Release date: December 16, 2008
The All-American Rejects have remained in our peripheral vision since appearing on the big-time music scene in 2002 with their self-titled album, and managed to heighten their influence on radio DJs and listeners with 2005’s Move Along.
The hit single of the same name brought in a much wider audience for the band, although critics and audiences alike had a little trouble understanding just what the All-American Rejects were trying to sound like.
It sounds like a snooty remark, but the truth is that when a largely unknown band pops onto the scene with a single that sounds a bit like energetic pop music but also a lot like slow rock, it can be confusing come record-store decision time. Trust that your favourite of the two sounds will prevail, or pass over it because of a fear that the other genre will have just a tad too much influence on the record?
?Move Along? was a decent match for the rest of the record, but it did have a pop aspect that the rest didn’t quite match up to. Remember Smash Mouth’s ?Walkin? on the Sun,? as opposed to all the other songs on Fush Yu Mang? Exactly.
In a very similar move, The All-American Rejects released the first single ?Gives You Hell? from When the World Comes Down, a song that has a decidedly different groove than the other songs on the record. The unfortunate thing for listeners is that this single is actually the best song on the album, with few others coming close to this level of quality.
What is it that sets ?Gives You Hell? apart from the rest of the album (aside from ?Breakin??)? The energy of the recording. These two songs are fun, likeable, and energetic, something that, despite genre, most music listeners are looking for to some degree. The rest of When the World Comes Down is slow and, sorry to say, mediocre. There is nothing to hook a listener or to snag a new fan, despite the great potential of the band.
The All-American Rejects should maybe focus on the songs and singles that have studded their career and dissect why these songs have done so well. It is never my intention to encourage the production of more formulaic pop songs, but in this case I believe that the worst of the pop genre can be easily avoided by a band that has the ability to write songs with worthwhile lyrics and enjoyable music. All in all, this record and the band itself aren’t living up to their virtually unlimited potential.