Taking One for the Team

Taking One for the Team

by Simple Plan


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At the turn of the millennium, when Warped Tour pop-punk was mainstream, Montreal's Simple Plan were the Canadian answer to blink-182 and Good Charlotte. More than a decade after they hit the scene -- and four albums later -- they return with their satisfying fifth LP, Taking One for the Team (Atlantic). There's no pretense here: this album is pure, no-frills, feel-good fun, a start-to-finish crowd-pleaser for fans of that classic pop-punk sound. "Opinion Overload" fires the opening salvo with chugging riffs, shout-outs, and popping drums. They might be defying an ex, a hater, or an authority figure, but with lines like "I'm doing things exactly like I want to...And I don't give a damn if you don't approve," they may as well be flipping off critics and detractors dismissive of a pop-punk album released in 2016. This spirit is channeled throughout, like on the pure nostalgia explosions of "P.S. I Hate You," "Boom!," and "Nostalgic." Elsewhere, the downright optimism of "I Don't Wanna Be Sad" and "Kiss Me Like Nobody's Watching" are cheerful enough to plaster a permanent smile on the listener's face. A pair of guest spots transport the crew back to 2003: fellow scene vet/survivor Jordan Pundik of New Found Glory emotes his way through the throwback "Farewell," while early-aughts rap-pop superstar Nelly lends a party-starting verse to the funky Maroon 5-esque "I Don't Wanna Go to Bed." Other artists drop in to contemporize the affair, with the brothers from R. City channeling radio-friendly beach vibes on "Singing in the Rain," which sounds like another Canadian band, Magic! The quieter moments when the pop-punk melts away to Dashboard emo are refreshing and sweet: "Perfectly Perfect" -- co-written with Plain White T's singer Tom Higgenson -- is lighters-up (or smartphone-screens-in-the-air) ready, while the plaintive "Problem Child" -- co-written with Semi Precious Weapons' Justin Tranter (Fall Out Boy, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Bieber) -- aches and yearns. The party ends with "I Dream About You," a haunting duet with Juliet Simms (The Voice), which swells with beautiful strings and atmospheric synths, like the moodiest alt-emo from Juliana Theory or Acceptance. While most of the album is a direct resurrection of a particular sonic aesthetic, "I Dream About You" pulls Simple Plan into new and exciting territory. As the album closes, Canadian sportscaster Bob Cole announces the play-by-play of a faux hockey game, exclaiming "Oh my goodness, can you believe it? Just like that, Simple Plan have won the game!" When music is presented this directly, and after so many years holding firm to a particular style, it's hard to root against them. They're aware of their legacy and position as now-veterans in a scene that has already experienced another revival with young bands like Neck Deep and All Time Low. Simple Plan -- whose members were in their late thirties at the time of recording -- are the comeback underdog team, winning whether critics like it or not. ~ Neil Z. Yeung

Product Details

Release Date: 02/19/2016
Label: Atlantic
UPC: 0075678665738
catalogNumber: 554289
Rank: 178533

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Simple Plan   Primary Artist
Howard Benson   Vox Continental,Hammond B3
Bob Cole   Announcer
Pierre Bouvier   Vocals,Background Vocals,Group Member
Jeff Stinco   Guitar,Background Vocals,Group Member
David Desrosiers   Bass,Background Vocals,Group Member
Sebastien Lefebvre   Guitar,Background Vocals,Group Member
Chuck Comeau   Drums,Background Vocals,Group Member
Myah Langston   Background Vocals
Lenny Skolnik   Keyboards,Background Vocals
Melanie Fontana   Background Vocals
Jonny Litten   Keyboards,Background Vocals
Sidnie Tipton   Background Vocals
Chady Awad   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Nick Bailey   Composer
Howard Benson   Producer
Mike Plotnikoff   Engineer
Ryan Stewart   Composer,Producer
Gersh   Drum Technician
Simple Plan   Composer,Art Direction,Concept
Tom Higgenson   Composer
Hatsukazu "Hatch" Inagaki   Engineer
Marc VanGool   Guitar Techician
Ryan Ogren   Composer
Justin Tranter   Composer
Fred Jérôme   Art Direction,Concept
Cornell Haynes   Composer
Timothy Thomas   Composer
Theron Thomas   Composer
Lenny Skolnik   Programming
Christopher J. Baran   Composer
Jonny Litten   Programming
Nathaniel Company   Composer

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