Sum 41
Underclass Hero


1.0
awful

Review

by Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF
July 20th, 2007 | 131 replies | 38,393 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Painted the album as a faster, punker American Idiot, the reality is that the music is inoffensive and overproduced, and the political posturing is comical at best.

Everybody’s played them. You know those puzzles you do as a child where you’re given two seemingly identical pictures and asked to circle the alleged “differences.” The differences can be as blatant or as difficult to find as the puzzle-maker’s meanness will allow, but the one thread which runs through them all is that the final, most subtle discrepancy always appears to be designed specifically to fuck your little five-year old brain up and get you sent to bed early. The puzzles hinge on the brain’s tendency to present things as they should be rather than as they truly are; the brain obscures the differences so that it actually becomes a physical strain to recognise what’s completely obvious- that the damn picture of a boat on the wall is hilariously crooked in the second picture- and it only seems to become more difficult with age.

Sum 41’s fifth album Underclass Hero is essentially a more elaborate play on the same cheap trick, recycling ideas from their back catalogue, from other bands' catalogues and, impressively, successive songs from the same album. Lead single ‘Underclass Hero’ more or less borrows the guitar riff from 2001’s breakthrough single ‘Fat Lip,’ albeit with less rhythmic variation, and closely follows the half-rapped verse, ultra-melodic chorus blueprint it established. The former and ‘March Of The Dogs,’ the other pre-release teaser, are transparent attempts to ride the coattails of Green Day’s American Idiot (despite Chuck having been released in the interim), though with little of that band’s instinctive vitality and none of their inventiveness. The entire pre-release campaign appears to be have been designed to paint the album as a faster, punker American Idiot, yet the reality is anything but: the music is inoffensive and overproduced, and the political posturing is comical at best.

Frontman Deryck Whibley’s announcement that “[I’ll never] become a victim of your conformity” (‘Fat Lip’) seemed cute at the time; half-way through 2007, with the peak of anti-Bushism three years behind us, Deryck Whibley’s self-appointment as the Underclass’s “hero at large” is either really good or really bad satire- either way, it's not particularly convincing. ‘March Of The Dogs’ and ‘Confusion And Frustration In Modern Times’ operate along similar lines, the former closing with one of the most cringe-worthy eight lines in modern music: eight rhyming lines ending with ‘-ed,’ more reminiscent of a scene from Happy Gilmore than a serious political statement.. Similarly clumsy are ‘Dear Father’ and ‘Walking Disaster,’ a pair of demon-exorcising ballads aimed at Whibley’s absentee father; recycling a single vocal melody, lyrically, they’re deeply felt but totally inept. The singer seems more concerned with maintaining the rhyming scheme than actually making any sense.

While Underclass Hero isn’t completely bankrupt of originality like, for instance, Good Charlotte’s Good Morning Revival, it not as well-executed as the Madden Brothers’ latest foray into the world of plagiarism. Underclass Hero tries its best to be profound and musically challenging, however its only success is found, without exception, in the tracks which drop the pretense entirely and return to the formula which made the group popular to begin with. ‘King Of The Contradiction’ recalls vintage Green Day with razor sharp bass and guitar riffs and telephone-line distortion- there’s even a brief appearance of ska-lite horns. ‘Count Your Blessings’ and ‘Speak Of The Devil’ hint at the heavy metal influence almost entirely excised with the departure of lead guitarist Dave “Brownsound” Baksh last year. Surprisingly, the best song on the disc clocks in below a minute; the poppy, folky French-language number ‘Ma Poubelle’ is reminiscent of The Beatles’ ‘Michelle,’ only lewder and, by extension, more authentically French.



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user ratings (708)
Chart.
2.6
average
other reviews of this album
Jimmyfree450 (4.5)
Plain and simple, this album rocks from start to finish....

SowingSeason EMERITUS (1.5)
Giving Sum 41 the benefit of the doubt, this album is still too pop-oriented for its own good....

Steven McMahan (2.5)
Rivaled only by Minutes to Midnight as the biggest disappointment of 2007, Sum 41 return to the pop ...

Mike Stagno EMERITUS (3.5)
Sum 41 returns to its poppier roots and manages to craft a fun, enjoyable album....


Comments:Add a Comment 
LifeInABox
July 21st 2007



3707 Comments


Really that bad, Plath?

Mikesn
Emeritus
July 21st 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow you just beat me out...

I like this though

The Jungler
July 21st 2007



4827 Comments


The single off this was bad, and I figured the album would be bad, but I definitley didn't expect you to give it a one. I'd be surprised if I ever listen to this, despite enjoying All Killer No Filler at one point in life.
Review is good, of course.

LifeInABox
July 21st 2007



3707 Comments


I liked Chuck, that was one of the most well-done Pop-Punk albums I had.

The Sludge
July 21st 2007



2169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This comes as a shock. Chuck to me was a near perfect slice of pop-punk.

I guess it answers my question if post-"Brownsound" would be any good.

Skyler
July 21st 2007



1084 Comments


Score doesn't surprise me considering their main songwriter left.

AmericnZero02
July 21st 2007



3305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Is this review a joke? All those run-on sentences made this review a tedious read.

AmericnZero02
July 21st 2007



3305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"‘King Of The Contradiction’ recalls vintage Green Day with razor sharp bass and guitar riffs and telephone-line distortion- there’s even a brief appearance of ska-lite horns- and ‘Count Your Blessings’ and ‘Speak Of The Devil’ hint at the heavy metal influence almost entirely excised with the departure of lead guitarist Dave “Brownsound” Baksh last year."


To give one example.

porkchop182
July 21st 2007



151 Comments


if the album is that horrible why did you buy it and go to the trouble of writing a review.. jeez it cant really be that bad can it?

SynGates
July 21st 2007



2467 Comments


if the album is that horrible why did you buy it and go to the trouble of writing a review.. jeez it cant really be that bad can it?
ummm...ever hear of negative reviews?

Two-Headed Boy
July 21st 2007



4527 Comments


Most entertaining review I've read in a long time. Great great work.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
July 21st 2007



4925 Comments


great review dude.

El_Goodo
July 21st 2007



1008 Comments


Hmm I doubt it is truly this bad but the single was dissapointing it sounded like a complete rip-off of the earlier stuff except without any hooks.

dub sean
July 21st 2007



979 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

NIIIce Review

I completely agreeThis Message Edited On 07.21.07

Oblivioncry
July 21st 2007



601 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i do understand your points but the album is still entertaining though it may lack originality

anyway i agree with mikesn's review a bit more but you do show your problem with this album quite well

well a 1 is still very harsh, i will listen to it a bit more before rating it

TojesDolan
July 21st 2007



272 Comments


wait so we can't have an opinion on how bad this review is

I DEMAND RETRIBUTION

Anyway, Chuck had it's moments, but they were too metallica to be quite honest. This seems to Green Day, so I may buy it.

chickenfish
July 21st 2007



1008 Comments


The cd is awesome thus far.

They are back to their All Killer style, and it's just loud fun music.

Good cd so far.

spoon_of_grimbo
July 21st 2007



2240 Comments


nice review; short, to the point, and witty at the same time. it's convinced me not to part with any money for this album (although i wasn't planning to anyway, despite quite liking AKNF).

gets my vote.

spoon_of_grimbo
July 21st 2007



2240 Comments


wait... how long have we not been able to vote on staff reviews? or has it always been this way and i'm just a tard?!....

emogangstascotty
July 21st 2007



472 Comments


Its really that awful?. I liked All Messed Up from Does This Look Infected, and I was thinking of buying this..



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