Sound — 7
Whether a fan of Sum 41 or not, I think most everyone can remember when the pop-punk All Killer No Filler album was released in 2001, which first made the band famous. Then, two years later, Does this Look Infected? matured the bands sound into punk rock. In 2004, Chuck came out, further developing the bands sound into metal. And then comes 2007. After a three year absense, Sum 41 has hit the studios again and has for us another album, entitled Underclass Hero. The band, however, does not follow their own trend in continually establishing a harder sound. Instead, Underclass Hero takes a step back. Quite a few, actually. The overall sound could be most closely compared to that of All Killer No Filler. Awesome. All Killer No Filler was a great album. This one must be amazing, right? Sorry, but that's incorrect. Almost everything on this album is lacking. If you're wishing to relive the AKNF days, look elsewhere, this isn't the album for you. Instead of the distorted sound and fast tempos that could be expected, Sum 41 decided to go acoustic with slower tempos with many of their songs. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but in this case, it is. It really does diminish the sound of the overall album.
Lyrics — 6
Despite the many basic songs that contain oversimplified lyrics, (I'm looking straight at you, 'With Me') there's clearly been some other motivations in the writing. Upon close... excuse me, far-away inspection, it's easy to see some typical lyrics that, in the end, rarely have much depth. The overused 'My Daddy Hates Me' can be witnessed in multiple songs such as'Walking Disaster' and 'Dear Father'. Also, could someone inform me if there have been any large political debates recently in Canada? Because there seem to be quite a few songs bashing some leader, let's see. They sing about a son, and Capitol Hill and, what's this? "Ladies and gentlemen of the underclass The president of the United States is dead!" (March of the Dogs). Why exactly is a Canadian band singing about the politics of the United States? Honestly, Green Day is bad enough, and they're American. Do we really need some Canadian band telling us about how we should perceive our leader? Worse yet, Sum 41 doesn't even make any valid political points. And there's three songs whining about Bush, as well. None of the other songs really have completely horrible lyrics, and there are a few that are okay, such as 'Walking Disaster', but really, none of the vocals stand out as "Wow, these lyrics are absolutely amazing!" Even the title song, 'Underclass Hero', just feels like a reformatted anti-government version of 'Fat Lip'. Deryck Whibley's voice is basically the same as all of the previous albums; it's good.
Overall Impression — 6
This album can mostly be compared to that of Blink 182 and particularly Green Day, especially with the 'Screw our leader' theme. In fact, many of the songs sound extremely similar to songs of bands in similar genres (compare the chorus of 'With Me' and Yellowcards 'Only One' if you have to) If you're looking for something that sounds like older Sum 41, then 'Underclass Hero', 'Speak of the Devil' and 'Count Your Last Blessings' would be your best chance. Those also happen to be the best songs. What a coincidence. Another complaint is the repetitiveness of the whole album. The lyrics "I walk these no name streets" must've been heard on atleast a few songs. However, what's really annoying is this particularly unoriginal and boring guitar riff. Listening to the introductions of 'Walking Disaster', 'March of the Dogs', 'Pull the Curtain' and also 'Count Your Last Blessings' at 2:00, it's quite conspicuous that Sum 41 is lacking original ideas even for guitar riffs to a point where I can honestly say I have never heard so many redundant riffs and recycled material on one album. If you went out and bought the actual Compact Disc, an extra DVD is enclosed which has a few videos and live performances, along with four episodes of their online show. While it is a nice bonus, it doesn't make up for the overall quality the album lacks. If you buy the album through Itunes, you get the bonus track 'Take a Look at yourself' which is actually a pretty good song compared to the rest of the album. If you must, buy singles off of itunes, because it's not worth it to pay $10+ for the whole album. Or you could just listen to previous Sum 41, Green Day, and Blink 182 albums.