Canadian pop punk band Simple Plan make their bid to impress mainstream pop audiences on this third studio album. Raw edges are filed down and hooks are sprinkled liberally throughout. The formula works quite well in places, but too many songs sound a bit tired and obvious.
What's Fresh and Energetic
For a portion of this self-titled album, Simple Plan hooked up with red-hot Timbaland protege Nate "Danja" Hills. His presence helps make the first single, "When I'm Gone," crackle with edgy, funky energy and a huge poppy chorus. On other songs the band rises admirably to the occasion. "The End" refreshingly rides electronic beats into a classic punk pop break. In ballad territory, "I Can Wait Forever" catches a wave of romantic sincerity.
What's Tired and Stale
Unfortunately, on Simple Plan there are too many throwaway songs. "Time to Say Goodbye" sounds like the band is on punk pop autopilot. "Generation" tries to be a voice for the fans but comes off as loud and tired boy band pop. Simple Plan also continue an unfortunate pattern from earlier albums. The band wallows too often in emo complaints ending up sounding, on songs like "Your Love Is a Lie" and "No Love," like the whiny guys next door.
Top Tracks on 'Simple Plan'
- When I'm Gone
- Take My Hand
- The End
- I Can Wait Forever
Worth the 3 Year Wait?
Celebrating back to back platinum albums, as Simple Plan headed into 2005 they were near the top of the pop punk genre with a very bright future on the horizon. However, it's now 3 years later and a lot has changed. Other commercial leaders of the genre, Fall Out Boy and Good Charlotte, have headed in new, artistically productive directions while making way for a new wave of younger bands. Simple Plan take steps here into a more mainstream pop direction, but they continue to lean too heavily on tired, old formulas. Time will tell, but it's difficult to imagine fickle fans seeing this album as worth the 3 year wait.