American roots-pop rockers Train have maintained an impressive career, albeit one that appeared to be propped up by their universal single of 2001, Drops of Jupiter. But the surprise runaway success of Hey, Soul Sister in 2009 and 2010 changed that, and the group is evidently reinvigorated, with the Drive By single seeing them bravely playing with brand new territory.

As the first single from their new album California 37, “Drive By” is a most unexpected song from Train. With its high-energy beats and lyrical zip, it reminds me of Bon Jovi’s best work. Before this, Train’s music seemed preoccupied with pain and sadness, as anyone who’s ever heard “Meet Virginia” can attest. “Drive By” is a massive shift; compare the two lyrics below:

“Well she wants to live her life, then she thinks about her life, pulls her hair back, as she screams, ‘I don’t really wanna live this life’” and

“On the upside of a downward spiral, my love for you went viral, and I loved you every mile you drove away, but now here you are again, so let’s skip the “how you been”, and get down to the “more than friends” at last”

The result is one of the perkiest songs of the year, and a great flowering of Pat Monahan’s musical range. Like Coldplay with Mylo Xyloto, perhaps even more so, Train seems struck by a desire to tinker with their tested formulas. As with recent Coldplay material, this will offend many long-time fans, but as a casual listener, I find this to be an interesting new path for the band. California 37 came out on the 17th of April 2012, so we still have to wait to see if “Drive By” is the rule and not an exception. However, the first single from any album is usually the indicator of what to expect, and if “Drive By” is representative of, then we have a very appealing single on its way up the charts.

It is an up tempo and fun song at the same time as well as undoubtedly, a perfect radio hit. The beat is extremely catchy. The track is about falling in love after a one-night stand. Musically, it combines pop, rock and folk sounds to create something that appeals immediately. Drive By is exactly the type of material I like to hear to get me in a good mood. It is also a great way to start the day. I would highly recommend this song, it’s addictive and amazing!


Pat Monahan’s vocals

Sing-along chorus

Simple, catchy arrangement


Lack of originality

Sometimes overly cute lyrics