Billboard Hot 100 Fest

Dr. Dog, "Shame Shame"

On its latest album, "Shame, Shame," Philadelphia rock band Dr. Dog combines elements of soul, "Sgt. Pepper"-esque psychedelia and old-fashioned rock'n'roll to highlight darker lyrical themes not found on previous releases. But balancing these cheery influences with the melancholy prose is the name of the game. The lively accordion and clanky piano on the song "Shadow People" recall Bob Dylan's 1974 country-folk single "Forever Young," but the cheerfulness seems to contradict Dr. Dog guitarist/vocalist Scott McMicken's strained lyric: "It's the right time for the wrong company." The somber track "Someday" is brightened significantly by a whistled melody, coupled with a psychedelic guitar solo that recalls George Harrison, and "Jackie Wants a Black Eye" melds bright hand claps and Sunday-morning church organ into the contrastingly sober lyric, "We're swapping little pieces of our broken little hearts." But hope still remains. On the title track, over soulful slide guitar, guest vocalist Jim James sings, "The life that I lived seems so useless now/And no, I don't regret a thing."-Erin Clendaniel