The precocious poster children of horrible punk-pop have struck again. A Simple Plan, in perhaps their first stroke of genius, has titled their new album Still Not Getting Any. Despite their major-label money and painfully over-coiffed haircuts, the reason A Simple Plan aren’t getting any is clear after listening to this dreary, uninspired album.
As for the content, there is nothing even remotely enjoyable or worthwhile on this album. “Welcome to My Life” features acoustic guitar for the sole purpose of reminding the listener that A Simple Plan’s members are sensitive. The song then quickly descends into the over-distorted, underwritten mediocrity A Simple Plan have become so well known for. Despite the emo-inflection of the lyrics, the band fails to convince the listener that there is any reason to feel bad for them.
A pronounced lack of energy bogs down the album. The lyrics and music are shallow and self-indulgent, but A Simple Plan could have put up a fight by injecting some excitement into Getting Any. The song “Thank You” is a perfect example: It is bad from the get-go, but once the bridge kicks in and A Simple Plan decide to make it a ballad, the song becomes laughably bad.
The real problem with this album becomes crystal clear on “Me Against the World.” By replacing the word “music” with the word “world,” A Simple Plan has cleverly avoided any Britney Spears comparisons. After a quick listen, however, the similarities between this song and the pop-diva’s hit are strong. They are poorly constructed and formulaic, with repetitive verses and unoriginal instrumentation. The feigned anger is not believable, as their pop presentation and upbeat tones make it a hard sell. Because A Simple Plan cannot be convincingly pissed off, the album, and especially this song, flounder.
“One,” the official closer, is completely incomprehensible both in its structure and sheer existence as a song. “We’re the pain you feel / We’re the scars that don’t heal / We’re the tear in your eyes.” This convoluted language and lack of clarity are prevalent throughout, moving it from really bad to historically terrible.
The untitled bonus track is intriguing. It sounds as if it is a tongue-in-cheek parody of ’80s power ballads, except it is neither tongue-in-cheek nor a parody. This is a legitimate attempt to incorporate a piano and a strings section, but the whole genre the band is emulating went out of style with the Berlin Wall. The “blistering” guitar solo is flaccid and uninteresting.
The fancy and abundant packaging of this album couldn’t save it from the fact that every song, without exception, is lifeless. This album has an identity crisis. Are they happy? Are they sad? Are they angry? After a quick listen to Still Not Getting Any, no one will care.
Rating: 1/2 star out of 5 stars