Best of 2016 Playlist

February 27, 2016

Simple Plan - "Taking One for the Team" Review

As far too many of the great bands of that era have, Simple Plan have descended into less punk, more pop. Fellow Canadian 00s pop punk stars Sum 41, will also be launching their comeback album. And of course we'll probably get new blink-182 material. So it would appear that all the greats from our youth (for those readers in their twenties) are returning to remind the fans of 5 Seconds of Summer, All Time Low, and Mayday Parade who basically created the genre those bands strive to emulate. 

But first this year will be Simple Plan's 5th album, "Take One for the Team". To buy their album on iTunes, click this (link). 

The resurgence of the kings of 00s pop punk is being heralded by this album, And, well, it's not what fan were expecting. These days, you get kids who listen to a little bit of everything. Fans of Adele can buy her album, steam an album from Bullet for My Valentine, and then fall asleep humming along to blink-182. And it would appear that, like too bands try to do, Simple Plan wants to appeal to every musical taste. In essence, they really are "taking one for the team" because there are tracks one can love, and others that will drive you mad.

Lyrically, the band sticks to the same old heartbreak, heartache, angsty teenager lyrics they've been pushing for over a decade. The SP guys are in their mid 30s. And sure, New Found Glory are another aging pop punk band from that era, but at least their music doesn't sound as cheesy or sickeningly sweet. On another positive note, Pierre's vocals have aged nicely, like a fine wine. Started out kind of bitter and annoying, but now he appears much more melodic and mature. 

The album's lead single was released back in October. And, well, it doesn't need much of a review. It just stinks. Simple Plan's misguided attempt at writing their own "Uptown Funk". Enough said. And whose brilliant idea was it to bring Nelly in to do guest vocals? Don't the Simple Plan guys know that you should never mix rap with pop punk. Imagine someone like Juicy J doing a verse of "What's My Age Again?". Ya, not a pretty picture is it? 

Another misstep comes in the form of "Singing in the Rain". The title makes one think, "oh great they're going to do some cheap show-tune inspired song". You'd be wrong, because the actual song is so much worse. Imagine if No Doubt, Sublime and Simple Plan all farted on a Warped Tour bus, this is what it would sound like. Make of the song what you will. It's one of those tracks that's open to interpretation. Some will love it, others hate it. But a general consensus could be that Simple Plan should stick to the alt. rock. 

Collin Brennand for "Consequence of Sound" put it best when he said of tracks "I Refuse" and "Nostalgic", "...heavy music for people who don't like heavy music." "Nostalgic succeeds more so than "I Refuse", but just barely. It's still nice to see the band bridging some of the gaps between mainstream and not-so-mainstream. They get enough of that good punk rock edge, but keep it accessible for radio listens. 

All in all, this album is a pretty good listen for those who go into it with an open mind, and don't expect much. It's been pretty obvious that for after the band's first two albums, they started embracing the pop side to pop punk. The band crashes and burns a number of times. But there are still a few moments that recall their earlier works. And the guys have made one blatantly clear, they don't give a fuck what the haters think. They do say that in "Opinion Overload" ("I'm doing things the way I want to")

Favorite Tracks
"Boom" is the album high point. "Opinion Overload" (the album opener) and "Nostalgic" are also must listen to songs. 

Rating - 7.5/10