Punknews.org
Four Year Strong - Explains It All (Cover Artwork)

Four Year Strong

Four Year Strong: Explains It AllExplains It All (2009)
Decaydance

Reviewer Rating: 1.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: SloaneDaleySloaneDaley
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Nostalgia must be a lucrative industry; I mean, look at all those shitty t-shirts referencing things like Care Bears and My Little Pony worn by people who weren't even around to experience them in the first place or those disgusting Michael Bay-directed "Transformers" movies. People out there must b.
iTunes StoreAmazon


Nostalgia must be a lucrative industry; I mean, look at all those shitty t-shirts referencing things like Care Bears and My Little Pony worn by people who weren't even around to experience them in the first place or those disgusting Michael Bay-directed "Transformers" movies. People out there must be absolutely fiending for a fabricated shared experience; that is the only way I can explain Four Year Strong's collection Explains It All, which compiles '90s radio pop hits by the likes of Sugar Ray and Third Eye Blind.

Even though this isn't a proper album and, as such a thing like track list flow isn't as carefully attended to, FYS have picked the perfect opener for this collection in "So Much for the Afterglow," which originally opened Everclear's third album of the same name. Everclear were abandoning much of their grunge influence here for straight-up power-pop and the doo-wop vocal harmonization that ushers in the song is a good introduction to something that focuses on some of the more popular rock-pop bands of the '90s. Four Year Strong actually improve upon the original with better harmonization and add just enough punk grit to the poppy guitar progression that was hinted at in the original, making for some fantastic pop-punk. When they try to throw in slightly heavier riffs and drumming from their own hardcore influences, it, for the most part, works. I have to caution any raised expectations, however, because this is both the starting point and high point for the album, as the band never again seem to create anything that builds upon the original while paying respect so thoroughly.

Four Year Strong manage a unique feat on Explains It All -- they made me say the words "I feel like listening to Sugar Ray." That is how bad the cover of their hit "Fly" with Gym Class Heroes is. It opens up with ad libs of, "I wish I had a sweet Jamaican accent cuz I'd say some real sexy shit right here." What does that even mean? It just ends up as sounding like mockery. The vocal delivery that pours on forced attitude and useless chugging guitar riffs rob the original song of of its summery good-time vibes and leaves you feeling like you walked in on the worst karaoke party ever. Stupid ad libs come up once again in the cover of Alanis Morissette's "Ironic," with the line "it's like meeting the man of your dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife," the band adds in background laughter. It ruins an otherwise anomalous strong performance that sounds like a Sing the Sorrow-era AFI song, picking up on Morrisette and AFI's melancholy in a rather unexpected way. I think it highlights a huge problem with the record in that a number of these songs feel like the band isn't laughing with the original artists but laughing at them. It feels like stupid bullshit ironic covers, and an artist doing one of those as a B-side can be okay but a whole album is hard to swallow.

Artists like Ted Leo and Rock Plaza Central have paid homage to contemporary pop acts in ways that was sincere, taking the universality of those pop songs and infusing their ideas and style into them. Aside from "So Much for the Afterglow" and "Ironic," the rest fo the album falls into two categories: bad and uninteresting. I'd say stick with the originals, or A New Found Glory.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Brand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside MeRise Against - The Sufferer & the WitnessPolar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just DisappearPropagandhi - Today's Empires, Tomorrow's AshesRaised Fist - DedicationParkway Drive - HorizonsBalance and Composure / Tigers Jaw - SplitDirect Hit! - #4Dear Landlord - Dream HomesRaised Fist - Fuel

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Misanthropee (September 29, 2009)

Good review.

And I also will defend Ted Leo's Kelly Clarkson cover. It's just a great fucking song. The lyrics are awful but it has the catchiest hooks ever. If you sped it way up and made the vocals gruff it wouldn't be out of place on a Dillinger Four album or something.

HankScorpio (September 28, 2009)

I must have been in a bad mood or something before. This has really grown on me, it's just a fun album. I did overplay RODT, but after a short break, it's still just as fantastic. Weird.

bytheslice (September 28, 2009)

Haven't heard this yet, but this band is growing on me (their 1st album is good). I think it would've been a bit more interesting had they thrown in a ton of hc/punk songs and maybe 1 radio song. Mad props to these guys for covering Reach The Sky (and on other occasions, The Suicide File).

punker001 (September 28, 2009)

I agree with everything exept. Transformers is a gr8 movie and im old and a fan of the original cartoons!

