself can't be
the only person broken by love. If you're one of those people, sing
along. If you're one of those people who likes to laugh through the
suffering, clap your hands. If you're not one of those folks, then buy
Nick Bognar a beer and join the chorus anyway.