Review Summary: Mature? No. Original? No. Good for its target audience? YES.
Being a nice and (trying to be) open-minded guy, when my girlfriend came back to the car with GET YOUR HEART ON!, I thought to myself ''let’s try it!'' even if Simple Plan doesn’t fit much with my music tastes anymore. Is the nostalgia enough to enjoy it? Do they follow the more experimental side (the self-titled), the more fun and innocent side (NO PADS, NO HELMETS…JUST BALLS! ) or the mix between the two (STILL NOT GETTING ANY)? But, the most important question regarding a band such as Simple Plan is, is it catchy?
Yes, it is. Teenagers will once again relate to the lyrics and sing-along to the choruses, just like it’s supposed to be. But for people that need more than that, people that think about what they’re listening, how does the album fare?
The first song, ''You Suck at Love'', starts things off well. Catchy riff, amusing and relatable lyrics, sing-along chorus...the formula is perfectly executed and makes it one of the highlights. It also leaves out the electronic beats and useless instruments found on their predecessor and goes back to a more organic sound like their debut. However, the album lacks consistency and not every song works as well as ''You Suck at Love''. ''Can’t Keep My Hands Off You'' is not entirely bad, but it’s writing is way too simple to make it anything more than catchy for a couple listens. The lyrics don’t really work either, sounding more stupid than fun or clever. But, to give credit where credit is due, the chorus is likeable and Rivers Cuomo’s delivery in the second verse sounds good enough, even if it’s pretty pointless.
Now that describes the album pretty well. The band is unable to align more than two good songs in a row and it makes the album difficult to listen in its entirety. The even-numbered songs are all disappointing in a way. ''Astronaut'' is the first ballad of the album and should definitely have been in their self-titled because of how similar it is to songs like ''Save You'' or ''I Can Wait Forever''. ''Summer Paradise'' is a generic summer song that rips off Jason Mraz’s ''I’m Yours'' and doesn’t fit with the rest of the record. While the track is still fairly enjoyable, the bridge featuring K’Naan is absolutely atrocious and is arguably the worst segment of GET YOUR HEART ON! along with ''Anywhere Else But Here''. ''Anywhere Else But Here'' has the out-of-place electronic beats from the last album and one of the most repetitive and boring choruses you will ever hear. It’s the only song from the album that is not enjoyable to any kind of degree. The ''last one standing'' (pardon the pun) is the inevitable ''heavier'' song that’s in every Simple Plan album since STILL NOT GETTING ANY (''Me Against The World'' and ''Take My Hand ''). While the riff is pretty nice, the rest of the song lacks any inspiration to make it more than a nice filler. The chorus is also filled with ''ohs'' which brings another weak point for the album.
The record in itself is filled with ''ohs'', ''yeahs'' and ''heys'' in every song (except maybe ''Gone Too Soon'') which becomes quickly evident and ultimately a tad annoying. The lyrics themselves aren’t anything great but sometimes they come out as fun (''You Suck at Love'', ''Loser of the Year'') or inspiring (''This Song Saved My Life''). That being said, most of the time, the lyrics are incredibly generic and they never feel like they belong on an album written by people that are now in their 30’s. However, young teenage girls don’t care about how creative or poetic the lyrics are, and they will relate to them, it will maybe save their life (coming back to that later)! The album is also extremely derivative, from the afore-mentioned ''Summer Paradise'' (Jason Mraz), to ''You Suck At Love'' (The New Cities), ''Jet Lag'' (Boys Like Girls) and ''Last One Standing'' (Paramore).
But, I still like this record, and one of the main reasons is the singer Pierre Bouvier. Nowhere in the album does he sound too whiny or too auto-tuned. I would even say that in ''Gone Too Soon'' and ''This Song Saved My Life'' he’s rather impressive. Re-listening to the first album is a good way to see how big the improvements are. His only weird moment is on the semi-french version of ''Jet Lag''. The rest of the band doesn’t do anything special (like they always did) but provides a nice backing track for the vocals. The only disappointing thing about the music is that lead guitarist Jeff Stinco could use more solos and real leads considering his talent (listen to his cover of Rush’s Spirit of Radio to understand where I’m coming from).
I may sound harsh for an album that I rated 3/5. But every song beside ''Anywhere Else But Here'' is worth listening at least once if you’re into this kind of music. Also, ''This Song Saved My Life'' is the other highlight of the album. The band asked the fans to ''tweet'' them how their music affected their lives and used some sentences in the song. They also gave some of them the opportunity to sing at the end of the song. The song is touching, the idea is nice and Pierre does, maybe, the best performance of his career.
In conclusion, if you can get past the fact that these guys are in their 30’s and not think too much about technical riffs or complex songwriting, you will like this album. It has strong vocals, good production, it's catchy, it's varied enough and it finds the right balance between all their other albums.
Highlights: You Suck At Love, This Song Saved My Life