For the first time since 2011, pioneers of the pop punk scene, Simple Plan are kicking off 2016 in the best way by releasing their brand new album Taking One For The Team. Tailored to hard-core fans and casual listeners alike, the egoless and vivacious attitude of the band radiate within each track, urging you to take one for the team and listen on.
Starting off with single Opinion Overload, a frenzy of rock sound paired with lyrics that are oozing with attitude, both Boom! and Farewell follow suit and employ quite the infectious chorus with droning loops. As well as being home to some classic pop punk anthems full of power, with Everything Sucks and P.S I Hate You playing heavily into an up-tempo, strong riffed tune pulsating with angst that’s enough to have you hooked.
And dialling down the attitude and stripping back the arrangement, Simple Plan offer up a much softer side for the final moments of Taking One For The Team. Problem Child puts the vocals in the spotlight through the use of a subtle melody and acoustic chords while Pierre Bouvier croons, “All my life all I did was try and try, I never meant to be your problem child”. As closing number I Dream About You, promotes emotion in the way of a beautiful duet, with harmonising vocals serenading, “I dream about you, every single night it’s true” / “No I never want to wake up.” Before truly finishing the album (and kind of ruining that heartfelt moment) as it fades to black and you’re brought a sports style announcement. Through the static, claps and cheers the announcer states, “Oh my goodness, can you believe it? And just like that Simple Plan have won the game… they are the new champions”.
But while Taking One For The Team is essentially your classic collection of solid sounding Simple Plan tracks there are two distinct outliers. While these two aren’t necessarily bad, Singing In The Rain, the reggae infused collaboration with R-City and the punk devoid tune, I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed, with R&B superstar Nelly just don’t click with the rest of the albums material. Lyrically they share the confident Simple Plan theme, but stylistically they stunt the overall flow.