|1. We're An American Band|
|2. Stop Lookin' Back|
|4. Black Licorice|
|5. The Railroad|
|6. Ain't Got Nobody|
|7. Walk Like A Man|
|8. Loneliest Rider|
|10. The End|
|11. Stop Lookin' Back (Acoustic Mix)|
|12. We're An American Band (2002 Remix)|
First of all, there's the title track. Drummer Don Brewer's first real attempts at writing music are present on this album, and we can see that they clash with the ideals of Mark Farner. Brewer wanted to write fun pop songs, while Farner wanted to write about society and the natural world. "We're An American Band" is the only song on the album written completely by Don Brewer, and although it has a really kicking beat, lyrically, it's nothing more than an advertisement for the band.
Contrast this to the three songs written by Mark Farner: "Creepin'," "The Railroad," and "Loneliest Rider." We see Farner being himself: analyzing life, society, brotherhood and human spirituality behind a veil of outstanding rock music. He gets a bit more experimental with some songs. "Loneliest Rider" contains a solo on the moog synthesizer, which fits well with the song's context about Western colonization of the New World and the downfall of Native American cultures. During the lengthy bridge solo on "The Railroad," there comes a point where Don Brewer starts beating a kettle drum, slowly at first, and then faster and faster, to mimic a departing train. This is emphasized by some scratchy guitar riffs from Farner, not unlike what Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre did in the song "Locomotive Breath."
The rest of the songs, which were written by both Farner and Brewer, are just pop songs without any real meaning, with the exception of "Stop Lookin' Back," in which Farner probably had some influence on the lyrics. Well, that and "Ain't Got Nobody" sounds like a classic Farner ditty about trouble with women. The songs all contain long instrumentals, a characteristic of style from the band's earlier days, but the pop influence is more present. Not that they're not fun to listen to (especially "Black Licorice"), but they're lacking something from the earlier days. In all though, I recommend it because it was the first album in the band's very slow evolution away from their hard rock days. This album is a pop album, but there's still a great deal of hard rock infused as well as the fiery drum and bass rhythms and enduring musicianship that made the earlier work so much fun to listen to. "Walk Like a Man," the best song on the album, is the best example of this ("Stop Lookin' Back" definitely takes second).
By the time they recorded "All the Girls of the World Beware," the band had done a total 180 from their hard rock roots. But "We're an American Band" is a good hybrid of their pre and post sellout work.
PS: I also told this manager about the picture of the group contained inside the CD Jacket. Now the band is known for wacky cover designs (such as "Survival" and "E Pluribus Funk") but everyone knows that nudity and patriotism are the two biggest advertising gimmicks in the Western world. Well, the band delivers both with their publicity photo. By the way, I'm just reviewing the copy of the album that I have, which is NOT the remastered version. I don't know how the bonus tracks are, or what pictures were added to the extended liner notes. But hopefully, the information provided about main tracks will be helpful to you.