Sound — 8
One it's own, the sound of Sum 41's newest album is certainly different then what was anticipated. It was once said that the album would reflect the sound of "All Killer, No Filler", but it sounds more like a rip off of some sort of politically driven album. there's a lot of piano and acoustic guitar that isn't found on their previous albums. I think the absence of Dave (Brown Sound) sucked out most of the dare I say metal aspects that were featured in "Chuck." Most of the songs are in the same key as each other, which tends to make the songs sound similar. The problem with the similarities is that they are often too similar with other songs from other artists. For example, the chorus of "With Me", sounds too much like "Only One" by Yellowcard. Anyone could argue that they do not share the same time signature, but from a pessimistic point of view, it's just one of many ways to rip off a song. Then "Best of Me" has a chorus that sounds like the over played "The Reason" by Hoobastank, but ends like that Blue October song I believe it's called "Hate me". The lyrics aren't the same but the vocal patterns and chords are too close and anyone with an ear for that kind of thing could pick up on it. The most obvious rip off is the first track "Underclass Hero" where the opening riff falls one chord from identical to Blink 182's "Dumpweed". I still give the sound a high score because the rip offs are better than the originals. Nobody likes "The Reason".
Lyrics — 6
I never pay attention to the lyrics in a song because they are probably about nothing or make little sense depending on the band and their outside influences. The stand out for lyrics however is definitely "Dear Father" as it is about lead singer Deryck's father whom he has apparently never met. it's one of the few songs that has a direct meaning and significance, making it one of the better ones. On the negative side, I found that multiple songs, including "Dear Father", have the same vocal melodies and that certain lines in a verse are interchangeable between songs. The down side of the vocals is the previously refered political driven something. "March of the Dogs" opens with that Green Day mic with the "President, We as a people" it's been done, and it wasn't special the first time. My favorite lyrical comment is that right before the chorus of "With Me", there is a line that says "I've made my mistakes..." with the exact tune from Simple Plan's "Untitled". And like every other Sum 41 song, the lyrics are about nothing in general, with a vocabulary of words like "confusion, frustration" and synonyms that are carried through the album.
Overall Impression — 7
"Underclass Hero" is not their strongest effort, though it isn't their last. Sadly it also isn't their first album where songs are easily compared to songs by other bands like Linkin Park. It is still a must have for Sum 41 fans like myself, although right now we are having a love-hate relationship. Some would call it "unoriginal". And I call it a bunch of rip offs. I care less about the album and more about exposing the fact that music is being recycled these days. I want to take this oppurtunity to say that Marianas Trench stole the chorus from "Give Up the Grudge" by Gob, yes you remember that song and you cannot deny that they are one and the same. The lyrics to each song can be sang over the other flawlessly. I know is this supposed to be about Sum 41, but Derycks wife Avril was recently sued for stealing the Girlfriend chorus. I do not believe these are coincidences anymore. Go out, and by Underclass Hero just to see what I'm talking about, please.