Producer Tim Patalan, the arrangement whiz who shaped Sponge's big singles, chops the fat from the music on Jaded Era's third album, Study of the Human Race, until it's as taut as Leyden's midriff. Songwriting, woefully, has become obsolete, but that trend allows Jaded Era to work in the '80s power-rock tradition, offering clichés instead of actual lyrics -- "Baby, baby, baby, my heart's on the line," Leyden intimates in "My Heart's on the Line." It's a little like emo for grown-ups, with guitar solos in place of horseshit melodrama. The conclusion of Jaded Era's study? People want to live, love, get ahead, and have some fun. Sounds about right.