Simple Plan

Taking One For The Team

Written by: PP on 24/04/2016 17:37:07

It has been five years since Simple Plan returned to form on "Get Your Heart On!" by ditching grandeur pop rock melodies in favour of the upbeat, energetic pop punk they were known for on the first two albums. The Green Day "American Idiot" style of larger than life pop rock songs never suited them, so it's good to hear that also on fifth album "Taking One For The Team", we hear the same summery pop punk sound that the band are essentially known for. It's poppy, that's for sure, but the tempo is still largely at levels that qualify the expression as pop punk, even if there are a few moments of cheese sandwiched in between. Those turn out to be where the album stumbles.

With a plethora of unexpected guest stars from Nelly and R. City to New Found Glory's Jordan Pundik and Automatic Loveletter's Juliet Simms, the record is balancing on a razorthin wire between pop and pop punk on occasion. Some songs, like "Singing In The Rain" (feat. R. City) sound like beach pop and are very, very clearly written by professional songwriters rather than the band themselves, which means it sounds more like a bland pop track that's easily swept aside and forgotten despite the hip hop cameo by R. City towards the end of the track. Compared that to the fun, upbeat and bouncy "Everything Sucks" (no songwriters credited here), we're in straight up pop punk territory from any college party you've seen in movies throughout the years. This is what Simple Plan should be writing if you ask me.

The opposite applies to the massive cheese-fest of "Boom!", which again reeks of unnecessary radio pop songwriting that should be transparent for anyone over the age of 15. Compare that again to the high-energy onslaught "I Refuse" which manages both to have massive wooah-wooh crowd pleasers but also a punk-fueled tempo that should appeal to most fans of pop punk out there. There's just no question which of the two is a better track. That's why it's frustrating, if not outright irritating that the band has to delve into r&b right after on the Nelly featured "I Don't Wanna Go To Bed". It's an awful piece of pop/r&b gargage that should have no place on the record, especially not in between "I Refuse" and another solid pop punk track, "Nostalgic".

That's essentially the composition of "Taking One For The Team". A bunch of high energy pop punk songs that sound like Simple Plan are writing their first album again giving the record an upward pointing dynamic, standing next to boring, bland pop rock songs that feel out-of-place at best, forgettable and skippable at worst. The average rating reflects the mismatch between the good and the bland content.

Download: Opinion Overload, Farewell, Everything Sucks, I Refuse, Nostalgic
For the fans of: New Found Glory, Yellowcard, All Time Low
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.02.2016
Atlantic

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