Review Summary: Fluff like cotton candy
Ah, the cover album. It is very difficult to seriously review one of these because where one would grade songwriting it is nil, creativity, while maybe done well, is still severely lacking, and the general redundancy of the entire album just makes the listen of each song fairly… well, disappointing. However, that is not to say that cover albums have been done well; Between the Buried and Me
’s The Anatomy Of
… was a fairly well executed cover album that managed to blend the unique sound of BTBAM yet still remain true to the core of the original song, if only slightly. But the other thing to keep in mind also was that The Anatomy Of… was done after three full length albums on BTBAM’s part. When it comes to Explains It All
, it is after Four Year Strongs
(official) first full length album and because of this the entire album in general reeks of a lack of artist creativity in their ability to write and put out all new songs. But all that aside, did they actually pull it off well? We’ll see…
The 90s. When I first think of it I think of old-school gameboy, pogs, Surge, lots of Pokemon, and times when the only music I heard was stuff being played through the FM radio. While not entirely growing up in the early 90s (born 89) I still carry with me vague memories of radio rock friendly songs and, being born and raised in Seattle, a whole lotta grunge. While hearing this album it definitely touches off a spark of nostalgia, hearing the songs of old that I grew up on and, to this day, still carry a special place in my heart. I have never been a personal fan of Third Eye Blind or even The Smashing Pumpkins for that matter but hearing “Semi-Charmed Life
” and “Bullets With Butterfly Wings
” can make me crank up the volume a couple notches whenever I traverse the radio dial. But after hearing Explains It All I can clearly say that the covers on this album are a definite hit and miss, but still fun nonetheless.
The inspiration for making this album comes from the personal influences of the members of Four Year Strong and they throw a very big influence of their own genre into each song, the typical fast-paced hardcore influenced, sugary pop-punk. That being said, a lot of these songs are out of place here to the max. Songs like “So Much for the Afterglow
”, “Bullets With Butterfly Wings
” and Nirvanas “In Bloom
” do not match the fun pop-punk pace that Four Year Strong sets their renditions of the songs at. Because of this they are a chore to listen to without having to just completely skip the track altogether. The dual vocals of Dan O’Conor and Alan Day just cannot match the power of Alanis Morrisettes vocal range or the humdrum of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain (RIP).
But that doesn’t mean that Four Year Strong completely fail in their attempt to cover some 90s favorites. Their first covers posted on their Myspace, “Absolutely (The Story of a Girl)
”, and “Semi-Charmed Life
” is pulled off exceptionally well and combined with the energy of their genre of music, will be a summer favorite for the little kids for the next couple years. “Spiders
” and “Roll To Me
” are also pulled off fairly well, if a little redundant in parts.
So with all the glaring lows and the average high parts of this cover album, is Explains It All worth your time? In all reality it would be best not to buy the entire album and perhaps download the said ‘better’ tracks of this album. In truth this album just seems unnecessary for a band that has only released one major label album, so this cover album is really nothing but a lot of fluff to carry them on throughout the next year where, hopefully, they can start to write some original songs for the world to hear. Yet while this album is fluff, it still carries a lot of sugar that only the pop-punk genre can carry with it; kinda like… cotton candy. Fluff like cotton candy.
Absolutely (Story of a Girl)
Roll To Me