Four Year Strong - Explains It All
Record Label: I Surrender Records
Release Date: July 21, 2009
No matter where you travel throughout the world, there is one thing that people love, something that is so great that there are no words to fully describe the feeling it gives you when you have it. If you were to guess what it was, some may say love, because that is what everyone searches for in life. Sadly, that isn't what I'm talking about. Others may say money, because money can buy happiness, but not love (lasting love, that is), but no, it isn't money either. What I'm talking about is ice cream, frozen yogurt, custard, or whatever you choose to call it. This is the one item on this earth that brings smiles to every living thing from coast to coast. Its sweet and tasty flavor and creamy texture is almost too much to handle at times. The way it melts in your mouth is more orgasmic than M&M's (which do melt in your hands). On top of everything that has already been said, you can fix your ice cream to fit whatever need you may be craving, whether it be chocolate chips, peanut butter cups, caramel, anything you can imagine.
Why is this even remotely related to Four Year Strong and their cover album Explains it All? I see the original songs being the ice cream of the situation. No matter how much time passes, they will always have a place in your heart for nostalgic reasons, and for that, you will go back to them and find reasons to enjoy them. Four Year Strong's take on the songs are the candy and goodies that you can add to your ice cream. Deep down they are the same songs that you know and love, they just have a different twist on them -- some that may be more fitted to your liking, and some not so much. But when everything is said and done, it's all about having a good time and enjoying life.
Four Year Strong aren't going to beat around the bush; you know what you are going to get when you first put the album in. Well, maybe that's a lie. I mean, they do start this album out with Beach Boy-style harmonies that sound better than any northern Massachusetts church choir has ever done, though that ends quite abruptly, and the same Four Year Strong that everyone loves comes out to play. "Absolutely (Story Of a Girl)", the first track released off the album, is one of the standout songs, as the three-part vocal layout and harmonies fit perfect with the upbeat song structure. They keep things rolling with "Ironic," the Alanis Morrisette classic, which ironically happens to be my favorite track on the whole album. The band's fast and in-your-face style fits her songwriting and pissed off style of music. Out of all the tracks on the album, I was pleasantly surprised on how this turned out, seeing how I never really found myself to be a big Morrisette fan when I was younger, although everyone else seemed to love her. "Semi Charmed Life" is the other highlight off of Explains It All, and they do Third Eye Blind complete justice with their rendition. Of course, with the good there are the bad, which "Spiderwebs" falls under. The guys try to recreate the sounds of early Gwen Stefani and, even with the help of a few horns, there is no help for this song. While "Spiderwebs" can be tolerated, "Fly" is hard to get through and ends up being the equivalent to freezer burn on a good batch of songs. The biggest reason for this is Travis McCoy's (Gym Class Heroes) endless banter and annoying commentary. Musically and vocally the song just lacks the punch that the rest of the songs have. Finally, the album closes on a high note with "She's So High," which is immensely better than the original, thanks to the addition of the synth.
No matter what the band does, there will always be someone that complains. They had a good time putting together this record, and if you can get paid to have a good time, then you are living the good life. For everyone that complained about the lack of new material: it's on the way. At least enjoy these songs for the rest of the summer heat. I promise they won't melt.
I disagree with most of the feedback, I think this album was great. Aside from "In Bloom", every song was transformed into something that is far from it's original version without going off course by drastically changing them. FYS is possibly one of the most musically talented bands in music right now. Their added harmonies to the songs make them clearly stand out over their original versions and the clever breakdowns stick in my head all day. Awesome album, awesome band. Don't over think the concept and think of it as another "Screen to your stereo" (disregarding the movie theme) over album. Great album.