Sum 41 may seem an odd band for to be plugging on here, mainly for the fact that I have no doubt everyone reading this will have heard of them. Everyone I know will remember their early teens being littered with hits by the Canadian punk-pop outfit, their most famous obviously being ‘Fat Lip’. But the reason I feel this post is warranted is because it appears they’re a band that’s been forgotten, remembered fondly but no longer have a place on the iPod, however I would argue that if people gave their new stuff a listen they would be surprised at what they find, in my opinion Sum 41 have been improving with every album.
Back in the day I remember Sum 41 being a favourite amongst the boom of pop punk in the late nineties and early noughties, along with Blink, Good Charlotte, The Offspring and American Idiot-era Green Day. People first started taking notice of them with their debut album All Killer No Filler for a lot of people I think that’s where their love for them both started and finished. It’s injustice really considering this is actually their worst record, it’s eclipsed by the groups original EP, Half Hour of Power and a lot of the songs on the album were taken from that record the only good additions were the aforementioned ‘Fat Lip’ and ‘In Too Deep’ which are now the songs the band are known for. Their follow-up Does This Look Infected? was just as popular at the time and a far superior album. Although nowadays when I talk to people Infected? is much less remembered. When I go back and listen to the record now this is where you can start to see the potential for a serious band, they’re still joking around but there’s some very strong instrumentation and well structured and thought out songs.
It was in 2004 with the release of Chuck were the group really changed their focus and with it lost their commercial success and in retrospect the love of teenage fans. I must admit, I didn’t care for it when it came out I was still more interested in the jokey/poppy stuff that was coming out of Blink or Good Charlotte. Chuck saw Sum 41 start to write about some serious topics after the band had a near death experience on tour and were saved by a man named Chuck, the album though is not without its catchy hooks and fun songs but ultimately was a lot darker than their previous work and perhaps they were still maturing in their musicality as well back then. It wasn’t until 2007’s Underclass Hero that I began to take notice again, having matured massively myself I was heading into the darker side of rock moving towards the emo side of things and while everyone was looking elsewhere I cam across my old friends Sum 41 again and Underclass Hero was breath of fresh air. Combining the more complex emotions I was experiencing in late adolescence with the fun riffs and simplicity of the pop punk that had got me into rock music in the first place. It quickly became one of my favourite albums and to this day I still very much enjoy listening to it.
Their latest album Screaming Bloody Murder furthers their transformation into a serious rock group, the lyrics littered with pain and hurt that may have come from lead singer, Deryck Whibley’s divorce to his wife Avril Lavigne. The music on this record is so well structured it is at times hard to believe these are the same guys that brought us that simple pop music from our childhoods. Sum 41 produce music of top quality these days, go have a listen to their new stuff and I promise you won’t be disappointed, also their documentary to accompany Screaming Bloody Murder is a fun watch as well so here it is:
So we’re back on track with the weekly update, good job by myself there even if I do say so myself. Befoe this gets too weird with me talking to myself lets just get this shit done. First of all was the final part of Green Day’s trilogy ¡TRÉ!, which was not the most enjoyable of listens. Then came the season finale of Misfits so here is my review of Series 4. And rounding off the week I published my review of The Pianist which was written for a friends blog but I decided I might as well use it here as well…
Well as always I’m sure this post has been enthralling I shall leave with something that will probably make you never want to come back here again, what the fuck is this?
So we have reached the end of Green Day’s concept trilogy after ¡TRÉ!’s release date was brought forward. So far ¡Uno! was a pleasant surprise but ¡Dos! was much less enjoyable. Unfortunately ¡TRÉ! continues in that direction, it is by far the worst of the three. The band clearly didn’t have material to fill three records and it really becomes apparent here.
