Sound — 4
A hard question: do you know where Stillwater, OK, is? Well, All-American Rejects sure do as they spent the first part of their life in that small American town. Thus, having not too much entertainment there, Tyson Ritter (vocals/bass) and Nick Wheeler (guitar/programming/ keyboards) turned to music. Listening to AC/DC, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard guys learned to play guitars and by the time they met at a party in high school, both knew what they wanted to do in life. Soon they found the members for the vacant spots -- Mike Kennerty for guitar and Chris Gaylor for drums and by 2000 the band became official. The same year they released their first indie record. Having toured all through Midwest gave them the opportunity to sign up to Doghouse Records and in October 2002 All-American Rejects released a self-titled debut. Soon after that the album was reissued by DreamWorks. Their most successful song from the album, and still the biggest achievement up to nowdays, is "Swing Swing," which climbed to number 11 on Billboards's Modern Rock Tracks chart. After three years of touring, the band jumped record labels and in the summer 2005 released the sophomore album "Move Along" on Interscope. Now there are no more four of them with Kennerty and Gaylor quitting the band for their own reasons. The backbone of the group -? Ritter and Wheeler released a radio-friendly album, full of soft pop melodies, lyrics about relationship and non-ambitious songs. Most of the tracks are driven by all kinds of anxiously crackling guitars. Distortion in "Stab My Back," trashy in "Night Drive," acoustic in "Top Of The World." Thrashy sound of "Night Drive" makes you think of The White Stripes, esp. when it comes to the chorus. "Top Of The World" starts thrilling due to the Spanish-sounding guitar, but the chorus spoils it all. "Move Along" is an optimists' anthem that reminds you of something very obvious you just can't figure out what that is. When you hear the children's chorus, it becomes clear -? that's a song written for Michael Jackson -- "Don't give up, Jacko!" No doubts. The band attempts a few emo ballads -? "It Ends Tonight," "Straitjacket Feeling" and, of course, one more to finish with "Can't Take It." Well, at least one of them is good -? the best song on the record "It Ends Tonigh." If you've heard at least a couple bands of that type, you can notice that most of the songs are so obvious that it becomes boring listening to them after the second versus.
Lyrics — 6
Just about every one of a dozen songs tells you about young love and relationship. Lyrics are too simple most of the time, revealing things you've heard about a hundred times, even with the same words. Vocals are a big topic of discussion. Ritter's vocal abilities are not awful, even with ridiculous layers of vocals in most songs. Sometimes, when he's hitting a high note, I feel sorry for him 'cause the guy is trying too hard and you can even hear that it's not easy for him as he strains his throat. Also sometimes you can hear a very typical sound -? like the vocalist is spitting in the microphone. By the end of the record you feel spitted all over. Not a very nice feeling. Just wondering -? is that the band's seal?
Overall Impression — 4
With their new album All-American Rejects didn't bring anything groundbreaking to music. I would say it's just another album of a typical American pop-punk band. Weird, America is flooded with bands of this type and none of them ever got the same success overseas. Listening to the record I had a feeling that the guys sometimes don't know what they're doing (just think about a children's chorus... hmm...) Most of the songs are going nowhere. Even if the beginning seems promising, the chorus doesn't hold the attention. What safes the record is that it's impeccably arranged, but when it comes to the band, the guys are still very immature. Listening to the AC/DC and Def Leppard for the half doesn't helped the band at all -- it's still the simpliest (and boring) kind music you can get out there. That's probably my age that prevent me to look at the All-American Rejects with eyes of exalted teenager. The band is probably a good fit for a Vans Wrapped Tour, but, being recorded, they don't make much impression. Most definitely I won't think about them again after awarding them here with my 2 mark.