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Summer Set, The - Legendary Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 9
Production 9
Creativity 9
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 90%
Member Ratings
Vocals 5.44
Musicianship 4.66
Lyrics 4.52
Production 4.91
Creativity 4.38
Lasting Value 4.69
Reviewer Tilt 4.91
Average: 48%
Inside AP.net

Summer Set, The - Legendary

Reviewed by: Joe DeAndrea (04/12/13)
The Summer Set - Legendary
Record Label: Fearless Records
Release Date: April 16th, 2013

Oh man. I'm almost 21. Do you know what this means? It means that in a few more months, I'm going to be at a bar ordering my first ever drink. I don't know exactly what it's going to be, but I know it's going to be colorful, delicious, and incredibly girly. At some point during the night, I'll probably even stumble around half-singing/half-mumbling Taylor Swift lyrics. I know this is going to happen because at this point in my life ... I know who I want to be, where I want to be, and I'm confident about which sugary paradises I'm going to consume. I guess it just feels pretty damn awesome to be so sure of everything that's going on for once.

I've gotta think that The Summer Set feels the same way about themselves, too. The band was met with a career defining decision when it came to their third full-length, as they had to decide whether to continue down the road of becoming adult contemporary darlings (Everything's Fine) or head back to their pop heavy roots (Love Like This). Their sophomore effort Everything's Fine may have explored unknown territories, but that doesn't mean it was for the better. Though it was an incredibly solid record, it was dubbed by the band as "the album that came a little too early" and in a way, they had a point.

Trading in their high energy pop melodies for mid-tempo acoustic ballads, what was supposed to be a record that channeled their inner-Goo Goo Dolls just made them feel like 30 year olds when they were barely over 20. So, as a result, they took a different approach to the writing process this time around. While Everything's Fine took only 17 days to record, the construction on album number three spanned over a total of 8 months, all starting back from June of 2012 where the band spent their entire summer writing in a house in Arizona.

Once summer ended, a different Summer Set emerged – one that was finally comfortable in their own skin (and age). The finished product, Legendary, displays that effortlessly. Legendary may have started off as a How I Met Your Mother reference, but it has evolved into something much bigger – a movement that has encouraged everyone to become "legendary," or in other words, become the best version of themselves. It's also a fitting title in the sense that the band has even taken their own advice – Legendary is not only the best version we've seen of The Summer Set, but one of the best records that this genre has ever seen in general.

What exactly is The Summer Set's genre anyway? "Go back to pop-punk!," the children cried ... but that never really made much sense. The Summer Set were never pop-punk – not even during their Love Like This days. I’d feel weird even associating "rock" to their name. They're a pop band through and through, and that's what they always have been. In fact, I'm coining the term "sorry-not-sorry-pop" as their unofficial genre – because that's the best way it can be described. Legendary never shies away from being a Top 40 monster – synths, co-writers, drum samples – all of it combines to make some of the catchiest songs I've ever heard, and The Summer Set doesn't give a shit who has a problem with it.

Who can really blame them? Legendary shines with its emphasis on glossy production, making drumbeats and booming electronic elements the record's focal points. They take it in stride, too, as evident by Brian Dales' addictive vocal melodies that accompany the instrumentation beautifully. On tracks like "Jukebox (Life Goes On)" and "Lightning In A Bottle," it's clear that songwriting abilities have improved. Contributing to the latter is Dr. Luke protιgι Emily Wright, who has been responsible for crafting tracks for the likes of Katy Perry and One Direction, and her presence certainly shows on "Lightning."