Kicking off with a downer in the form of ‘Brutal Love’ you may think things are going to pick up but they don’t. The lyrics are tired and boring which is mirrored by Billie Joe’s vocal performance – reaching an all-time low in ‘Drama Queen’ as song which would be better off locked away in Josef Fritzl’s dungeon. We also see the trio return to some of their methods from the dire American Idiot era with the song ‘Dirty Rotten Bastards’ which manages to combine a few shit songs into the space of six minutes making one massively shit song. Then when you finally reach the end we’re given a God-awful ballad going by the title ‘The Forgotten’ in which even the guitars sound like they can’t bothered to make a decent sound. This is quite truly a disaster.
It seems that perhaps people were too scared to tell Green Day that actually not every song they write is good, they could have done well to lose two of these three albums maybe taking some highlights from the second and third and replacing the odd dud that appeared on the first. After being filled with hope listening to ¡Uno! and have now fully reverted to my view that these guys are three washed up middle aged men still desperately trying to be 20 again with ego’s the size of the alps and credibility the size of a gnat.
Welcome to freezing cold of December, here in the student house things are getting pretty horrific regarding the temperature but still I’m just about keeping up on the blogging and this weeks had its fair share of media consumption. First of all was the second part of Green Day’s trilogy with my review of ¡Dos!. Then my cinema trip of the week was to go and see Silver Linings Playbook, the new rom-com starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Then finally with a lack of stuff I felt like I could be bothered to write about I continued on with review of Biffy Clyro’s discography, this time it was the turn of Puzzle.
Next week will see the arrival of the final part of Green Day’s trilogy but I won’t leave with anything as bad as that so here is something wonderful:
Well following on from last weeks review of ¡Uno! this week I have ¡Dos! to evaluate. This time I have to admit it is much easier to get that rant going that I was planning. Kicking off with ‘See You Tonight’ your expectations are lowered immediately, acoustic, slow, plain and completely out of place putting this as the opener is one of the most uninspired decisions they could have made, in fact really its inclusion on the album as a whole is quite strange. It’s probably some lame attempt to recreate ‘Good Riddance (The Time of Your Life)’ but one that falls very short of the mark. Afterwards though, I suppose, the quality of the rest of the album doesn’t really provide anything much better.
Thankfully, the run times of the songs are particularly short but whereas back in the old days of Green Day short songs would leave you wanting more ¡Dos! just leaves you being glad it’s over. It’s certainly a step up from 21st Century… and American Idiot but quite a large step down from the surprising ¡Uno! the trio here manage to fully slump back into auto-pilot making the record ultimately tired and boring.
There are a few stand-out moments, ‘Lazy Bones’ reminds me a lot of ‘Basket Case’ and actually is fun to listen with lyrics that would be great to sing along to. There are a few really good guitar solos here as well, rescuing songs such as ‘Fuck Time’ which would otherwise be left completely dead in the water. The album trickles into even more dross as it drags on the closing track ‘Amy’ being particularly dreary and just plain shit. ‘Nightlife’ doesn’t even bear talking about, all I’ll say is let’s just forget that ever happened.
If ¡Dos! is anything to go by it makes me wonder why they bothered making this into a trilogy, there a few good moments here and a few more good ones on ¡Uno!, if ¡Tre! follows the same pattern, which it probably will, it leaves me wondering why they didn’t just combine the good moments of all three and just make one really good album that would win back all the lost fans? With ¡Dos! I’m afraid it doesn’t fill me with hope for the future of Green Day.
Well this week as always I have another three reviews for you to read and , as always any feedback on anything on here is greatly appreciated. First of all I went to see P.T. Anderson’s latest film The Master which was pretty awesome. Then when I felt like ranting I listened to Green Day’s ¡Uno! but I found it harder to dislike than I thought I would. Following that was another album review this time a bit more on the alternative side, here’s my write-up for Tame Impala’s Lonerism. Hope you enjoy all of them.
So to leave you with a video, the thing I’m most excited about right now is Ben Wheatley’s new film Sightseers which is due out on Friday, so have a peek at the trailer if you haven’t seen it already: