Four Year Strong
Explains It All


4.0
excellent

Review

by Chris Higgins USER (38 Reviews)
July 23rd, 2009 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A strange feat, but FYS has created an amazing cover album, surprisingly.

When Four Year Strong had first announced on Myspace, that their second full length album release would be a complete cover album, I had mixed feelings about what the band could do with something like this. It's the first time I've ever seen a band make a cd completely full of cover songs. Then they went to announce that the reason they're doing this is to give thanks to all the artists and songs that inspired FYS to make music. This is what "Explains it All" is all about. All of the bands covered on this album should praise FYS for taking the time to write no original music and completely redo a handful of songs we all know and remember from the 90's. Is it good though?

The answer is yes. Four Year Strong has successfully created a fast-paced, fun and catchy album full of cover songs. Every song they chose to do is well known, mainly for teens like me who grew up in the 90's. It ranges from older poppier songs to a harder alternative time of music which came later in the 90's. Every song is slightly changed in pace and tone, but the same old beats are recognizable and they still keep that same feel you get when you listen to the original songs. The album starts off with 'So Much For the Afterglow', the one song off the album I don't recognize. Either way, it's a great way to start this album. Just under 3 minutes long, it reunites us with that FYS sound to show us that the band isnt going to mainstream and changing it up under the feet of hardcore FYS fans.

This leads right away into the first single off the album, "Absoulutely (Story of A Girl)", which was released weeks on Myspace before the album was released. Originally done by Nine Days, FYS takes the speed and cranks it up a bit. The guitar stays the same as the original and the drums are a little tweaked to help with the change of pace. The part that shines though are the vocals, which are extremely well done in the song. Almost everybody in the band sings, so as our vocalist switch back and forth between sections, we still get that same old FYS sound we all love. Going from the fast paced beats of 'Absoulutely' to the acoustic opening of 'Ironic' was quite an awkward switch. It's also weird to hear this song covered on a FYS album, originally sang by Alanis Morissette, the song explains how strange and ironic life really is. The band keeps the acoustic opening but extremely speeds it up for the rest of the song. I enjoy this song though, it feels classy and real, something a good cover should do.

Yet again the vocals shine here, but mainly in the softer sections. Theres not as much as a scream-sing in acoustic areas, but the softness of Alan Days's voice makes those sections nice to hear. Originally played by The Smashing Pumpkinds, 'Bullets With Butterfly Wings' is my least favorite track of the album. The sound just doesnt fit with the bands vocals at all. Alot of the tones are out of place and it's the one song FYS shouldnt have covered by SMP, they wouldve been better off with something better by them. 'Semi Charmed Life' is probably my favorite off the album, originally played by Third Eye Blind, the song is noticed for it's raw and raunchy lyrics which were never to noticed at the time in 1997 when the original song was relesed. FYS does an amazing job here, it's a very poppy and entertaining song which Four Year Strong nailed in everyway possible.

'Spiderwebs', from No Doubt is yet another fun and catchy cover, but one of the elements that surely shine here is the ending, which featues a 30 second breakdown that would make any hardcore fan move their feet. I've been waiting for FYS to add that breakdown element into this album and with this song it shows they havent lost their touch. Their is a little more guitar added then in the original but the vocal transition was good, a great cover. Del Amitri created 'Roll To Me' to be a very feel good song, and now FYS has taken it, done their changes and now, over 10 years from the original release, has kept that same feel good sound of the song. Both 'Fly' (originally done by Sugar Ray) and 'In Bloom' (originally by Nirvana) are two of the most unchanged songs from the album. Though 'Fly' is fun and full of moveable beats, 'In Bloom' is boring and feels like a very uninspired cover. Though I love this song, nothing was changed, it's exactly the way it sounded back in the 90's.

'She Really Loved You' and 'She's so High' are great songs to end this album, 'She's so High' is softer and puts the listener into a finishing stage, where they smile and just feel good. Overall, Four Year Strong has released an amazing cover album, though I wouldve loved to hear some original music by them, they still do a good job with these well known 90's tracks and this album can almost never get boring, which is certainly a good thing.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
chiggles
July 23rd 2009


76 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's tough to review a full cover album so have mercy on me.

Thanks.

sspedding
July 23rd 2009


4773 Comments


no cover album should ever be a 4. I'm sorry. I've heard two tracks off this and they are average at best.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2009


17222 Comments


clarissa explains it all.

XXXpickemgenius
July 23rd 2009


139 Comments


From what i've heard from this it seems kinda meh.



HighandDriving
July 23rd 2009


3288 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Def not a 4, Fanboy alert.

cvlts
July 23rd 2009


8967 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"In Bloom" was soooooo bad...

what H&D said

but the review itself is prty much a track by track in paragraph form, so I'm kinda meh on it.

accompliceofmydeath
July 23rd 2009


4255 Comments


I highly doubt that this is a 4 but, I'll wait until I hear it i suppose. I would definitely rather have a whole album of new material though...

Edit: Also, Dante, do you just look through all of my CDs so we can comment on the same albums? Get out of my head!

Digging: New Found Glory - Resurrection

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"It's the first time I've ever seen a band make a cd completely full of cover songs."

There are many around chiggles.

ant4tbc
July 23rd 2009


373 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This isn't good, bro.

Knott-
Emeritus
July 23rd 2009


10198 Comments


lol

band writes none of the songs 4/5

i haven't heard this but i highly doubt it's good

and the decision to do this on your second album hints at a lack of creative output to me

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Strikey & sspedding, I don't think I would automatically say that a cover album cannot get a rating as high as a 4. I know that's not exactly what you wrote, but still.

I think it depends on the interpretations. For example, I just gave Def Leppard's 'Yeah!' a listen and while I only rated it a 3, some of the re-interpretations are rather good. Jeff Buckley's 'Grace' also has a few covers. I think if that whole album were covers, he could squeeze out a 4. But yeah, I know Jeff Buckley & Four Year Strong aren't exactly the same thing!

Douglas
July 23rd 2009


9118 Comments


Yeah but Jeff Buckley's good/awesome

Digging: The Preatures - Blue Planet Eyes

Knott-
Emeritus
July 23rd 2009


10198 Comments


Yeah, I guess you're right. It just doesn't strike me as though a band whose debut I've heard and wasn't overly impressed by would come out with what would need to be a basically classic rendition of non-original songs on their second release. Because yeah, Grace has a few covers, but when you say you think he could squeeze out a 4 that's what you're basically saying - that the versions would have to be classics. I don't think any record where an artist doesn't pen any of the songs from his own creativity could merit a 5, for example, and I'm doubly skeptical because... well, it's Four Year Strong! Lol.

cvlts
July 23rd 2009


8967 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

2.5 is a fair rating... 3 was my initial rating though

NEVERfade
August 22nd 2010


376 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

4........



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