Sound — 10
You can't hate this CD unless you hate this genre of music, hate good singers (I know people that do), hate any CD without guitar taking 80% of the volume, or you're just one of my friends trying to tick me off. This album's sound is perfect, because it is perfect in the three different ways a CD can sound great. The actual music. The chord progressions are just great, and the riffs and melodies that are in the background aren't always the most present, but they are always very musical and nobody can say that they are boring or not catchy. The reason not as much guitar is so 'high on the mix-board', so to speak, is because Tyson Ritter's really sing, and has a great sounding voice that is pleasant to the ear. That sets them apart already from 95% of rock bands already. Again, the guitars aren't 80% of the music here like in metal or heavy rock, and this turns away and bores a lot of distortion-breathing guitar lords who aren't not always being in the lead, but if you listen to the song a couple of times, the guitar parts are loud enough, and present, and are good! I got the full tablature to this album, and some of the rhythm is pretty dang hard to play! Listen up close on Dance Inside (you might hear me refer to that title again later) and there's a lot of hard rhythm guitar parts, and lead has such melodic, exciting, and soothing solos. Creativity. Wait, somebody seriously sit down and explain to me one thing: I've heard so many reviews and fans saying how their first album is so much better, and that these tracks all sound the same. Or how AAR songs sound like they get boring after the first verse? Well the answer to those people is they're on drugs, they don't really like music, they like pop, or pure bigotry. See, The All American Rejects were awarded a big song-writing award because they just do it great! Just like the Beatles knew how to make things sound good to everybody, AAR picked up the same skill where they left off, but they learned how to really sing, and play guitar, and drums, and well, they just rock! No album has such versatility, in songs, from the best, fun synth sounds in Change Your Mind and tear-inspiring ballad of Can't Take It, to the night rock scene drawn by the sounds of Night Drive, to the ultimate alt-rock slow song, It Ends Tonight, to one of my favorites, fast latin acoustic sound fused with distortion on the song Top Of The World. The drums that start Move Along feel like a whole new genre of music, then chorus throws you back into your favorite style of rock, and your body forces you to sing along, if even in your mind, and still has so much energy to go around. Their first album had some versatility, but not half as much energy or musical taste. Sound Quality. Perfect mix. They took hard rock, and polished the sound quality to an art. I looked it up but forgot whoever recorded and produced this album, but it's just the best. The audio quality and Tyson Ritter's voice together is what made them a 'popular' or 'mainstream' band today. AAR is not a 'pop' band at all. They are a rock band, that have added tastes for keyboards and weird sounds, that actually can sing, and actually let you hear what they are singing, because they aren't screaming curses your mother or darning you to go down to the firey pits of doom. They actually have good playing, so they clean up the sound and let you hear it all. that's what makes this CD sound perfect.
Lyrics — 10
I don't think the words of a song have as much to do with the music, the important part. If it did, we would rather read modern poems then listen to a rock instrumental. The voice? that's different. If I hadn't explained this enough yet, this guy's voice is just great! He can get so high (pitch, you druggies) and still pull it off and sound great doing it. I learned a lot about music over the past year. There's a lot of different ways to categorize good rock bands. One way is the voice. The band's singer doesn't have a very good singing voice, so they sing the music very quietly just scream the words and play the guitars louder and mix it down so it's all about the other instruments. This requires skill for the other players, as the vocal melody isn't important, so the players have to be good, or the band sucks. These kind of bands are usually pretty popular, and very good and stay on my iPod for a long time before it gets boring. The band's singer knows how to sing, but the voice doesn't sound great. They mix the CD right, so you hear the words, then the guitarists, drums, piano, bass all play very well to compensate (but not cover up) for the singer's voice quality so all in all the songs are good songs. These bands are very common, not as popular (like Indie bands), but I always really like them when I first hear them. But the thing is, after a while, I just don't like the sound of the band anymore, and I quit listening to them. This is because after a while, a singer's voice will wear on you if he/she doesn't sound superb. For this reason, many people that like indie bands will like a huge variety of bands, and have to just shuffle through and skip songs a lot, and usually tend to not finish songs all the way. This is because they don't realize it, let alone want to admit it, but the their favorite band's singers are annoying them, so they change it. This third kind of band has a singer that really really can sing, and has a great sounding voice. This voice never wears you out. A song of theirs might be overplayed, but it's not the voice wearing on you. This kind of band has the voice where it should be in the mix (or sadly, the voice is way to present, and it becomes a pop band with drum beats and background riffs like Avril and Kelly Clarkson and all other pop), and the instruments can play well in the background, to back up and compliment the vocal melody of the band, then vocals switch of with instruments for good solos, intro's, and other good interludes in the music. This kind of band doesn't always have their guitars shoved up your nose, but they rock in every aspect. This kind of band is rare, and this kind of band stays together a long time usually, and becomes eventually very popular, and changes music forever. I would say that Paramore, Relient K, All American Rejects, and Fall Out Boy might all end up like this someday. The main reason is because they can sing. As far as the words go, this album is also set apart because most music is either cry-baby, love-slobbering, weird and confusing, rebellious and cursing I won't try to explain this too long, but the lyrics of this album are just great. They are fun, thoughtful, euphonic, and even inspiring (Move Along is great here). I'm not a huge fan of politics in lyrics, but the generalizations slipped in and the not angry-sounding voice in Top of the World covered it up by far. Oh yeah! This whole album is clean! No garbage moms! it's clean stuff. I'm a Christian so I totally appreciate that Overall, these lyrics are a HUGE improvement to rock music.
Overall Impression — 10
I didn't know what really to say here, as I already put way too much in the other two categories, so I'll summarize. All of the songs on this album are exciting, different, cool, fun, well played, and nearly flawless. This is the epitome of modern rock music, and should be the standard for new music. Ok to tell the truth: I haven't listened to rock music for that long. I hadn't listened to any music but like classical music and whatever acoustic popular songs I was starting to learn on guitar 3 years ago. Then one day somebody let me listen to two songs from this album. I thought wow is all music like this? So I totally bought the album and listened to it 1000 times, learned it on guitar, and went on to all kinds of other rock music. I've gone through loving over a hundred bands since then, but after a while I realized the truth about this album. It's not "the absolute best album ever in the whole world time 1000000." But it doesn't get much better than this.