Review Summary: NFG try to grow up and miss the mark by a mile with this uninspired piece off sugary poo not fit for human consumption of any sort. Call it what you will, just don't call it good as this is one of the weakest releases of the entire year.
Pop Punk or Pop Pulp, that is the question when listening to New Found Glory's latest release, Coming Home. Fame, however large or small, can do a lot to change a band. And it can't be denied that New Found Glory have enjoyed great fame in their somewhat brief but productive recording career. It also can't be denied that over the course of their last three albums, including this one, NFG have strayed somewhat from their pure Pop-Punk roots. The change that started on Sticks And Stones stylistically and continued dramatically on Catalyst, which saw the band take on a bigger, fuller, more modern rock sound
, would now seem complete. For better or for worse. And what used to sound like a straight up Pop-Punk/Melodic Hardcore band now sounds curiously like a bland Modern Rock-Pop band. And whether or not within the strict confines of this bands genre this is considered selling out, buying in, or simply the natural evolution of a band who is now an MTV staple playing to the little girls, one thing is for sure. And that is this album could use some of that old punk/hardcore energy NFG used to have. Sadly, its seldom to be found on this record.
Love songs, nothing but love songs. And the album opener is no exception. When I hear the phrases "Pop-Punk" and "Melodic Hardcore" it would be nice if the lead off track of NFG's new album would at least strive to meet those standards. "Oxygen," apparently a tune about how a guy can't live without some chick, is just silly patter. And worse yet, its boring silly patter. Sounding like neither pop or punk or anything remotely close, this is just three minutes of sugary, by the numbers sludge. The guitars are modern rock bombastic, vocals whiny, rhythm section a dull thud. Lyrics are dumb. Off to an ominous start at best, but things liven up on the very next track "Hold My Hand." Nothing special, but after the dreary opening track anything would sound good. Hold My Hand is disposable guitar pop at best played louder then it should be by the group, and sprinkled with sing along "do do do's" throughout. This guy wants to hold someones hand and take them anywhere they want to go. I have no idea wtf he is going on about? "You smell like how angels ought to smell" singer Jordan Pudnik sings. And while his girl may smell like roses, his lyrics just stink. "C'mon hold my hand/I'll take you anywhere/Waking up to the green of your eyes is something I'll get used to." Poo. Perhaps in the world of teenage romance this is pretty serious stuff. But I was a teen not long ago and I must have missed this ridiculous part of it. Worse yet on this track the music quickly degrades into a bouncy modern rock like stomp played at 2X speed that only a truly deaf person could appreciate.
Continuing down this dismal path for the next few tracks, "It's Not Your Fault" is a piano
driven tune that stumbles forward with a generic melody, generic sounding guitars, and "the sound of two hearts beating as one" lyrics. Sweet. Very sweet. "It not your fault so please stop your crying now" Jordan sings. And if I could have only stopped listening to this drivel maybe I could have. But the four minute "On My Mind" soon comes around to do nothing more then bring more tears with bland riffs, trite vocals, and our guy once again taking himself and his dumbass romantic pains just a bit too seriously for any of this to be any fun. Granted, these themes are nothing new in all of rock. Its just that they need the musical goods to back it up. Songs
. Its still the music that counts and makes everything viable. And on this album by pop, punk, rock, or otherwise standards, these tunes have nothing to back them up. And it shows all over this record.
Its the same from here on in. Neither going downhill, uphill, or sideways, NFG are apparently content these days with making music that is not exciting, lively, or remotely original. Even unto themselves. We get the overblown ballad "When I Die" complete with a faux string section and plodding melody and a requisite bombastic chorus and silly melodramatic lyrics (when I die blah blah blah I'll see you again blah blah blah) and the acoustic guitar led "Too Good To Be." Which sounds like a cheesy campfire sing along or a mid-eighties hair band attempt at subtlety. Extreme, anyone? The over the top angst of "Boulders" that once again finds this band turning in a modern rock lite performance complete with a ready made bridge designed to get your arms swaying in the air with a "girl chorus" (gasp) of "I never said that I didn't need you/Put down your arms and wrap them right around me". And finally the last nail in the coffin, the gloriously tired sounding and cliched "Connected" which finds Pundik declaring "Hurry down to me/And I'll make love to you/We'll be connected" as the band pumps out uninspired drivel the likes of which is not suitable for anything pop, punk, melodic hardcore, or what is supposed to be a creative blend of the three. What a shame.
Somewhat slick, boring, and absolutely overwhelming in the emo of it all, Coming Home I'm sure is exactly what its supposed to be. I just wish "home" for this group of once halfway decent punks consisted of more then just warmed over lyrics of "boy needs girl/boy is sorry girl/come to boy girl" drivel, written and sung about so crassly it makes you cringe, and delivered by music so bland and uninspired it makes you wonder where the "pop" and "punk" part of it is. Must have forgot to unpack it when they got home, I guess? But whatever the case may be, if this apparently made for MTV collection of half arsed singles and overbearing power ballads is supposed to signal some kind of growing up process for this band and its legion of young fans, I would suggest they remember that growing up is no excuse for being stale near sellouts of the worst kind, and remember how fun this is supposed to be. If NFG make another clunker like this I'd be surprised if they can hold on to any part of their audience much longer, as this album is devoid of anything even remotely exciting, interesting, or stimulating in any way. An instant contender for worst album of the year, "Coming Home" indeed arrives at our doorstep DOA, and any sort of resurrection is out of the question beyond packaging it up for MTV and giving it a sales pitch on the latest episode of TRL. Get the cameras rolling, guys. NFG have some crap to sell.