Wright just scratches the surface on co-writers for Legendary, which include Kevin Bard (Stereo Skyline), Chris Wallace, Cady Groves, and Andrew Dawson (Jay-Z, Kanye West). It's an eclectic mix for sure, but the diversity of collaborators lets each song stay in a league of its own. "Boomerang" and "The Way We Were" have some of the best choruses in The Summer Set's catalog, while Sugarcult's Tim Pagnotta lends a writing hand to "Rescue" – a track that could have been taken straight out of Some Nights' handbook with its anthemic nature and Lion King-esque percussion. While most songs remain upbeat overall, gems like "Someday" and "Heart On The Floor" (which features a fantastic appearance by Dia Frampton) act as some of the strongest on the record, bringing the tempo down a notch. Really, each song just acts as a prelude to the title track of Legendary – an ambitious 5+ minute closer that essentially is the culmination of everything that The Summer Set has gone through up until this point, and it marks the end of a record that has undoubtedly accomplished what the band was always hoping to achieve.

Honestly, it didn't make a difference which kind of record The Summer Set decided to create, because the confidence and assurance that resides in Legendary is the most progression the band has ever made. Taking the initiative to decide who you really are as a band and act on that, despite what anyone else thinks, may not be a literal sonic progression, but it's sure as hell a character progression. When you can make that come across in your music, too – it's far more impressive than using "real instruments" or writing every single song by yourself.

"Raise your glass when times are tough," Dales croons in "Maybe Tonight" – but judging by the way things are going in camp Summer Set, those glasses are staying on the table. If everything before was fine ... everything now is perfect.

9.0/10

Track Listing
01) Maybe Tonight
02) Jukebox (Life Goes On)
03) Boomerang
04) Lightning In A Bottle
05) Heart On The Floor (feat. Dia Frampton)
06) Fuck U Over
07) Happy For You
08) The Way We Were
09) 7 Days
10) Someday
11) Rescue
12) Legendary
Produced by: Dan Book, Alexei Misoul, Mighty Mike, Ian Kirkpatrick, Emily Wright, Andrew Dawson, Matt Rad, Will McCoy

The Summer Set is:
Brian Dales – vocals
John Gomez – guitar
Josh Montgomery – guitar
Stephen Gomez – bass
Jess Bowen – drums

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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 63
01:49 AM on 04/12/13
#2
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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christ almighty haha
01:55 AM on 04/12/13
#3
awesomo91
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haha, i think this deserves 100%! .... minus like 20-25%. i can see you giving them 90% cause you like them very much and - this is ok, haha. nice review, too.
it's nontheless a catchy and nice pop record from the summer set.
there are some jams on this and it's pretty enjoyable.
favorite tracks: fuck u over, maybe tonight, boomerang, lightning in a bottle, the way we were, jukebox.
go, give it a chance!
02:00 AM on 04/12/13
#4
awesomo91
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haha, i think this deserves 100%! .... minus like 20-25%. i can see you giving them 90% cause you like them very much and - this is ok, haha. nice review, too.
it's nontheless a catchy and nice pop record from the summer set.
there are some jams on this and it's pretty enjoyable.
favorite tracks: fuck u over, maybe tonight, boomerang, lightning in a bottle, the way we were, jukebox.
go, give it a chance!
i forgot, if you take this in comparison to other 'pop' records this really is a 9/10.
11:55 AM on 04/12/13
#5
RockVocalPower
Ups and Downsizing
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lol I know you are BFFs with these guys but come on now.

This reads like a biography.
12:06 PM on 04/12/13
#6
FTank
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Dude. You're making me so stoked for this
01:05 PM on 04/12/13
#7
guitarguy211
The Starship Renegade
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Well-written review. I don't feel quite so sure about how I like the album, but I completely agree that this feels like the album they wanted and needed to make.

My thoughts on the album are in the stream thread, may move it in here as well...
01:55 PM on 04/12/13
#8
brothemighty
Blue moon, where are you today?
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Oh God Joe
02:09 PM on 04/12/13
#9
brothemighty
Blue moon, where are you today?
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I don't know why I even read Joe's reviews; everything with "summer" in the band name gets an automatic 90%

I'll listen to this album (I liked a few songs from their last one) but I doubt I'll be into this album as a whole. Have you guys heard The Way I Fell In by the morning of? Now that's a deserved 90% pop album. Even the new Lydia might be in the 80% range.

