Review Summary: Il n'y a pas de quoi
We can all agree that easycore is one of the most unnecessary genres, right? No one asked for more breakdowns in their pop punk; no one needed their hardcore to sound like it was created by and for twelve year olds. Nonetheless, the genre’s heydays spanning a period of approximately eight months in 2010 were… quite fun. A Day To Remember and Four Year Strong released excellently sunny records, and most importantly, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! penned the single most iconic tr00 EZcore line of all times. Sadly, the year is 2021, and these dudes no longer seem ready to.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love to love Gone Are the Good Days
. Everything about Chunk’s comeback record is packaged wonderfully: its title and accompanying visuals from cover art to music videos are shrouded in a sense of summery nostalgia. Evoking vague memories of neon lights beaming through warm nights spent driving nowhere in particular alongside good friends; what’s not to like? Sadly, the album doesn’t capture such sentiments at all: rather than playing to the genre’s few strengths and reminiscing on fun times, Gone Are the Good Days
tries to match incompetently nostalgic lyricism with a sense of youthful energy the band simply don’t possess anymore. Boasting an undeniably catchy chorus, the title track’s saddening revelations of “remember when we were unstoppable? / or was that just a dream?
” exemplify this ineptitude excellently as they feel entirely out of place. Delightfully unnecessary screams later state the record’s mission: “let’s try to get back to where we started / yeah!
”, only serving as a painful reminder that neither the band nor any listeners are bound to get a lot of happiness out of this full length experience.
Moreover, Gone Are the Good Days
is littered with odd choices. Not in the typical “okay f*ck it, let’s add a breakdown here”-way, but rather in the “okay f*ck it, let’s add xylophone sounds to underscore most of ‘Drift Away’ because surely that won’t sound horrible”-way. Elsewhere, ‘Complete You’ does its best to make featured and generally excellent vocalist AJ Perdomo sound like a constipated old man, and ends on a completely misplaced saxophone solo. It’s not the fun, carefree out-of-placeness easycore does like no other genre, but rather a tired and forced attempt to make something interesting out of a wildly boring track. The record’s production doesn’t help either: everything feels incredibly polished, obscuring any dynamic and fun
qualities the songwriting may possess. Even more strikingly, vocalist Bertrand Poncet hardly sounds French anymore. What’s le point when you can’t even sing along to these tracks with a thick, potentially offensive French accent?
Thankfully, it’s not all bad. Opener ‘Bitter’ is a pretty fun cut, in spite of ripping off Simple Plan’s smash hit single ‘Saturday’ (who, in turn, ripped off Bay City Rollers, but you know, just pop punk stuff). ‘Marigold’ does the shimmery, semi-inspiring pop thing half-enjoyably; ‘True Colors’ boasts a fun riff despite its surrounding track taking a weird turn towards brodude hard rock. It’s a highly unfavourable pattern: Gone Are the Good Days
’ positive qualities come with a backhanded ‘but…’ more often than not. Nonetheless, most of the record is perfectly listenable if not mostly unenjoyable and entirely forgettable.
Easycore should be fun; Gone Are the Good Days
isn’t fun. If anything, it’s a sad confirmation of the state of the genre as well as a reminder that my youth is well and truly over. This isn’t a record to waste long summer nights to; it’s a record to waste one listen to before heading to work. Pardon my French, but god-f*cking-dammit, easycore in 2021 is making me sad.