by Green Baron USER (159 Reviews)
September 14th, 2013 | 14 replies

Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pepper fuck around, and the results are less than satisfying.

I hate using the term "selling out". There, I've said it. What constitutes a band to be labeled as a sellout" The fact that their songs get daily radio play" The number of teenage girls writing their names down in their notebooks with little hearts next to them" Is a sellout an artist who simply changes their style of music" Many of those statements are normally what happens in order for a band to "sell out". Were Green Day sellouts when American Idiot introduced the dying band to a new generation of fans" Were Metallica sellouts just because The Black Album sold 30 million copies" Regardless, once a band sells out, it is deemed "un-cool" to like them anymore, and they must become a laughingstock to "true music fans".

And that's exactly what happened to Pepper.

They started out as a pretty decent ska and reggae band, making albums like Kona Town, and songs like "B.O.O.T." that weren't that bad. But over the years, their sound has become more mainstream, sounding more like Sublime with Rome than Slightly Stoopid. Their last album, Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations, was undoubtedly their worst one yet. It was incredibly stale, and none of the songs were memorable. That's why when I heard that they were releasing a new album, even though it would be on Island Def Jam Records, I thought they could rebound from a few bland ones. I probably shouldn't have been surprised when their self-titled album was even more poppier than the rest.

Normally, when bands make their sound more mainstream, the goal is to make it more catchier so it can get radio play. But Pepper manage to do the exact opposite; by making their music more poppier, they lose their charm that they had on earlier, more ska-influenced records. Lead single "Fuck Around (All Night)" is one of few memorable songs on here, and that's because it has an actual catchy hook. Its lyrics may be typical stupid frat-boy sex bullshit, but at least I can sing along to its chorus, which I can't say for most of the tracks here. So many of the tracks on this album are completely bland, and it's all because of Kaleo Wassman's monotonous vocals. More times than not, it just seems as if he's completely lost his energy and passion for singing. On songs like "Deep Country" or "These Hands", he wears the entire track down due to his sheer lack of personality. "Undone", meanwhile, manages to hit a new low for Pepper because it's a ballad, and a rather boring ballad too, with the track highlighting the more annoying qualities of Wassman's vocals. "P.O.Y.L (Party of Your Life)" contains the line "but we've been livin' in a cliche", which is followed by the line "poppin' bottles on your birthday". Even without the hypocrisy, it's a terrible party song with a beat lifted straight out of any hip-hop song in the past five years.

Luckily, the album closes with some of the album's strongest tracks. "Come and Get Me" manages to be a decent return to reggae roots, even if it's only for three minutes, while "Don't You Know" actually has a pretty catchy chorus that sees Kaleo stretch his pipes a bit, and it actually ends up being one of the most memorable parts of the album. Ending track "Illuminate" has a pretty ear-grabbing guitar riff, and along with a semi-captivating hook, closes Pepper on a good note. But three good tracks out of twelve isn't enough for a good album; hell, it's barely enough for a disappointing album. Pepper have clearly abandoned their ska-reggae roots, and have moved on to making mainstream music for the airwaves. But is that really a bad thing" If Pepper want to make pop songs and get rich off of them, who's stopping them" Certainly not me, they're already a lost cause.

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user ratings (18)

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 13th 2013


These guys are way to old to be writing a song like "Fuck Around (All Night)".

Digging: Carpenter Brut - CARPENTERBRUTLIVE

September 13th 2013


are they reggae or are they ska, or are they both?

September 13th 2013



September 13th 2013


I could have guessed.

September 13th 2013


Wait, I thought this was a totally different band with the same name. Wowwww, is this a sell-out record.

Digging: Ross From Friends - You'll Understand

September 13th 2013


sublime-lite [2]

September 13th 2013


Album Rating: 1.0

i liked sublime. i hated this. fuck around is only good song. 1'ing this rn

September 14th 2013


I agree Kona Town and No shame were decent then they went downhill fast.

October 2nd 2013


listed to a bunch of Pepper's songs from old to recent, can't get into them, I just don't think they're any good at all.

October 7th 2013


Aw man, this makes me sad. I saw these dudes live with 311 back in maybe 2006, and they were real solid then.

Green Baron
October 8th 2013


Album Rating: 2.0

which makes this album even more disappointing

October 30th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

This review is moronic and makes no sense. The reviewer obviously has no clue what he's talking about. Especially calling out Kaleo. First of all, half the songs you named and talked about his singing are not sung by him, they're sung by Brett (the bass player). Second of all, this album shows the musical progression of the band, they can't continue to make the same 3 chord reggea/ska songs forever. It's them evolving, not selling out, and maybe it's about time they get some radio attention. Before you write a bad review at least study up on the band and learn who does what! You sir are an idiot and have no idea what the hell you're even talking about

October 30th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

Also your user name has a Linkin Park refrence, you loose all music credibility for that one, those guys have made the same record at least 5 times

December 27th 2013


^^ this nigga cray, and an idiot.

Still, your taste isn't even half bad, so why give people the wrong impression with that awful name? ; )

Good review pos'd, shame to see this happen to the band

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