RedElephant (September 27, 2009)

gimmicky and annoying.

thepopeofchili-town (September 27, 2009)

Words cannot express how much fuck this band. Seriously. Set Your Goals too. Usually when I dislike a band, I try to be constructive and give a reason why, but.... just fuck these guys.

Good review.

thekeyboardplayersucks (September 27, 2009)

this is probably the worst cd i've ever tried to listen to

damo (September 26, 2009)

no one can beat Snuff for great cover versions

Jelone (September 26, 2009)

This record is a fine blend of songs I never want to hear again ("Fly") and songs I never want to hear covered by Four Year Strong ("Bullet With Butterfly Wings"). Ted Leo, on the other hand, has done great covers of "Since U Been Gone," "Dancing in the Dark," and the Cure's "Six Different Ways."

Doctormistersir (September 26, 2009)

Score is for carebears.

HankScorpio (September 25, 2009)

Ugh. I listened to their actual album for like a month straight (guilty pleasure, I'll admit), and now it's like I've had too much candy and I never want to eat junk food again. This collection is pretty bad, and even the stuff I thought was kinda cool on Rise or Die Trying has worn thin into mediocrity.

damnitsderek (September 25, 2009)

I tried to listen to this and gave up after the first couple songs. This is just fucking atrocious.

millslane (September 25, 2009)

they should of just made an ep with this because half of it is pretty bad. about 5 or 6 good songs

sloanedaley (September 25, 2009)

"Since when is Punknews this prententious? If you are looking for anything more than "bullshit ironic covers" in an album full of 90's songs by a band like Four Year Strong than you need to be looking somewhere else. To defend Ted Leo's cover as not stupid and ironic, but a meaningful reflection on a pop song and then pan these guys for covering 90's pop songs, is simply not liking this album because the band is Four Year Strong. This album is ok for what it is. A nostalgic look back at some of the 90's songs that I know laugh at rather than with."

thanks for the perspective Eric, however it is possible to bring a little fun and honesty to the table. Ted Leo has said himself that that Kelly Clarkson tune was just a great pop song no irony about it and he did do something rather creative with it creating a medley with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Maps. More work than these covers show anyways. I have nothing against Four Year Strong, I spent the entire second paragraph praising one of the covers here. If it was just that one on a single this score would be much higher.

these_parks_are_lakes (September 25, 2009)

"To defend Ted Leo's cover as not stupid and ironic, but a meaningful reflection on a pop song and then pan these guys for covering 90's pop songs, is simply not liking this album because the band is Four Year Strong."

It's really not.

Ted Leo's career has been long, varied, and backed with a personality that many people consider to have great character. When Ted covers a song, you can trust that he believes in it, and his performance is an attempt to make it universal like a folk song. We don't have the same rich history with which to view FYS and it's easy for me to understand how releasing an entire record of 90's pop covers so early in their career comes off a shallow, hokey, and yes a mockery.

The polished, slick New Found Glory style doesn't help them any because it's a style characterized by a whiny dick-and-fart-joke attitude

Dante3000 (September 25, 2009)

It's true punknews, invested listening in an album is a pretentious. I recommend you write most of your reviews after hearing 30 second clips of each song while played off a Teddy Ruxspin.
-Dante

mashole (September 25, 2009)

sing the sorrow- AFi?!?! what the fuck are you talking about. its not diffing nor praising either album but how you drew the connection between either of these albums is retarded

NewKid (September 25, 2009)

"I think it highlights a huge problem with the record in that a number of these songs feel like the band isn’t laughing with the original artists but laughing at them. It feels like stupid bullshit ironic covers, and an artist doing one of those as a B-side can be okay but a whole album is hard to swallow."

Since when is Punknews this prententious? If you are looking for anything more than "bullshit ironic covers" in an album full of 90's songs by a band like Four Year Strong than you need to be looking somewhere else. To defend Ted Leo's cover as not stupid and ironic, but a meaningful reflection on a pop song and then pan these guys for covering 90's pop songs, is simply not liking this album because the band is Four Year Strong. This album is ok for what it is. A nostalgic look back at some of the 90's songs that I know laugh at rather than with.

Eric

Bryne (September 25, 2009)

I think it highlights a huge problem with the record in that a number of these songs feel like the band isn’t laughing with the original artists but laughing at them.

Boom. Hit the nail on the head.

This record's just awful.

Blackjaw_ (September 25, 2009)

Annoying.

Dante3000 (September 25, 2009)

Sloane just catapulted to the front of my "would" list.
-Dante

OverDefined (September 25, 2009)

I couldn't believe how unlistenable this was. From the extra chug parts to the over-anunciated vocals, it's just too much.

Contests

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go