Updated: Jan 30, 2022
Pop punk is often a genre criticized for a lack of sound originality and being stale and repetitive. This statement has a lot of backing and for the most part I agree with it to the extent of modern pop punk. Some of the best things to ever come from the genre such as Welcome To The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance or American Idiot by Green Day, offer an extremely different approach to pop punk that is easily more stylistically diverse but the statement generally is legitimate. The All-American Rejects 2002 self titled, debut album offers a version of pop punk with some completely separate influences that shine through on their first studio project. This track list features a large portion of songs that incorporate some very interesting Synths, Pianos, and Keys into their sound. The Rejects offer a version of their genre that sounds like Classic pop punk with a very clear influence from 80s rock acts like The Cars and Bon Jovi. Despite this, they tend to buy into the classic pop punk norms in the fact that throughout this record their sound does get very repetitive and stale. Lyrically they don’t stray very far from their comfortable, sappy, topics like personal takes on different relationships and breakups with significant others. Instrumentally outside of the synths and keyboards these tracks feature the drum lines and guitar riffs are each very similar to the last usually. This trap of unoriginality they fall into isn’t unlistenable or terrible by any standard but it’s certainly not interesting for more than a couple songs. Admittedly with their more recent projects, the Rejects have become much more polished as a group with more of a definitive sound, but as far as their earlier work, it’s very dreary and you find yourself bored by the second half of this record. A high point however for me, would be “One More Sad Song”. The title almost intentionally pokes fun at the repetitive nature of the lyrics on this album but unfortunately self awareness doesn’t change the music. This track features some more interesting instrumentals and the vocals on this track are for the most part enjoyable. Tyson Ritter hits some very melodic highs at the end of some of his phrases and a strong, flying, deep, outro. Unfortunately, outside of that track this album pretty much features the same sound throughout. Besides some synth riffs that’s spice up some of the songs on this project, this record is dreary and one dimensional at best.