Simple Plan, of French-Canadian pop-punk fame, has returned after five years with a new album, Taking One for the Team. It follows 2011’s Get Your Heart On stylistically, with a backbone of classic Simple Plan style tunes, while also branching certain tracks to other genres.
Simple Plan boasts the talents of lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist Pierre Bouvier, drummer and percussionist Chuck Comeau, lead guitarist Jeff Stinco, rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Sebastien Lefebvre, and bass guitarist and backing vocalist David Desrosiers. Fun fact: Simple Plan are one of the only recent bands I’ve ever known who 16 years later are still together with the orignal line-up. None of them have left nor been replaced.
Taking One for the Team is a hit in my book. If you’re looking for the pure punk Simple Plan of 2002’s No Pads, No Helmets. . .Just Balls, you’re not going to find it. There are elements of the band’s sound that has survived, but across the board their music seems to have an optimism it didn’t in those days. There’s also a confidence in how they incorporate other styles that really comes out in tracks like “Singing in the Rain” that has a hint of ska, or “I Don’t Wanna Go to Bed,” and “I Dream About You” that feel more R&B.
The tongue-in-cheek, pop-punk sass we know and love is represented on “Opinion Overload.” It has that classic angsty Simple Plan feel: “I don’t give a damn if you don’t approve. . . It must be nice to be perfect.” “I Refuse” is another good example of this, acting as an anthem that everybody needs at some point — especially us students. Lyrics are delivered quickly yet powerfully in resonant tones: “So I refuse to apologize for who I am / And I refuse to ever let somebody say I can’t.”
“Boom” is a promotional single that’s pretty firmly a pop tune. I find the chorus too poppy, but it’s catchy and easy to see why other people would love it. Following in the same catchy vein is “Everything Sucks,” the ultimate post-break-up song about how “everything sucks ‘cause you’re not around.” It’s more palatable than “Boom,” being more melodically sophisticated. My head was bopping before I knew it and I was singing along to the chorus by the end of the first listen.
The ultimate stadium amp-up song is “Kiss Me like Nobody’s Watching.” It’s rambunctiously up-tempo with built-in sections for crowd singalongs. Another great upbeat song is “I Don’t Wanna Be Sad,” which will perk you up on days when you’re just done with the world. Though it’s a little repetitive, it’s more of a mantra than an annoyance.
A cutesy, acoustic love song about finding perfection in flaws is found in “Perfectly Perfect.” Pro-tip: serenade someone with this (and mean it!) and you two are probably destined to be together. You’re welcome.
The fifth album from Simple Plan is an all-around good time for the pop-punk fan. Giving this a listen will by no means be Taking One for the Team.