Sound — 9
Sum 41 has always impressed me with the way it's evolved through time. With each album, their influences change, and so the sound changes too. For example, in their early years, they were influenced mostly by NOFX and you could see that in Half Hour Of Power. But with each album, they've grown more mature and now this album sounds a lot like Greenday's American Idiot. This album reminds me a lot of All Killer No Filler, with it's catchy melodies and great combination of the bands vocals. But since guitarist and original member David "Brownsound" Baksh left, a lot of the songs don't have many catchy guitar riffs, except for a few like the first single Underclass Hero. They also use piano in many of the songs, something that is quite new to Sum 41, but they blend it in really well. So in conclusion I'd say this album sounds a lot like All Killer No Filler just with a piano added in but without as many neat guitar riffs. I've created an ultra-clever equation for this to make it seem more simple: AKNF + Piano - Dave = Underclass Hero.
Lyrics — 10
I gotta say that the lyrics to this album are my favorite part. They are all mostly personal to the songwriter, lead singer and guitarist Deryck Whibley. A good example is how So Long Goodbye is about Dave Baksh's departure from the band. a lot of the album is also, as Whibley says, a "deeply personal statement that reflects the confusion and frustration of modern society". There are a lot of interesting lines that I just think sound interesting such as "And when the devil's angels come"; "So nice of you to speak of me your closest friend and enemy"; and "Divided we stand, together we fall". I find it really good when a song has clever lyrics cause it really makes you appreciate the songwriter. There are also lyrics that just make me feel really happy when I listen to them, most notably the part in So Long Goodbye that goes "Just look up to the stars and believe who you are cause it's quite alright". It's lines like those that just make me stop worrying about things and just make me really get into the music. The singing in this album is also well done. Whibley gets really enthusiastic with his singing in this album, but my favorite part is how well bassist Cone McCaslin's back-up vocals blend in with the songs. Prime examples of this are The Jester, March Of The Dogs and Pull The Curtain.
Overall Impression — 9
Like I said earlier, this album sounds a lot like AKNF, which I think is great since personally I liked AKNF more than Chuck. As much as I like it how they grow and change, it's good that they've returned back to their old roots a bit. The songs that I think stand out the most on this album are The Jester, Underclass Hero, Walking Disaster, March Of The Dogs, Speak Of The Devil and Count Your Last Blessings. I really love how well all of the instruments and vocals blend together in this album. I believe that's the most important thing that the a band can do for a song or album, and Sum 41 does it really well in this album. The one particular thing I don't really like is how a few of the songs sound really familiar and remind you of other songs, which I don't think is a good thing since every song should sound entirely unique and not remind you of other songs. The two main songs that do this are Underclass Hero which reminds a lot of Fat Lip from All Killer No Filler; and Best Of Me which makes me think about Hate Me by Blue October every time I listen to it. I think I'd buy this album if I lost it since I really like listening to it and I believe the lyrics are really amazing.