Review Summary: You either love it or you hate it. I guess I'm one of the few that like it.2 of 8 thought this review was well written
Here’s the thing with Underclass Hero: You either love it or you hate it.
Look to your bottom left. You see the “User Rating” review box? As of the time I’m writing this, The 1-3 bars take up 220 votes. The others, 3.5-5 take up less than half of that, 85 votes. Out of the so many who hate the album, compare it to Green Day’s rock opera epic “American Idiot” , and prefer Chuck , AKNF, or DTLI, I ask why?Once you get past the corny similarities to the aforementioned “American Idiot” and large differences from the bands previous albums, you can find some great gems of music. Here’s the rundown from a guy who can at least show pride in saying this is his favorite Sum 41 release as of yet.
1) Underclass Hero
Underclass Hero is the title track and first single of the album. It’s lyrical structure and guitar opening is very similar to their previous hit “Fat Lip” and I think in making this track the band was hoping for people to either not notice the difference (nice try Deryck) or to fit the song in with an “underclass theme” A demo version called “Subject to Change” was released on special editions of Chuck. If you like this song, check out the other one.
2) Walking Disaster
One of the best songs on the album. It’s opening’s softer, emotional lyrics turn into this great pop punk rock piece, and the bridge and end of the song goes back to the beginning, yet with a happier lyrical feel. Frankly, not only is this song one of the best on the album, but many fans agree it is one of the best the band has released, although not very commercially popular.
3) Speak of the Devil
The song starts out soft, gets louder during the chorus, and softens again for each verse. I don’t know what it is with this song, I just love it. It has one of the best openings of any song on the album. For most people, SOTD is the start of their least favorite parts of the album, but for me you’ll have to wait one more track
4) Dear Father
This is a very heartfelt song from Deryck’s perspective about his absent father he never knew. It’s a great song if you can get into it, but I like most people can’t. It’s one of the only tracks on the CD I would replace, but I at least see why the band put it one there.
5) Count Your Last Blessings
Kay, here we’re getting back to the earlier punk side of the album, this one more so, with it’s heavier guitars and fun beat. Ever try singing the whole chorus in one breath on pitch? It’s hard. REALLY HARD. On this track everything really comes together, more so than the first 4 except for Walking Disaster. The edgier mood is great and it would’ve been greater if the song lead straight into March of The Dogs instead of the mediocre filler “Ma Poubelle”
6) Ma Poubelle
This little jingle is a filler about having sex in French. Really guys? Just skip this track, there’s really no point
7) March of The Dogs
March of The Dogs is one of the best political songs out there, mainly because they went so far as to metaphorically blow up George Bush’s head. (Take my word, never listen to this song out loud with a bunch of Republicans. IT’S A VERY BAD IDEA.)
Aside from that, the song is great especially the last 45 seconds that lead into “The Jester”
8) The Jester
If you like an edgier song with heavier guitars and a switchy rock feel, than chances are that you like this song more than “March of The Dogs” The song is already more sinister as you start listening to it, with a cackling laugh in the background. The footsteps at the end of the track are a great silencer and a break from the music now that the CD is half done.
9) With Me
The first of three ballads, With Me is one of those cheesy songs you would hear on some lovey-dovey movie or TV show. The song is great for the first 5 to 10 listens, but after I while it’s a bit of a drag compared to the rest of the album. Unless you REALLY like the song, it will get boring quickly.
10) Pull The Curtain
Pull The Curtain is the song on the CD that for most people screams out “Look at me, I’m a big cheesy mess of copycat pop punk.” To be brutally honest, this is my definition of great pop punk song, with all the changing styles, layered vocals and energetic beat. Most other I hear is copycat. The outro that sounds way too much like “We’re All To Blame” Is unnecessary, since it would’ve been great flowing into the next track. All in all besides that, I don’t really have much to complain about. Great work guys.
11) King of Contradiction
K.O.C. is the fast-paced, quick, real punk song of the album, and the half-screamed vocals make it even better. Sadly, it’s the last great song before (for the first time) a Sum 41 album ending that many don’t like.
12) Best of Me
Just like the first one “With Me,” “Best of Me” shows the band’s softer ballad-like side. And just like before, the song is cheesy and it gets old quickly. That said, “Best of Me” is still the best of the three “ballads” of the album, with more sincere vocals and lyrics and a more fun tune to sing (or plainly hum) to.
13) Confusion and Frustration in Modern Times (C.A.F.I.M.T.)
Oh Lord…..This is easily the most corny punk-like song of the album. I can hardly stand it anymore. Although I get some people like it, to me there’s really no point in it, and for it’s filler-like sound, I’ll have to rate this one a…
14) So Long, Goodbye
This is totally a rip-off of Green Day’s acoustic ballad smash-hit “Good Riddance”
Everything about is copycat, from the chords, to the same lyrical qualities, etc. etc.
Do yourself a favor and skip 2 minutes in on the next track
15) Look At Me (Hidden Track)
Look at Me is a great acoustic short song, much better than “With Me”, “Best of Me”, and “So Long, Goodbye” combined. Why it was hidden, who knows? It great, and the only reason I keep my CD in after “King of Contradiction”
Now who wants some more:
Ooh, looky! Bonus tracks!
BT) No Apologies
No Apologies is a solid track, similar to CAFIMT but much better. The chorus is the standout moment in the track because the instruments are quite normal and simple.
It can be found on the Australian, Japanese, Korean and British copies of the album
BT) Take A Look At Yourself
I have no clue why this wasn’t on the original album. It’s easily better than a quarter of the songs, and the best of the three bonus tracks. The evocative lyrics and just plain cool-to-listen to guitar riff is something you just want to bob your head to.
It can be downloaded if you buy the rest of Underclass Hero on iTunes.
BT) This Is Goodbye
This could’ve been a great closing track, but it wasn’t. Seriously guys, what were you thinking to put these as bonuses, their so much better! ARGH! Either way, this is the worst of the three bonuses, but nowhere near bad. It can be found on the Japanese and Korean pressings of the album.
So there you have it. Underclass Hero from my point of view, and once you get over the fillers and cheesy tracks, the album is a great listen. The only real problem I have with it is the bad flow between songs, and why the bonuses weren’t on the album. If you had to keep it to 14 songs, here’s how I’d rearrange them:
Take A Look At Yourself
Count Your Last Blessings
March of The Dogs
Speak of the Devil
Best of Me
Pull The Curtain
King of Contradiction
This Is Goodbye
Look At Me
But whatever, it’s how you say what you want. For those how don’t like this album, just wait later this year. The new Sum 41 with Tom Thacker will have a hell of a new edgier album in store for us. All we have to do is wait.
Speak of the Devil
Count Your last Blessings
March of The Dogs/The Jester (best listened to together)
Pull The Curtain
Take A Look At Yourself (bonus track)