Top critical review
One must not judge a book by its cover, but then again!
on 1 April 2012
During the last couple of months, I heard of this French-Canadian group called Simple Plan that has been, over the last decade, very successful in the music industry. Wondering what the fuss was all about, after seeing a couple of their video clips and promotion spots on YouTube, I decided to listen to their first CD, entitled No Pads, No Helmets, Just Balls, even though the CD cover didn't impress me. Indeed, it sort of made the group selfish and extremely immature as you see them acting like teenagers partying all the time and making a mess out of some hotel suite. Of course, one must not judge a book by its cover, but still, the cover gave me pretty good hints to the contents of this album, especially in the lyrics which revolve around three main topics: "getting the girl, "every day is the same and life sucks", and "my parents don't understand me". If those themes clearly reveal that the group targeted by this album is teenagers, their upbeat, and very repetitive, soundtrack doesn't go at all with the dark lyrics of tracks like "The Worst Day ever" and "Meet you There". Those songs would have been, according to me, more moving had they been accompanied with the proper music to follow those lyrics.
As for the content of those lyrics, I soon found myself tired of hearing over and over again stories about guys that want to get laid by girls that ignore them or that their parents want them to grow up, and maybe for good reasons. Especially when you read songs like "God Must Hate Me" where those kids act like irresponsible individuals, something that was pretty relevant through this album.
Now some people would find my comments harsh and ill-founded, considering this group's success and how a certain fraction of teenagers love this music. But that's also another problem of this album. It tries too much to grasp teenagers and doesn't try to connect with other age groups, something that the Beatles, The Smiths, Queen, the Cranberries or Oingo Boingo have managed to do. Now of course those groups have nothing to do with punk music or punk-pop and Simple plan doesn't need to copy their style, but those groups knew how to diverse their subjects, and this is something that Simple Plan should take note. Because one day, the kids who listen to their music will grow up and will have more important things to talk about than getting with the most beautiful girl in school and repeating again and again that life sucks, without saying exactly why it does sucks, and trying to do constructive instead.
In the end, I think that Simple Plan is a band that could have a lot of potential, if they indeed tried to grow up in their music and lyrics, and stop playing like some candy punk-pop music group.