Gavin Rossdale once boasted higher fame than the woman listed in the lining of his solo debut, the very Gwen Rossdale who coaxed him out of the London clouds and into West Hollywood. Is this what Los Angeles creates, then? A tennis-playing friend of Brangelina who poses in unbuttoned shirts next to classic cars and open roads, spewing forth clichés like “there may be rocks in the water but still the river flows,” or “everything will change but love remains?”

When did this dark, grungy Ginsberg lover melt into a rock balladeer fit for the VH1 of 1998? Bush-era Gavin wouldn’t have been caught dead leading a U2-style chorus or joining vocal forces with Katy Perry. And he certainly wouldn't have mimicked Sting’s “worldly” sound on a song like “Future World.”

I can forgive a man who’s grown out of abstract poetry and Steve Albini admiration, but I can’t forgive a man who, beneath an overproduced wall of guitar, sees sense in “hamburgers so that we stay alive/but happy meals mean something died.” My 13-year crush has ended.

Grade: D+

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