Review Summary: All American Nightmare, indeed
Before I dissect an album like Hinder’s All American Nightmare
, I go through first with a leisure listen, locating the eight or nine sex-party rockers and the two or three ballads and set down mental bookmarks. I do this for a number of reasons: 1) to make sure that this is, indeed, another sex-party mainstream rock album; 2) to make sure that the formula for future commercial tactics with this album are likely to be the same as those of any other mainstream rock album – i.e. label releases a couple rockin’ singles, followed by a ballad, wash, rinse, and repeat; and 3) to see if this album is any better than last week’s band’s try to fit into Chad Kroeger’s Carhartts – in other words, are the songs just as catchy, or even more catchy, than Creed
’s early 00s output? Can I feel this ballad’s croon in the pit of my gut, and will my ex love it and think of me, maliciously? Will it conquer the radio with something akin to a “This Is How You Remind Me”-like effect or, specifically in Hinder’s case, a “Lips of an Angel”-like effect? You know that kind of thing.
But that’s just taking albums like All American Nightmare
at a leisure listen – how could I possibly figure all this out just by doing that? Well, against the credit of many mainstream rock albums, sadly, there is a tendency for many of said albums to be lacking in the depth department. When something like Dark Horse
– I mean, All American Nightmare
comes my way, I typically know what to expect, and I know there won’t be much more than the aforementioned to find by delving into and absorbing the album than what I could get with little more than a, yes, simple, negligible leisure listen. Yes, I know: you scream, what a shitty critic!
But hold on, please; I didn’t finish my story. I always go ahead and delve into the album, exam it, and do my critique fairly anyway.
I still get the same damn results, though, if not even worse than before.
Sometimes I really think it would be nice to take the easy way out with something like Hinder’s All American Nightmare
. If so, I could avoid having to go into all
the reasons why this is 1) a generic, been-there-done-that deal and 2) well, a rehash of a rehash – which is really, really bad
for Hinder. You see, a further look into the rockers that Hinder have given us here reveals that, yes, this album “is full of songs about strippers and fu
cking,” to quote a certain Facebook status. Except there’s a problem with this, more than you would have initially thought just by reading that description: these songs sound generic and contrived – don’t laugh – and could have easily been b-sides to Hinder’s first 2005 release, Extreme Behavior
. I say this because the hooks are just as memorable as your seventh fu
ck with your fourth girlfriend – seriously, who gives a damn at that point, and why does it stand out? Point being: they’re forgettable
and totally routine, worse than that even.
First single and title-track “All American Nightmare” has vocalist Austin Winkler playing the bad-boy card behind crunchy guitars, the vocalist’s gruff bite as painful as ever. “Come with me and lose some sleep,” he sings, tempting another girl in the crowd, all the while repulsing listeners everywhere with his false-confidence. Man, listen: you ain’t goin’ to get the babes with that, is what I say. “Hey Ho” follows in with like arrogance, alongside Hinder’s by-now-expected haughty attitude of bi
tches and beer bad-boy, back-alley-American deal. The hook is admittedly dry, despite the added “hey ho”s the boys throw in for the crowds at the concerts to belt. It’s apt to say that Hinder’s songwriting has slipped noticeably at this point in their career – this was evident when they were all but plagiarizing some of the 80s rock greats with their last 2008 release, Take It To The Limit
. Here, though, All American Nightmare
finds Hinder following Nickelback
all too closely in their tactics at mainstream rock, next to the likes of recent Puddle of Mudd
as well. Need further proof? Count how many similarities that you can find between Nickelback
’s grotesque and appalling “Something In Your Mouth” and this album’s “Strip Tease”. Seriously, try it.
The general cool
consensus on Hinder’s big-hit ballads, “Lips of An Angel” and “Better Than Me”, is that the songs are shi
t; however, you can’t
deny the commercial drive that the songs carried with them back in 2006 and 2007 when they were released to radio, respectively: the songs were destined to be hits. Here on All-American Nightmare
, though, the ballads are uninspired and sound awfully generic, much worse than the likes of “Without You” and “The Best Is Yet To Come” from 2008’s Take It To The Limit
. On that album, at least the songs were modeled after chart-toppers from twenty years ago; here, well, the ballads are modeled after shi
t. Seriously. “ Everybody’s Wrong” has Winkler, arrogant as ever, pointing fingers and blaming the girl this time (again), hiding behind a cheap remake of the melody for “Lips of An Angel”. “What Ya Gonna Do” is likewise a rehash of, uh, a depressing country song with a tagged on power-distortion chorus that soars to new heights of absolutely nowhere. “This Life” is much the same way, except borrowing more so from Nickelback
’s palette instead of Hinder’s own.
If Hinder are going to be generic, they are going to go all out while doing it: this is
awful mainstream rock right here, guys. Albums like All American Nightmare
are the reason why a lot of us hate said genre and their gruff sex-beer crazed showmen. I’m not being unfair either – I assessed the album both ways, leisurely and in-depth, marking out what I didn’t like and what I did like (sarcasm intentional). What it boils down to is that Hinder used up all their commercial melodies for 2005’s Extreme Behavior
, got desperate and borrowed abundantly from the 80s rock greats on 2008’s Take It To The Limit
, and tried to recycle themselves, and Nickelback
, with this year’s All American Nightmare
. As you can imagine, it’s nothing short of being awful. Avoid.