As far as I know (you may correct me on this one), but this is the lengthiest Bosstones release thus far. With sixteen songs, you choose when you may Pay Attention or not.
The opener Let Me Be is pretty satisfying. What I like about it is that the new guitarist does the off-beat ska strumming in a tone that really takes up lots of space. So even when he's playing clean, it's very heavey and full. The album also delivers the goods with Bad News and Bead Breaks (sort of a swing/honkie tonk feel), High School Dance (I assume it's about Columbine HS), the empty politics of All Things Considered, and the latin-esque She Just Happened. My favorite would have to be the frantic Riot on Broad Street.
But with 16 songs, Pay Attention suffers a bit from what I call "White Album Syndrome." That just means too many songs. Every Beatles nut has his or her own idea of what to trim from the infamous White Album, and I'm sure some Bosstones fans have various views on how to shorten Pay Attention to, say, 40 minutes. Over the Eggshells, Finally, I Know More, Temporary Trip, and to some extent, Allow Them, just take up space. The songs sound like they were written in a hurry and have little substance to them. And So Sad To Say, although a single, is not very memorable at all. The Impression That I Get, that grossly overplayed Bosstones single from some years back, has more merit than this attempt to get some radio airplay.
But Pay Attention is worth a used-CD price. The dull moments just kind of roll off your back, but the good songs really do stay with you. And who am I to say what is good and what is a waste? You may find the whole thing essential to your daily listening. But the Bosstones have come a long way and their new-found musical maturity is nothing to sneeze at.