It’s been a couple of years since the French-Canadian punk rock band Simple Plan release an album and the angsty teenager in me has waited patiently. Well the wait is officially over as the band from Quebec released their album, Taking One for the Team, on February 19, 2016. Taking One for the Team, their fifth studio album, was released through Atlantic Records and is the band’s first full-length record in almost five years. For die-hard fans this record has been long overdue and it will rekindle their love for Simple Plan but it will also introduce the band to a whole new generation.
The album starts off with the official second single, “Opinion Overload”. The song is a musically upbeat track with traditional electric guitar riffs that are used in mainstream punk rock music and lyrics that represent who Simple Plan is. The band made a name for themselves for their empowering and slightly rebellious lyrics that showcase different ranges of emotions and after listening to “Opinion Overload” it’s clear they have stayed on that track. The song is about telling someone that their opinion is unasked for and unneeded. With simple lyrics like “Get out of my face, quit bringing’ me down, I don’t care what you say” they are still able to create a full picture of that person that is telling someone off, which seems like their plan. This is a message, popular with punk rock bands, is also seen on “I Refuse” which is the seventh track on the record. The second track on the album is one that I consider the strongest and has the most commercial success potential. The lyrics are simple, yet highly infectious. The music is strong and fun, which really lends itself for an easy and enjoyable listen. This track is “Boom!”.
“Boom!” is punk rock perfection. Singing along to this track makes you feel like you am at a concert in the audience jamming along, throwing my arms up in the air and yelling BOOM!
Songs like “Kissing Me Like Nobody is Watching”, “Farewell” and “Everything Sucks” continue that sound throughout the album. They are catchy and you do find yourself jamming out to them but they lack that one defining moment that is memorable that “Boom!” has.
The sound of the album takes a little detour with “Singing in the Rain” which features R. City, a duo from the Virgin Islands. The duo added a style of music that surprisingly worked with Simple Plans punk rock style. The song incorporated an island, reggae fusion sound that broke apart the slightly repetitive sound of electric guitars and offered a small yet refreshing break for the listener.
Simple Plan also collaborated with other artists on the album such as New Found Glory lead singer Jordan Pundik on “Farewell” and Juliet Simms on “I Dream About You”. “I Dream About You” is one of the slower songs on the record and also one of the strongest. The song, which is a duet with Simms, has simple yet powerful romantic lyrics that play very well with the dreamy music. As a long time Simple Plan fan, it was very refreshing to hear a song like this on their album and it offered me a different and deeper view on their music and lead singers Pierre Bouvier’s vocals. On that same level is “Perfectly Perfect”, a slow romantic song about how the girl who wrote the song about is perfect to him despite her insecurities. With the help of lyrics like “you’re gonna see you’re beautiful this way”, this song will strike the hearts of female fans everywhere.
A collaboration I did not see coming also occurred on Taking One for the Team and it blew my mind. Simple Plan collaborated with Nelly, the rapper Nelly, on the album’s first official lead single “I Don’t Wanna Go to Bed”. The song has a funky dance sound and for the first time in my life I can actually picture people dancing to a Simple Plan song in the clubs.
In true Simple Plan fashion they included a deeply emotional song that will tug at listeners heart strings. “Problem Child” is about a turmoil relationship with a parent. While “Problem Child” probably won’t reach the success that other deeply emotional Simple Plan songs have in the past, “Welcome to my Life” for example, it will be played in the bedrooms of teenagers everywhere and already lends itself to that demographic.
While Taking One for the Team is the first album Simple Plan has released in almost five years, it is like they never went away. The album reinstated everything you loved about this band. The emotional, relatable lyrics with catchy fun electric guitar riffs and drums fused together to make that perfect punk rock sound that they were known for and brought it back to the year 2016. Songs like “Boom!” and “I Dream About You” showcase both the traditional punk sound as well as a softer side to the band, while other songs like “I Don’t Wanna Go to Bed” will open the band to a new genre and new fans. Taking One for the Team showed why Simple Plan is one of the most remembered and loved punk rock bands of our times.