Artist: Simple Plan
Album: Get Your Heart On!
Genre: Pop Punk
When I was younger, I was rather pretentious about my taste in music, not to say that I’m not today, I just don’t like to admit it nowadays. It was made especially worse because a lot of the music I listened to really wasn’t all that good. But naturally, being a 15 year old boy, I knew absolutely everything there was to know about everything; and therefore my taste in music was far superior to everyone else’s. So through my many years of experience, and flawless taste in music, I was qualified to pass judgement on any band I wanted, mostly mainstream bands really. Bands like Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, and Yellowcard; mainstream incarnations of the really good emo and pop punk bands of the time. Simple Plan especially, they had become the face of commercial emo, and that just wasn’t cool. Of course, the whole concept seems silly now, emo is dead anyway, and of course, as emo faded away, so did Simple Plan, they were still hanging around, with various degrees of activity; a few tours and such, but for the most part, no one really noticed them after about 2005. Their new album, Get Your Heart On! is their attempt at emerging back into the public conscious, and earn a second chance in the music scene. So naturally, this album could have gone two ways; Simple Plan could have remained stuck in the past, and simply tried to re-create their faux-emo sound, and try to appeal to their old fans, of they could have realized that all those fans have since moved on, and made an attempt to produce something new, and hopefully a bit more mature, something that could appeal to a larger market, including the matured tastes of their old fans, as well as gaining the approval of newer fans. Thankfully, they close the latter, perhaps they realized that their old style had a relatively short shelf life, or perhaps they just grew as people and musicians. But regardless of the reason, they grew immensely, and Simple Plan have released a surprisingly impressive pop album.
Simple Plan’s old pop-emo image will be a hard one to shake, if anyone even remembered it at all. And with their reemergence onto the music scene, that is the first thing fans will remember when trying to place the band’s position in the vastly different music industry. And evidently, the band realized this was the first thing the public would assume, so they took appropriate measures to ensure everyone know that they were transcending from their now defunct emo scene, and into the mainstream pop scene, with the aid of big name guest vocals from the likes of Rivers Cuomo, Natasha Bedingfield, and Alex Gaskarth. The album starts off very strong with songs like “You Suck At Love” and “Jet Lag” featuring Natasha Bedingfield; the album’s first single, both of which reaffirm the fact that Simple Plan have grown up, abandoned most of their angst, and adopted some pop sensibilities, creating immensely catchy songs that I just can’t help but enjoy. “Jet Lag” is especially impressive and catchy; definitely my favorite track on the album, and it made me instantly realize that Simple Plan have grown up significantly over the past 6 years or so. Of course, the album isn’t flawless, such a transition is going to have it’s speed bumps, and occasionally the band will be sucked into their old style, such is the case with “Loser Of The Year”, which harkens back to their outdated old sound just a bit too much. Tthe album still certainly has a few hints of pop-punk peeking through, but there is a heavily emphasis on the pop, rather than the punk. And if nothing else, this album shows massive potential for further progression, and a staying power in today’s music industry, that they didn’t have before.
To be fair, I came into this album with an unfounded bias, I was expecting to have to sit through another awful, whiney, postmortem emo album, with contrived and way-too-angsty lyrics, but I could not have been more wrong, this album has a much more dynamic and interesting sound. Don’t be mistaken, this really is just a straight-up pop album, but I still have immense amounts of respect for those that can put together a dynamic and interesting pop album, without pandering to their audience with gimmicks and watered down songs. And Simple Plan did just that, no tricks, just good music, which was really a genuine surprise.