Review Summary: simple, enjoyable pop-punk.
No matter how many times I’ve tried, I have almost never enjoyed pop-punk music. I often find that pop-punk albums are either too sketchy, or the complete opposite, so overproduced and glossy that it has little lasting impact. Likewise, I find their singers to either be to awful, or to have too squeaky clean vocals to merit listening. I’m pretty picky with my pop-punk music, but I have great news my friends: I have found a pop-punk album that I actually enjoy listening to! It isn’t because I have suddenly changed my mind about my feelings towards the genre, no, it’s more that Drop Out Of Life
successfully checks off everything I ever wanted done on my pop-punk list.
Although the album claims a rather smooth listen, they aren’t exactly catering to babies. They’re still throwing in lyrics like “fucking prick”, and destroying ears with gang vocals, they’re just not doing it often. In fact, more often than not the band decides to play songs in half-time, which is both a good and bad idea. It’s a good idea because it often ushers that “stuff just got epic” feel, but there’s a problem. The band plays in half time so often that they unintentionally make songs drag, and no one wants that. This is problematic since the songs are already quite slow by themselves - forcing half time so often makes it seem more like an alternative rock album.
This Time Next Year have been compared to many old and contemporary pop-punk bands, but I believe they sound closest to Yellowcard. Like Yellowcard, they are best when dishing out sunshine soaked melodies that ooze happiness and drip joy. Apparently knowing this, the album is an absolutely mushy affair, which brings to mind embarrassing first kisses (or even hugs), and the crushes that went with them. Dishing out handfuls of jello and large scoops of vanilla ice cream, the band is clearly attempting to hit the pleasure centers in your brain. The music is completely reliant on its melodies, which turns out to be good, because the melodies are good. Top that off with excellent production values, great drumming, catchy riffs, and likeable vocals, Drop Out Of Life
is an exceedingly enjoyable pop-punk album.