May , 2012
Review by A. Alexander Harrison
The All-American Rejects
"Kids On The Street"
Label: Interscope, DGC Records
"No," I said to myself. "I refuse to accept that the All-American Rejects have disappointed me. That simply cannot be the case." Unfortunately, the days of… well… being in the 1990's have come to an end. Someone evidently forgot to tell these upstanding gentlemen of the development, though.
Admittedly, there were a hand full of instances, such as in "Beekeeper's Daughter," where I was pleasantly surprised by a mildly appealing vocal hook or, in the case of the previously mentioned ode, a halfway-decent guitar solo. What can I say? I'm a sucker for the wah-wah pedal. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough.
As a child of the 90's, I'm willing to shamelessly admit that I have, in fact, screamed along to "Gives You Hell" without abandon. This is the kind of thing that set such a high standard for this band, and makes it that much more painful when they flop so hard. These guys used to be good at writing material for their teenage audiences. Kids In The Street feels like they tried to cater to the same now-20-somethings that used to spend their hard-earned money on their albums. Unfortunately, it sounds a lot like Van Halen or Metallica putting out a "back to our roots" style album that is, in reality, simply designed to appeal to their aging fan base. Just because it sounds exactly like the All-American Rejects we've come to know and love, doesn't mean it is any good. The musical, lyrical and emotional content simply isn't there.
I'm not going to go as far as to say these guys didn't try. A practiced ear can tell they really did. Tracks like "Bleeding Into Your Mind" and "I For You" are a clear indication that Tyson Ritter and company are still in touch with their internal creative engines, and they've still got something to write about. The simple fact is, they haven't adapted well to the times, and beyond the 'touchy-feely' aspect of the songwriting exhibited in Kids On The Street, there is very little longevity or musical validity present.
In spite of all of this, I still love this band and hope they survive long enough to reach maturity; then redouble their efforts on a subsequent project. In general, the fans seem to have mixed opinions about Kids On The Street, which gives me the hope they will survive. If it were a total flop in everyone's eyes, I wouldn't be so optimistic.
In short, if you came up on punk, you know punk. You can write punk, then swallow everything else and write yourself some more punk, and the people will love you for it. Better luck next time, gentlemen, assuming of course, there's going to be a next time.