On Feb. 19, pop-punk group Simple Plan released its fifth album, “Taking One for the Team,” its first release in five years. In its ever-evolving sound, Simple Plan is successfully able to branch out and experiment with several genres while still maintaining its pop-punk and pop-rock roots.
“Opinion Overload,” the opening song to this 14-track record, starts strong, with a message of living life the way you want to, regardless of others’ opinions, backed by brilliant guitar melodies of the pop-rock variety.
The second track, “Boom!” was released as a promotional single, and is accompanied by a fun music video with cameos from members of punk and emo bands Pierce the Veil, PVRIS and All Time Low. “Boom!” is a love song for the pop-rock fan, with lyrics like: “You still make my crazy little heart go ‘boom.’”
“Kiss Me Like Nobody’s Watching” comes next, a cute and upbeat piece about loving someone forever.
“Farewell,” featuring Jordan Pundik of pop-punk band New Found Glory, is the best track for fans of pop-punk. Gritty punk guitar sounds couple with striking lyrics such as “The damage is done and it’s obvious / We can never go back to the way it was” to deliver a powerful message about heartache and pain.
The upbeat “Singing in the Rain” features R. City, and is an interesting blend of pop and reggae with calypso elements.
The sixth track, “Everything Sucks,” though, leaves a lot to be desired — the lyrics are cliché, and it melodically acts like a generic pop song about losing someone.
“I Refuse” brings back the punk elements Simple Plan is known for, and pairs this with a compelling song about fighting against societal norms and stereotypes, and embracing who you are.
“I Don’t Wanna Go to Bed” features Nelly, and is another promotional single. The track is an intriguing combination of pop, indie rock and hip-hop.
The ninth track, “Nostalgic,” is another lyrically-brilliant and emotional number, with lyrics like “’Cause I miss you / And I hate feeling like this.”
“Perfectly Perfect” is another cutesy love song, a boy telling a girl she’s “perfectly perfect” for him, listing her insecurities as things he treasures about her.
“I Don’t Wanna Be Sad” comes next, an engrossing upbeat pop-based song about getting tired of dealing with sadness.
“P.S. I Hate You,” the twelfth track, is a pop-punk piece about bidding farewell to someone who treated you poorly.
“Problem Child” follows, a slower piece driven by an alluring piano in a minor key with melancholic guitar support.
The final track, “I Dream About You,” features Juliet Simms, and is another slow number that outlines a beautiful love story.
Simple Plan fans old and new will find something for them in this well-rounded work of art.