Album Review: The All-American Rejects – When The World Comes Down

I’m going to preface this review with my past experiences with The All-American Rejects to give an idea of how much I was looking forward to this record. The Oklahoma band’s self-titled album played as a soundtrack to my middle school years. “Swing, Swing” was one of the first songs I put on a mix CD for a girl and “The Last Song” was the first one I used to break up with someone. Back then, all I wanted was a power pop album to sing along with while playing spin-the-bottle and that’s exactly what The All-American Rejects’ are good at. Their sophomore effort, Move Along, “kicked it up a notch”, to borrow from Emeril, with heavier electric guitars (as heavy as pop punk can get) and bigger sounding drums. That notch was enough for me to leave that album in my car for a solid three months. The same mix of love songs and breakup songs were there and it came out just in time for me to dedicate “Dirty Little Secret” to an ex-girlfriend. Again, I wasn’t expecting anything more than a few pop songs about girls to soundtrack road trips and the occasional backseat endeavor.

Fast-forward another three years and When The World Comes Down is released after a three year wait: 2008. Now that I’m a sophomore in college, I’d like to think that I’ve grown up a bit since “Swing Swing” first made its way onto my iPod. Unfortunately for Tyson Ritter and the gang, well, they didn’t. This record is the same old song and dance, songs about girls. Some are spiteful (“Gives You Hell” & “Breakin'”) while some are hopeful, (“I Wanna” & “Back To Me”) and none of them are impressive.

Maybe it’s my fault for expecting them to have matured at the ripe age of 28 or maybe it’s theirs for sticking with such elementary lyrics. With “Gives You Hell” released as the first single, I was left with a sour taste in my mouth, or ears rather. Even so, I was hoping there would be a little substance on the record but unfortunately, it’s slim pickings.

The album starts with “I Wanna”, and with clever lyrics like, “I wanna touch you, you wanna touch me too,” so it’s clear they’re still targeting the pre-teens. That track immediately turned me off to the rest of the album, making it difficult to listen through the whole album before writing a review. The first song to get close to what I expected for this album was “Real World”. The dark instrumentation stands out among the rest of the tracks.

After setting high expectations for this album, I found it incredibly hard to listen to, making for a painful three weeks while trying to finish this review. In the end, a few tracks grew on me (“Gives You Hell” & “Real World”) but only after repeated listens. If I didn’t have to write this review, I would have deleted the entire album after only a single listen through. I wish I were able to write a more thorough and in depth review of When The World Comes Down. However, Tyson Ritter said it best in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “The new album is something you’ve never heard before”…and it’s something I never want to hear again.

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