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-182s 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 Weezers Rivers Cuomo, while Summer Paradise features permanently under-radar rapper KNaan. Theres more here than meets the eye.
The Cuomo contribution, I Cant 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 thats performed predominantly on acoustic guitar. Theres a bit of reggae influence, but only in the Suburbanites love Bob Marley, too! sort of way. Theres some whistling, and yet again, an innocent, lovable melody.
Its 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-182s subtly titled I Miss You, and with Natasha Bedingfield providing background vocals, theres pretty much no way it can lose. It does sound a bit like Boys Like Girls with arching arpeggios above the powerchords, but its forgivable because of the you guessed it great melody.
Freaking Me Out features Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low, and its 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 Plans production team has a way of modulating vocal whoa-ohs so that they nearly become synth noises (I Cant 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.
Theres no depth to Get Your Heart On!, nor is there really intended to be. But as a collection of pop tunes, its pretty great. The songwriting is surprisingly mature for a band that still names its albums so crudely. Stephen Carradini