Simple Plan – Get Your Heart On!
Possibly the poppiest of the pop-punk set, Simple Plan are back with an incredibly fun record. I remember seeing them at Empress Ballroom in Danbury, CT (otherwise known as the shittiest venue ever) back in 2002 and they rocked major sack. It’s hard to deny that they just write catchy songs that I’m a sucker for. The first three tracks on the album can go against anything else this summer. “Can’t Keep My Hands Off You” gets a little help from Rivers Cuomo in typical Weezer fashion and “Jet Lag,” a strong duet with Natasha Bedingfield is the new long-distance relationship anthem. Get Your Heart On! is defintitely worth a spin, just leave your scene badge at the door.
Set Your Goals – Burning at Both Ends
Reigning kings of the half-time breakdown are back with Burning at Both Ends. Set Your Goals have distinguished themselves from the masses with introspective, dual vocal attack and killer jams. On first listen, I don’t hear a great lead single and the tunes are not as heavy as This Will Be the Death of Us, but they are cohesive and fun to listen to. If the album title didn’t give it away, the past few years have been tough on the band and their frustration, joy and journeys comprise the material for the new disc. Musically the record is not a huge leap forward for the band, but then again, nothing about pop punk screams evolution.
The Wonder Years – Suburbia, I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing
A lot of hype around The Wonder Years. I’m not completely sold on the group yet, but they seem to have good intentions. Supposedly this is a good pop-punk record. I sampled a few tracks on iTunes and nothing blew me away. It’s your typical progressions and overwrought lyrical fare. That being said, I’ll still shout out a band that’s keeping the dream alive. Maybe I’ll come back to this when there’s more of a musical drought.
Honorable Mention: Taking Back Sunday – Taking Back Sunday
The original line up that brought you the MySpace-profile-quoted classic Tell All Your Friends is back, (mainly because their last few record sucked and they needed scene buzz to make money). Taking Back Sunday can be credited with inventing the dual vocalist sing/scream back and forth style that has become so popular in punk during the last decade, and with guitarist John Nolan reunited with mic-swinging singer Adam Lazzara, we get more of the same whiny, raspy moping. They’re are certainly moments of note on their new self-titled disc, but the whole reunion just feels contrived. If you liked their debut ten years ago, you might be able to stand a couple more uninspired tracks from the Long Island quintet. Somewhere Jesse Lacey is plotting his rebuttal.