MOS Album Review: Simple Plan’s “Taking One For The Team”

Simple Plan is a five-piece pop punk band from Montreal, Quebec, consisting of members Pierre Bouvier, Chuck Comeau, Sebastien Lefebvre, David Desrosiers, and Jeff Stinco. Forming in 1999, they have managed to make quite the name for themselves in the music scene. Their first album, No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls, was released in early 2002 and it definitely got them noticed, featuring songs like I’d Do Anything, Addicted, and I’m Just a Kid, which are still pop punk classics today. With a total of five full-length albums and multiple world tours, not to mention running their very own Simple Plan Foundation, the boys have been nothing short of busy. Their latest album, Taking One For The Team, was released just over a week ago on Atlantic Records. Read Ellen’s review of the album below!

Simple Plan have been known to change up their sound from album to album, but TOFTT might sound a little familiar to you. They’ve gone back to the classic pop punk sound that they had when they first came around and honestly, I couldn’t be happier with the way this one turned out. This album is kinda like Still Not Getting Any… 2.0, but it’s so much better. Now, SNGA has been my favourite album of all time for over ten years now, so that’s saying a lot. It’s the perfect pop punk album, with just the right amount of teen angst mixed in. Keep reading for my track-by-track review!

“OPINION OVERLOAD”: This is the first track on the album, and it really sets the tone for the rest of the album. This is one of those big “screw you” type songs that you just wanna blast and scream at the top of your lungs. It’s basically about doing things your way and not listening to what anyone thinks, which SP has always been all about. This one’s a little heavier than the rest of the album, but it really pumps you up and it’s a great opener.
Standout lyric: “I won’t apologize for what I feel inside, I won’t be pushed around, I won’t be backing down.”

“BOOM!”: This is probably one of the catchiest songs on the album. It’s a feel-good song about being madly in love with someone. There’s nothing better than a pop punk love song in my opinion, and this song is exactly the right way to do it. It’s upbeat, it’s happy, it’s catchy, and it makes you feel it. Try listening to this song without a big dumb smile on your face. It’s impossible.
Standout lyric: “I just wanna let the world know, what we got’s unbreakable. We got it under control, we’re good, we’re solid, we’re gold.”

“KISS ME LIKE NOBODY’S WATCHING”: I am so obsessed with this one. It’s a similar concept to Boom!, but the vibe is totally different. The music in this one isn’t quite as heavy, as it’s mostly bass and drums with some lighter guitar in the background. Everytime I hear this song, I just wanna get up and dance. You know when you’re so in love that you just want everyone to know? That’s exactly what this song is about and exactly what listening to it feels like. I have a feeling I’m gonna have this one stuck in my head for a long time.
Standout lyric: “I don’t care what people might think, I got your name in permanent ink, cause baby this ship ain’t never gonna sink.”

“FAREWELL”: Okay this is one of my favourites. The first time I heard this song I fell in love instantly. It features guest vocals from Jordin Pundik of New Found Glory, and it’s about a relationship coming to an end and letting go of that person. I recently went through a breakup of my own, and this song feels like exactly what I needed. It’s unbelievably relevant. I love the way Bouvier sings, over barely any music, “farewell, I didn’t mean to let you…” right before the chorus kicks in with a much heavier sound. Sometimes all you need is a good song to get you through, and I highly recommend this one.
Standout lyric: “I did my best for what it’s worth, and I gave you all this heart can give, so farewell.”

“SINGING IN THE RAIN”: Let’s step away from the pop punk vibes for a minute here. This  one’s a little different. It’s more of an easy listening tune, with almost a Summer Paradise sound to it. The lyrics in the verses remind me a lot of those from their early track God Must Hate Me, but the chorus is much more positive. This song is all about having a positive outlook on life, even when nothing is going right. There’s no point in focusing on the negative things in life, and this tune will help you remember that.
Standout lyric: “I got a song in my heart and I’m bulletproof, there’s nothing in the world that’s gonna kill this mood.”

“EVERYTHING SUCKS”: This is another one of my favourites. It tells the story about the after effects of a breakup, where everything you used to love doing isn’t quite the same anymore. This is by no means a sad, sappy breakup song. It’s extremely upbeat and honestly, the lyrics are somewhat comical. The bridge features a small bit of harmonies right before going into a big octave change. I’m a huge fan of octave changes. I don’t know what it is about them, but they just make songs sound that much better.
Standout lyric: “My heart was full of love, now all I do is hate, I fall apart when you’re so far away.”

