I would like to state that, first and foremost, yes, I am a fan of Sum 41. I have all of their albums, and whenever I get into the mood, I will blare "Fat Lip" or the entire "Does This Look Infected?" album. I thought I would clear that much first.
SUM 41. For many members of the metal community, it's a band they look down upon as nothing more than a group of annoying Canadians who play punk and disgrace the metal riffs they sometimes play. For others, they are a nice breath of fresh air, a way of looking at the genre of metal we all know and love and smile upon. In 2004, they released Chuck. To many, including myself, the album is a masterpiece and stands as just what the mixture of pop-punk riffs with the mentality of writing heavy songs with a metal tinge can create. It's fast, quirky, and is a damn fine disc! So it's no wonder that I was wondering when the follow-up was going to come out.
Now, I wish it didn't.
After the departure of Dave Brownsound in May 2006, many feared the band would suffer since one of the bands chief song writers and the metal pulse of the band was now gone. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened!
The album begins with the title track, although at first you think, "Wait, isn't this 'Fat Lip'?" Same riff, same song structure, different lyrics, and slightly altered, this is the song that sets the pace for the rest of the album. The rest of the songs borrow heavily from their old catalog of songs, borrowed riffs from Blink-182, and an unfortunate result of this being... A CONCEPT ALBUM!
Despite Deryck, now the only songwriter for the band, saying it isn't, there are underlying concepts that flow throughout the album. In other words, this is their American Idiot. It deals with politics, relationships gone bad, and life in general. Unfortunately, we're left with the worst album of their careers. It seems Deryck took songs he wrote for Avril Laveigne and decided to make some of them his own.
Even though this album overall is bad, there are a few good tracks worth the time. "March of the Dogs" is hard-hitting and fast. Lyrically, the song could be better, the opening line of "Ladies and gentlemen of the underclass/The president of the United States of America is dead". The band was almost deported for it. So, yes, credit where's credits due!
Bottom line? I can't say it's god-awful, and I can't say it's good. It falls into that category of things you want to hate, but it has that thing about it so you can't. I was going to turn it off half-way through, but... damn it, I couldn't! All I can really say is that if you like SUM 41, try to get it as cheap as possible. Otherwise, your not missing much of anything.
1 out of 10