Review Summary: You people are just mean
Never before, have I heard an album that manages to be this incomprehensibly mediocre. I think that people tended to dismiss this album, based purely on the fact that it exists; but I feel like this is a bit unfair to the band and the album. I was just as surprised as everyone else when I realized that this band wasn’t long dead, but I suppose that stranger things have happened. Either way, I was fully prepared for this album to be all different kinds of horrible. I’ve only ever liked one of their albums, and even then; it wasn’t even that great. (For context, that album was “Every Man For Himself,” which is easily home to their best work.)
That being said, this album was surprisingly decent. It’s your pretty standard pop/rock affair, but it’s elevated slightly by the album’s vocal performances and production. The lyrics aren’t anything special, and at times, can be downright bad, but they’re sung well enough that the issue is for the most part, mitigated. Either way, the vocals aren’t perfect, and at times, it can sound a little for forced, or a bit too boring, which makes for a somewhat disjointed, (albeit still mostly enjoyable listening experience.
The album itself starts out surprisingly strong, with “Don’t Look Away” which, his driven along by a fuzzy, muted guitar riff, with layers of bright, bouncy synths overtop of it. The verses are extremely well performed, with quiet, confident, and slightly seductive vocals, that give the song an excellent atmosphere, with the backing vocals adding nicely to this already sonically rich song. This trend of surprisingly high quality continues on to the next track, “Push Pull.” This song is a bit lighter, and happier than the song prior, but it follows the same tendencies and is also good. The rest of the songs are all good, if not a bit unmemorable.
I have not listened to the album that was released prior to this, so I’m not certain how their sound has evolved/changed. Either way, this album is simply pop rock, with some garage rock and alternative rock influences. The musicality of “Push Pull” is pretty good, given the genre, and I have very few complaints on that front. A few songs, like “We Don’t Need The World,” stand out as being particularly bad. It’s not necessarily bad from a vocal and lyrical standpoint, but the instrumentals are so boring and uninteresting that it’s hard to enjoy. However, this album is home to a few songs that are legitimately excellent. “Buzzkill” is one such example. This song is pure entertainment. The song is driven primarily by a grooving fuzzy, bass that gives the song some energy, and elevates it above some of its contemporaries. And the verses on this particular song give off a sort of confident swagger that makes it hard to dislike this song. And the other parts of the song soar, as the vocals continue to be superb. The guitar parts of the song are lackluster, due primarily to them being painfully simple. If you know you know your basic open chords, than you know how to play this song.
The album loses momentum at the second to last song, however. “Fallen Star” is everything that everybody seems to hate about this band. Great production doesn’t save this song from flat on its stupid face. Boring music, boring vocals, and lyrics ripped off from “Black Swan” by The Struts. Should you choose to listen to this album, I recommend skipping this one upon you first listen, because it will definitely leave a bad taste in your mouth. However, the last track, “There Will Never Be Another One” is quite good. It’s a mix between a boring ballad, and a pretty decent pop rock song. The lyrics are nothing special, but they’re nothing to scoff at either. So even through “Fallen Star” is dreadful, the album still manages to close on a high note.
It’s actually quite sad that this album is currently rated so poorly. I completely understand why it received these ratings, and I don’t blame anyone, but as far as I can tell, this album is pretty damn good, and definitely better than the ***show that was “For(N)ever.” Overall, I’d actually recommend that you at least listen to this album once. It’s very inoffensive, it’s pretty fun, and lot better than people give it credit for. Granted, it was made by a band called “Hoobastank” so your mileage may vary, depending on how tolerant you are of awful band names.