February 21, 2008

Simply Too Simple

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Simple Plan’s new album is titled Simple Plan. This is not to imply that it is fair to judge the quality of an album based on its name. But how can you resist pulling some sort of meaning from the fact that the band did not even bother to get a more creative title for their newly released album? Unless we are supposed to seize some higher meaning from this lack of creativity. Maybe the band wants us to see how this current work defines everything that Simple Plan is about by representing the true essence of their music.

Upon listening to the album, however, it is all too easy to succumb to the temptation of judging this album by its utterly unoriginal name.

Simple Plan (the album, not to be confused with the band) is characterized with repetitive harmonies, simple beats, and wonderfully corny lyrics. “Holding On” begins with an intense blaring of sounds. Simple Plan seems to have developed an affinity for such extended instrumental introductions, as demonstrated in other tracks such as “Generation” and “What If.” This period without words in “Holding On” exists for a glorious 45 seconds, which eventually culminates in the decent but generic voice of lead singer Pierre Bovier. Lyrics include such brilliant metaphors as: “The life we’re living/It’s all a masquerade.” Bovier’s former English teachers should be proud.

Most tracks on the album are relatively hard to distinguish from one another. There are a few catchy songs, including “I Can Wait Forever” and “When I’m Gone.” “Holding On” is also relatively catchy. But overall, there is nothing that is likely to reach the status of previous tracks such as “I’d Do Anything,” “Welcome To My Life, or my personal favorite, “I’m Just A Kid” (who can resist thinking about the little red-haired kid with the glasses in Cheaper By the Dozen, in which the song was played)?

Can Simple Plan be classified as rock music, punk, or pop? It seems to touch on the worst of all three genres. Actually, it is probably worth it to make up a new genre just for Simple Plan. It could be called “Bubble­gum pop that tries to be Emo” or something to that effect.

One might make the argument that Simple Plan is great for ten-year olds. While this may be true, it is hardly distinguishable from bands like Yellowcard or The Click Five, except for the fact that these bands, especially The Click Five, are less whiny. Furthermore, potentially startling to fans of Simple Plan’s traditionally clean lyrics, is the line from the track “Your Love is a Lie:” “And do you think about me when he fucks you?”

But did the person who reviewed Simple Plan’s 2002 album, No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls, immediately know that “I’d Do Anything” would become the song that it is today? Maybe it is worth it for a band to produce an album consisting mostly of whines, in the hope that listeners will be able to uncover that one jewel …