I'm listening to the new Paramore right now, and by goodness it is terrible. AP gave it an 80% when it's a 34% at the most. I'm expecting this to be all right, but I'm doubting I'm going to award 9 out of 10 to an album that, even from Joe's review, seems insipid and unfocused.

Oh, but hey Joe! Enjoy your 21st man! I just had mine. Exp tip: take advantage of all the free drinks first, and then wind down with the fruity stuff. You'll kick yourself later if you don't
02:11 PM on 04/12/13
dangerofthought
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Really, the main thing I took away from this is that Joe is only 20 and that someone needs to be recording his birthday the entire time.
02:19 PM on 04/12/13
Joe DeAndrea
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I don't know why I even read Joe's reviews; everything with "summer" in the band name gets an automatic 90%

I'll listen to this album (I liked a few songs from their last one) but I doubt I'll be into this album as a whole. Have you guys heard The Way I Fell In by the morning of? Now that's a deserved 90% pop album. Even the new Lydia might be in the 80% range.

I'm listening to the new Paramore right now, and by goodness it is terrible. AP gave it an 80% when it's a 34% at the most. I'm expecting this to be all right, but I'm doubting I'm going to award 9 out of 10 to an album that, even from Joe's review, seems insipid and unfocused.

Oh, but hey Joe! Enjoy your 21st man! I just had mine. Exp tip: take advantage of all the free drinks first, and then wind down with the fruity stuff. You'll kick yourself later if you don't

i loved the morning of album. so glad they're back.
03:32 PM on 04/12/13
bnizzle
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Everything Joe said.
Record is perfect.
Clever girl...
04:03 PM on 04/12/13
brothemighty
Blue moon, where are you today?
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OK, I listened. Kind of a colossal step back. I don't hate "Fuck u over" (chord progression is catchy) or "way we were," and I bet my girlfriend would be into "boomerang." But everything else is kind of, y'know, not for me. "Rescue" sounds like they're trying to cash in a little too much on the rolling success of "Some Nights," (the song) and the rest of the tracks themselves just lack heart. C'mon, lead singer Brian Dales, two James Dean references? We get what you're going for, man. In terms of instrumentation, the aforementioned lack of real instruments wouldn't be a problem for me if it didn't have that over-over-overproduced dancey radio dance vibe that everybody thinks they need to have now to chart a single. Pop can be creative and happy, or upbeat and meaningful, without resorting to a record with eight vapid 4/4 fresh-from-protools DJ-ready club jams about hooking up and drinking and 4 cringeworthily pompous 5-minute ballads about how much a dude really likes a girl or how f*cking alone he feels watching Netflix while life is passing him by. Like I said, not for me. I might download three or four songs, but the album as a whole is somewhere in the low 50s for me. And that's taking into account the exceedingly generous Absolutepunk review scale. I understand that "Love the Love You Have" and "Everything's Fine" didn't make The Summer Set rich and famous, but deep down they should know that none of these new songs are going to become mainstream hits in this day and age without scoring a Glee cover or something. The stars have to align, guys. It's not worth dumbing down your tunes to reach the even dumber masses when in reality, the quality of your music no longer has any bearing on your success. You could be Imagine Dragons or Mumford and Sons or fun. and not have to sacrifice anything to get big. Don't put out your "Dirty Work" when you're just going to end up going back to your old sound and settling for less anyway.

This goes for every artist ever: BE YOU. If you're a hit, you're a hit. There are exceptions, but by and large the music itself won't help you break through anymore. Either make the music you want to make, or hit record and roll the dice.
05:08 PM on 04/12/13
iseejosh
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I don't see it being a 90, but with your 21st coming up and the lyrical content of the record and general carefree attitude I can see it resinating with you. It is really catchy, mindless pop and a solid 70 I would say. I am glad they are back to more upbeat material.
06:28 PM on 04/12/13
jco3
Oh, hello there, internet.
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Don't mean to be an ass, and I realize people need help along the way, but the idea that this is the record they wanted to make, and that this record this is the real them doesn't correlate well with the idea that they used so many co-writers.

Sound like it would fit-in well with the top-40, though. Good for them, methinks.
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