Review Summary: The plan gets plainer and simpler: Wrong-era Weezer worship.
Poor Simple Plan... They sure have received a lot of crap over their decade-long existence. Some of it has been undeserving, while on other occasions they have made themselves far too easy a target. Following their harmlessly catchy first two forays into simplistic Blink Day 41 aping pop-punk, the Montreal quintet went from Metallica producer Bob Rock to Britney Spears producers Max Martin and Danja, on their confoundingly artificial self-titled third LP. Clearly a tell-tale sign of the direction Simple Plan would be exploring, they employ Canadian mainstream rock producer Brian Howes (Hinder, Puddle of Mudd, Boys Like Girls) on fourth album 'Get Your Heart On!'. The thinly disguised double entendre of the LP's title suggests a trip down memory lane to the band's not so serious past, and early signs are promising with opener 'You Suck at Love' being the kind of updating of their earlier sound that most were expecting three years earlier. Unfortunately, that is about as good as 'Get Your Heart On!' gets.
Unsurprisingly, the album is at its best where the band keep it plain and simple, by attempting to modernize a style they are already familiar with. 'Loser of the Year' typifies the infectious power-pop they were ultimately aiming for, even if the wrong-era Weezer worship is all too apparent. Of course, you have to take the bad with the good when it comes to Simple Plan, and the former category is highlighted by cringe-worthy lyrics such as "I'm living life in the fast lane, I've got a fridge full of champagne, and I'm hanging out with Lil Wayne". Later, closer 'This Song Saved My Life' utilizes the novel - if a little egocentric - approach of using fan messages to form the lyrics of the song, as well as including vocals from some of those devotees. While it's not as corny as it sounds, it only reminds listeners of tunes like 'Perfect' and 'Untitled', which prompted such sentiments... Songs which were filled with rawness and sincerity, of which this track could use more.
Whereas the subtle guest vocals of Mark Hoppus & Joel Madden made complete sense on their debut LP, 'Get Your Heart On!' features a hotch-potch of singers who only confuse matters into an unfocused mess. English pop songstress Natasha Bedingfield fares best with the call and response vocals of 'Jet Lag' making for an effective radio pop-rocker that plies the oft-used theme of long-distance relationships. Elsewhere, All Time Low vocalist Alex Gaskarth lends a dance-rock element to the underwhelming 'Freaking Me Out', while ill-fitting K'naan collaboration 'Summer Paradise' jumps on the Jason Mraz/Bruno Mars bandwagon, being a summery acoustic tune with Caribbean influences. At least we now know why Weezer's latest album was their best in a decade, since front-man Rivers Cuomo now hands off his junk to the likes of Miranda Cosgrove, All Time Low and Simple Plan... 'Can't Keep My Hands Off You' is yet another embarrassingly bad 'Raditude' reject (“We’re stuck like two pieces of velcro” for Christ’s sake).
While one could categorize the highs and lows of 'Get Your Heart On!' as "fun", its main issue is that momentum is too often stalled by bland, plain and unmemorable filler. The nondescript 'Astronaut' asks (and rhymes) "Can anybody tell me why, I'm lonely like a Satellite"", while the repetitive and cheesy 'Anywhere Else But Here' lacks the energy to transform it into a tune akin to their early fan favorites. The two tracks which disappointingly best sum up 'Get Your Heart On!' however, are the formulaic duo 'Gone Too Soon' and 'Last One Standing'. The latter feels neutered after beginning with a promising riff, while the former sees Pierre Bouvier lack the necessary gravitas to turn this predictable ballad from tepid to touching. Whether it be due to intentional handcuffing for accessibility purposes, or the band not having the ability to make the most of what they have to play with, 'Get Your Heart On!' is an album of missed opportunities. Despite being Simple Plan's poppiest release yet, it is also their least catchy, indistinct and forgettable.
"I want to throw this repetition out the window, I'm getting tired of wondering why I'm still here".
Recommended Tracks: You Suck at Love & Jet Lag.