No matter what happens, anyone who can put together melodies and evocative (not necessarily deep, just evocative) lyrics will find success if they want it.
Enter Simple Plan and their new album, “Get Your Heart On!
”, which drops June 21. With a thinly veiled double entendre in the vein of Blink-182’s “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket,” it would be easy to dismiss this immediately as snotty pop-punk. But the first leak from the album features Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, while “Summer Paradise” features permanently under-radar rapper K’Naan. There’s more here than meets the eye.
The Cuomo contribution, “I Can’t Keep My Hands Off You,” is a perfect summer pop tune: energetic, catchy, silly and memorable. It is about as guilelessly enthusiastic as pop can get. It is excellent. “Summer Paradise” is a beachy, mellow tune that’s performed predominantly on acoustic guitar. There’s a bit of reggae influence, but only in the “Suburbanites love Bob Marley, too!” sort of way. There’s some whistling, and yet again, an innocent, lovable melody.
It’s not just those two collaborations that work. Whenever Simple Plan includes other musicians, they win. Lead single “Jet Lag” is a “miss-you” song in the vein of Blink-182’s subtly titled “I Miss You,” and with Natasha Bedingfield providing background vocals, there’s pretty much no way it can lose. It does sound a bit like Boys Like Girls with arching arpeggios above the powerchords, but it’s forgivable because of the — you guessed it — great melody.
“Freaking Me Out” features Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low, and it’s a pretty good tune as well. It has more of a rock vibe than the pop songs surrounding it, but the vocals save it. Simple Plan’s production team has a way of modulating vocal “whoa-oh”s so that they nearly become synth noises (“I Can’t Keep My Hands Off You” has the same), and it works to great effect.
The rest make for a mixed bag; some are better than others, but none stand up to the collaborations.
There’s no depth to “Get Your Heart On!”, nor is there really intended to be. But as a collection of pop tunes, it’s pretty great. The songwriting is surprisingly mature for a band that still names its albums so crudely. —Stephen Carradini