Sound — 9
Plain White T's re-release of their debut album, Stop on Fearless Records gushes with mounds of house party punk-rock flourishes and the rousing vocal strides that you have come to expect from the T's lead singer Tom Higgenson. On the recordings, the band's current guitarist Dave Tirio plays drums, Ken Fletcher performs on bass, and Higgenson's co-writer Steve Mast plays guitar. Today the band consists of De'Mar Hamilton on drums, Tim Lopez and Tirio on guitars, and Mike Retondo kicks it on bass guitar. Produced by Loren Israel (Sugarcult, Rock Kills Kid) and the Plain White T's, the album is massively energetic and positively charged. Songs like the title track, Please Don't Do This, and Fireworks bustle with fists in the air momentums, flailing drum strikes, and bushels of raveling guitar riffs liken to Amber Pacific and The Starting Line. The album dabbles in some country-tinged acoustics and softcore emo-versed sing-alongs with melodic phrases in the rippling guitars and slender rhythms reminiscent of The Goo Goo Dolls on tunes like Shine and the sentimental rays of Radios In Heaven. The buoyant power punk hops on Penny (Perfect For You) and Happy Someday is packed with motivating vocals and taut guitar teases, which give the melodies an infectious good vibe similarly cued like High School Musical. It's like being on an unrelenting high. The album attaches three bonus tracks which cement an uplifting vibe through Cinderella Story, hard rock ridging along Let's Pretend, and poppy emo-rock embellishments to sweeten up Bruises.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are reflective of a young man's life centering around teenage angst, burgeoning romantic feelings, lingering hurt emotions from failed romances, and then there is Radios In Heaven which is about letting someone who has passed away know that you still care. Higgenson divulges, Do they have radios in Heaven/ I hope they do/ 'Cause they're playing my song on the radio/ And I'm singing it to you/ If they don't have radios in Heaven/ Here's what I'll do/ I can bring my guitar when my time is up/ And I'll play it for you. The tune is on level with Eric Clapton's Tears In Heaven. The song, which acoustically can be compared to the band's hit song Hey There Delilah, shows another facet of Plain White T's repertoire.
Overall Impression — 9
Plain White T's have a way of making any situation have a positive outlook whether it's the loss of a romantic love, a friend, or a family member, the band manages to find a way to celebrate relationships and life. They turn a dismal condition into one that opens your eyes to a brighter view. They are totally the opposite of Nirvana but still able to relate to a generation that is coming of age even across continents. Stop is infallibly upbeat which makes some of the tracks seem redundant like the band is repeating themselves, but it also re-enforces the band's stamina to maintain a positively-charged aria from the top of the album all the way through 'til the end. Re-releasing Stop tells people that the Plain White T's were always like this and that they were like this years before ever hitting it big.