“I REFUSE”: This is such a classic Simple Plan song. If you know anything about them, you know that they’ve kind of always been looked at as underdogs. They’ve always been a band to stand up for what they believe in and they’ve never tried to be something they’re not. I think a lot of their fans really look up to them for that. They have always let their fans know that they all stand together. This song is like an anthem for the outcasts, and I can just picture the crowd at an SP show going crazy for this one.
Standout lyric: “Why should we all be stereotypes, why don’t we all just stand up and fight? In my blood, in my veins, in my heart I know what’s right for me.”

“I DON’T WANNA GO TO BED”: This is the first official radio single released off this album. I’ve gotta be honest. The first time I heard this song I was a little confused. It definitely did not sound like a Simple Plan song. But I’ve come to really, REALLY love this song. It’s different, it’s funky, and it features Nelly (and I’m a sucker for anything Nelly does). I’m telling you, this band is good at everything they do.
Standout lyric: “Let’s get this out of the way, why should we wait forever? We’re meant to be together.”

“NOSTALGIC”: I think this one is my absolute favourite on the album. It’s another extremely relevant song. Seriously, almost every single line relates to my life, it’s almost creepy. It’s about yet another breakup, and thinking about all the old memories and getting that feeling of nostalgia. I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there, and this song is so spot on to the feeling.
Standout lyric: “Maybe someday my heart will be over it, maybe someday I’ll be okay. But I miss you, and I hate feeling like this, it’s making me sick, feeling nostalgic.”

“PERFECTLY PERFECT”: This is one of the slower acoustic tracks on the album. It’s about the person you love being insecure, even though they’re perfect to you. I don’t often use the word “cute” to describe a pop punk song, but this song is exactly that. We all have our insecurities, but those are the things that make us who we are. And more often than not, the things we hate about ourselves are what other people love about us. This song is a great reminder to not stress about all those things you can’t stand about yourself.
Standout lyric: “Maybe I’m a fool, but it’s always been you, cause no one ever makes me smile the way you do.”

“I DON’T WANNA BE SAD”: This is another one that’s a little bit different sounding. It’s similar to Singing in the Rain in the sense that it talks about things in life going wrong, although it doesn’t have quite the same positive touch, where this one is more about being stuck in that bad mood and just wishing to not feel that way anymore. It is another super upbeat tune though and will be sure to have you singing along.
Standout lyric: “I’ve got a badass personality, so I just need to set it free. It starts today, I’m on my way.”

“P.S. I HATE YOU”: I’m a huge fan of this one as well. It has such an old-school Simple Plan sound to it. It reminds me of why I fell in love with this band in the first place. It’s full of angst and a catchy chorus and everything that makes pop punk wonderful. This one’s about breaking up with someone but knowing you’re better off without them. The one who broke your heart, and you just hope it happens to them one day. I think we all have our own person like this, and this is definitely one we can all relate to.
Standout lyric: “We’re done and it’s over, and now the fairytale is up in flames. I hope it was worth it, yeah I hope he was worth it.”

“PROBLEM CHILD”: The second slowed down track on the album, this one is actually kind of heartbreaking. It reminds me a lot of their song Perfect. It’s basically about a relationship gone wrong and feeling like you’re to blame, and like there’s something wrong with you. I’ve always been a big fan of Pierre’s voice, and I feel like it really gets a chance to be heard in this one. It also features a beautiful instrumental transition into the last chorus which adds to the emotion of the song.
Standout lyric: “Am I messed up? Forever flawed, beyond repair, but forever yours.”

“I DREAM ABOUT YOU”: This is the final track on the album and it features guest vocals from Juliet Sims. I absolutely love the sound of this one. It sounds very dreamlike, which is obviously extremely fitting. We all have been in a position where there was someone we just couldn’t stop thinking about, and that’s what this song is about. Pierre and Juliet’s voices compliment each other so nicely, it really is a beautifully done song.
Standout lyric: “I would rather spend all my days reminiscing about yesterday, when I was standing right beside you.”

I am so in love with this album. From start to finish, it’s incredible. It’s full of energy and all that pop punk goodness (can I say pop punk any more in this article??), while also still mixing in a bit of new sounds. Although I do have to say, I am so glad Simple Plan went back to their roots for the most part on this one, I think it’s what they do best. SP has always been a band that’s been all about their fans and they have said that this album is all for them, and I don’t think they’ll be disappointed whatsoever. These French-Canadian rockers are definitely showing that they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. You can pick up Taking One For The Team on iTunes here.

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