by Mansoor Syed
(There’s a tl;dr summary at the very end, if this is all too much)
I had never heard a song by Simple Plan before “Taking One For The Team” except for What’s New, Scooby-Doo?, the theme song for the TV show of the same name. That was a damn catchy song, especially for a kids’ cartoon, and so I had decent expectations for this album.
Two Sentence Track Summaries:
- Opinion Overload – The song features punk-esque riffs and exhilarating tones. Most veteran fans of Simple Plan loved this song dearly and hoped to see more of this “pop-punkery” make a return later in the album (foreshadowing, it does).
- Boom! – This song is incredibly catchy and bears resemblance to many of Daughtry’s hit songs; like a listener in the comments under its music video put it, it’s like an alloy of All Time Low and pre-hiatus Fall Out Boy. I won’t be surprised if this song goes mainstream.
- Kiss Me Like Nobody’s Watching – Picture a movie sequence of various scenes featuring a teenage boy chasing the girl of his dreams. This is the funky, upbeat song playing in the background.
- Farewell – Fans of There For Tomorrow and alternative rock in general will certainly love this track (and the album it adorns); Farewell is a riveting song that will arouse lazy tweens and mosh pitters alike.
- Singing in the Rain – Well that was a nice change of pace! I’m not a fan of reggae, but if this is what pop-reggae sounds like, then count me in.
- Everything Sucks – Remember those teenage boy bands on television in the early 2000s? Well, Simple Plan is doing a pretty job imitating them here; if you were a fan of Drake Bell or tobymac back in the day, you’ll love this track.
- I Refuse – Every album (with exception, of course) has its filler, lame-ass track, and this was Taking One For The Team’s; a good seven seconds of the chorus played repetitively in my head until I grew sick of it. But hey, something had to compense for the quality of the rest of the album.
- I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed (Feat. Nelly)- This song was a controversial topic in YouTube comments and on tumblr fanpages, but in the end it was agreed that although the song was unlike the songs Simple Plan has been known to put out, it’s a fantastic song all the same. It’s one of those radio songs that really grows on you, assuming you don’t love the song the moment you hear it.
- Nostalgic – This is another rom-com soundtrack song; it sounds good enough to feature in a movie but it’s not memorable enough to buy for a dollar and ten cents. Your mileage may vary of course… it just sounds a tad generic to me.
- Perfectly Perfect – It’s a soft, acoustic, sweet, romantic piece… the perfect supplement to a heavily set punk-rock album. It’s a nice change of setting that calms the listener down, just enough to prepare for the animated ambience of the next track.
- I Don’t Wanna Be Sad – The perfect song to end any album; if the album was a movie soundtrack, this would be the credits song. It’s upbeat and exciting and makes one hell of an outro.
I notice that the album in its entirety is a very diverse one. It features several different genres of rock in its eleven-song mix (not to mention one absolutely delicious reggae song). Of course this was a dangerous decision to make, since only a handful of people may like enough of the music on the album to purchase it. Does a risk like this deserve to be remunerated? I should think so, but I personally am appreciative of many, many different genres. If you’re a strict punk-rocker, give the whole album a listen before you go buying it, as you may only like a good half of it.
From what I can see, long-time fans of Simple Plan either loved or hated the album; either the album was too experimental for them and they grew nostalgic of Simple Plan’s older music or the album was a laudable and commendable work that, as expected of any band growing in popularity, deviated from its original style. The style change certainly isn’t as drastic as Bring Me The Horizon’s, but it’s not as subtle as Pierce the Veil’s either.
My favorite track is Boom!, despite fans’ controversial disposition towards it. I’m not a huge fan of mainstream music, mind you, but every so often everyone has to fall in love with at least one mainstream song. It’s mainstream for a reason, after all.
My least favorite track would have to be I Refuse, just because it’s reminiscent of those particular mainstream songs that drive you crazy to listen to after the first few times. It plants a seven-second earworm in your head, kind of like a lasting bad taste you try hard to wash out.
To summarize: don’t be too disappointed at the lack of continuity in the Simple Plan discography so far; it seems to me like they’re headed a pretty good way. Traditionalists, take heed!
The album features songs of punk-pop as well as those of the mainstream genre and also one gorgeous reggae track. I’m definitely buying this album, but Simple Planners beware, it’s not exactly like their older stuff.