Sum 41 is arguably the most popular pop-punk (punk-pop?) band out there, along with Green Day and Blink 182 among others. Their questionable behavior (streaking in videos?!), which also includes their level of maturity (how high can it possibly be?), make them all the more lovable. And by the way, their music isn't too shabby either. They have taken a turn to more metal like, with metally guitar riffs and solos in more songs than one. However, they still have those pop-punk roots in songs that have incredibly catchy choruses and loud, distorted power chords.
In June of 2004, the boys from Canada were in Congo doing some charity work when they were trapped in unfriendly fire between the country's hostile enemies. Now they release Chuck, named after a UN aid worker named Chuck Pelletier, the man responsible for saving their lives that fateful day. Without him, these guys might not be here today at all, let alone release an album. You think this man should be remembered? I do. And they made this wonderful album just for him.
The album kicks off with the Intro
. Now, nobody knows what to expect from a song called an introduction song. Look at All Killer No Filler. There's a "scary" voice saying a really cool rhyme. What the hell? And while this isn't anything like the AKNF intro, it is different from the album. It's just a guitar part, very soft, barely getting any louder through the song. The suspense builds, until No Reason
begins, and it starts with a bang. Very catchy power chords and a "Hey" chant starts, and the following riff is equally catchy. So is the verse...and oh yeah the chorus. The chorus is catchier than the entire song, which is pretty damn catchy. It's hard to explain, just the way it's sung, along with the backing vocals. This is possibly the catchiest song on the album, but that is debatable since many songs are very catchy. The first single We're All to Blame
comes in, with a metally riff and a chant enters. It's obviously a political song, with Deryck singing "How can we still succeed, taking what we don't need/ telling lies, alibis, selling all the hate that we breed/ Supersize our tragedies/ Bought in the land of the free" The chorus completely slows down, the instrumentals stop for a few seconds, and it's interesting to see the change of volume in the song. The transition of soft to loud to soft again flows smoothly and fits easily, and sounds good too by the way. Now, looking at the title and length of the next song, Angels with Dirty Faces
may sound like a filler because the title is random, just like a filler, and the song length is just 2:16, short even for a pop-punk song. It sounds like a ballad, or just a slower song to start, but twenty seconds after it began, the power chords, drums and bass kick into full gear. Very fast paced and catchy, it's a pretty strong song which can hold its weight.
After hearing three loud and pop-punk-y songs, it's nice to hear a change. Some Say
starts soft, gets a bit louder, but mostly stays quiet. It's not acoustic, for the drums and electrics kick in and provide an interesting tone to the otherwise quieter song on the album. They remind you it's not loud by putting a few strums here and there with a clean tone on a guitar. There's a little guitar solo here, which compliments some solid drums by Steve-o.
And here comes the controversy. The Bitter End
is the song that's most called out when it comes to ripping off a band, saying it sounds like "Battery" by Metallica. While I have never listened to that song, it's gotta be pretty damn good if this sounds like it. It's not catchy at all; it's just a good song. It's the most metal on the album, with high guitars and a couple of solos, which will probably attract anyone into any genre of rock music. Fast drums on offbeat compliments the guitars again.
Open Your Eyes
is the song that attracted me to this album at first, probably because of its wickedly fast drum work on the hi-hats by Steve-o. The chorus is incredibly catchy, while having strong singing by Deryck with those background vocals backing him up every-freaking-where on the song, which is fantastic. The solo is short, but it's very fun to play and pretend to play [a-la air guitar =)]
Before I start to talk about Slipping Away
, I missed about the first ten seconds of it because the volume was too low. If it was a little lower, I wouldn't have heard the first minute. That should probably tell you something about the song. It's very soft, with a soft guitar part with very distorted vocals on top of the soft singing by Deryck. This isn't acoustic either, because the drums come in and a string part (violin, probably) in the chorus, and then in the outro. It's catchy, actually, with an occasional hit on the tom on the drum set. This all leads to I'm Not the One
, which is probably the complete opposite of the previous track. A powerful but simple guitar riff comes in, and then the power chords turn to full volume on the amp. The verse is angry, and shouted, which actually, in my opinion, sounds good. The chorus is pretty catchy with the changing of lead vocals. Welcome to Hell
starts with a pretty catchy guitar riff, which is repeated throughout the song. The chorus is catchy, but it's short. After not hearing much bass at all, there's an awesome solo by Cone, a definite plus. Same goes for Steve-o, playing a paradiddle for about 22 seconds STRAIGHT. VERY impressive, I must say.
Now for the other single, Pieces
. It sounds like a soft ballad, and it may be because it doesn't get all that loud. "I tried to be perfect but nothing was worth it/ I don't believe it makes me real/ I thought it'd be easy/ But no one believes me/ I meant all the things I said." Those lyrics are sung in the song, and I personally like them. The chorus is very catchy and I was addicted for weeks. It doesn't have all those power chords (it has some but they’re not very loud or important), just a guitar riff played over, and the bass is audible. Another solid drum beat compliments all the aforementioned info on the song, making the song all the better. There's No Solution
kicks in, and it's amazing how many catchy songs there are. The drums may sound a bit experimental with some random beats, and a guitar riff is repeated. The chorus is very catchy with strong background singing and moaning (haha, but it does sound good). The guitar riff may get a little annoying, but it's only noticeable after many listens. It's a very simple song structure, with the intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge etc., but it's catchy, especially the mini-breakdown in the bridge.
Finally, we get to the end of the album, 88
. It starts off sounding like a standard pop-punk song with its high-pitched guitar riff and solid surrouding instrumental, but then it quiets down dramatically with a clean guitar tone. The snare is hit and it starts rocking again with strong power chords, drum beat and singing. This is, like "The Bitter End," more metal than the rest of the album because it has that guitar solo. It's not as good as the Bitter End one, but it's there and it's fast. After the solo, it gets quiet and seems like it would end, but a piano part is played and another verse is sung. Fantastic way to end the song and to wrap up the album; it's one of my favorites.
-More metal influence on the guitars
-A lot of catchy songs and choruses
-Strong drums, bass and backing vocals everywhere
-Might be a rip-off of other bands
-Nothing else, really
Overall Album Rating: 4/5