Fitz & the Tantrums learned quite a bit between the making of the Los Angeles group`s 2010 debut "Pickin' Up the Pieces" and this year's "More Than Just a Dream."
And some of that had to do with putting the proverbial nose to the grindstone, according to frontman Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick.
"I knew we wanted to evolve, and that required writing a lot more songs," says Fitzpatrick, 43, who founded the group five years ago. "For the first record we wrote 13 songs, or 12 songs, and 10 made it on the record. This time we did 35 or 40, and from that we found the 12 perfect songs.
"Some went way over to the left, some went way over to the right, some were right in the middle. It was crazy. I've never been so single-mindedly focused on something for that sustained of a period of time, from the songwriting process through the pre-production and into the recording. I just lived and breathed this thing, but I feel like it was worth it."
The results bear that out. "More Than Just a Dream" debuted at No. 26 on the Billboard 200, 114 points higher than its predecessor. The first single, "Out of My League," also hit No. 1 on the Alternative Songs chart and Top 20 on the Rock Songs chart. Reviews have been overwhelmingly favorable, and many have noted the album's diversity, which Fitzpatrick says was also a result of the plethora of music available to the band.
"We didn't want to make the same record," the singer explains. "If we had made 'Pickin' Up the Pieces, Part 2' it would've been the safest choice but we wouldn't have respected ourselves. We wanted to let the diversity of all our musical influences come through and really plant our flag in the ground and say, 'We are pushing into this new territory because we really want to lay claim that we're trying to evolve our sound completely and fully here and not be pigeonholed.
"So the couple of rules when we were making the record was that no one could say it couldn't sound like us. If anyone asked, 'Are we taking too many chances? Is this too radical a shift from the first record?' it had to come back to the idea that we had to make a record that turned us on. If we did that, hopefully our fans would follow with us -- and we think they have."
Fitz & the Tantrums, Capital Cities and Beat Club perform Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-$35. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.
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