Review Summary: "I held out some hope that they might recapture the magic of their debut with hits such as "Running Away" and "Crawling In The Dark." Instead, they continued their Moby-Dick like quest for their White Whale, another incarnation of "The Reason."
Yea, it's another Hoobastank album. Nope, you're not excited either? I remember being really excited upon the release of The Reason
thinking the band was going to progress from their major label debut. The Reason had quite a few good songs such as "Out Of Contol" that made the cd worth the money even though it contained the terrible duo of "The Reason" and "Disappear". I looked forward to the release of Every Man For Himself
thinking they'd get that pop-ballad nonsense behind them and go back to rocking. Instead, I got a big mess--the rock wasn't very good "Inside of You," and the ballads were exceedingly bland: see "If I Were You" or "If Only" for proof. However, Every Man For Himself aged well, "The First Of Me" is arguably the band's best song, and their are several other worthy songs. Now, upon the release of their fourth major-label album, I held out some hope that they might recapture the magic of their debut with hits such as "Running Away" and "Crawling In The Dark." Instead, they continued their Moby-Dick like quest for their White Whale, another incarnation of "The Reason."
For(N)ever (don't get me started on how lame a title that is) kicks off with "My Turn" which serves as a passable slab of generic radio-ready rock. However, it does nothing to match the likes of "Crawling In The Dark" or even "Born To Lead" in terms of good debut rock singles. "I Don't Think I Love You" is the first of many mid-tempo songs where we find Doug bitterly singing about some generic failed relationship. After this, we find "So Close, So Far" which is, sorry to overuse the word, but you'd have to listen to this album to see how accurate it is, another generic pop ballad. I was so bored by the music that I didn't bother trying to care about the vapid lyrics.
Hoobastank reach their high point of For(n)ever (which really isn't much more than a molehill), with the bitter rocker "All About You." The lyrics are still pretty insipid, with lines like,
"But its not all about you, all about you, the more you speak the less I care about you, you, you, you."
but at least the music gives a jolt to the tired listener. "The Letter" follows with the only emotional song here that connects with the listener--the tale of a husband discovering a damning letter from another man is cliche, yet Doug puts his heart into it, and for one fleeting moment, I can buy into the rage he expresses throughout this album.
For(N)ever is an album about break-up, heartache, and general dispair. That said, "You're The One" is totally out of place. After listening to almost half an hour of woe is me non-sense, the sweet sappy lyrics of You're The One are jarring. As simple and tepid a ballad as Hoobastank has ever written, "You're The One" is pleasant but fleeting and ultimately disposable pop-balladry. However, it presents their best shot at making some sort of dent at pop radio with this album. This song just screams, "The Reason Pt. 3"
The oddness in the lyrics continues: next up is the angry cry for liberation that is "Who The Hell Am I?" followed by a plea to a lover to come back on "You Need To Be Here." At this point, I was totally lost trying to figure out what Doug was getting across. Finally, the album ends after an angry kiss goodbye with "Gone Gone Gone." This song works musically, but once again, the terrible lyrics such as, "By the time you hear this song, I'll be gone gone gone." just ruin things. Overall, this album is just a vengeful screed against some lady who offended Doug, with entirely out-of-place moments of sacchrine-sweet wannabe "The Reason" pop balladry. It's fair to say that should Hoobastank make a fifth album, I won't be rushing out to buy it.
Recommended (Only Mildly):
All About You
You're The One