Forever the Sickest Kids – Underdog Alma Mater
Release Date: April 29th, 2008
Record Label: Universal Records
Studying for exams, trying to finally beat Zelda, and sobbing over the girl who will never like me are on the list of things that keep me up past my usual bedtime. When I first heard Underdog Alma Mater, I realized that listening to this album was going to be put on the list as well. After numerous listens, I just did not want to put it down, and I don't think I could have even if I tried. In fact, if I did, I'd probably be listening to it in my dreams. After releasing what was one of my favorite EPs from last year, Forever the Sickest Kids unleash their debut album via Universal Records and I couldn't be more satisfied. From the unreal amount of hooks to the energetic vocals, it's safe to say that this album will be in my Summer rotation all season long.
Re-recording songs are usually a hit or miss. With Underdog Alma Mater, Forever the Sickest Kids take on re-working five of the songs that have been released prior to this album, and overall, they pretty much nail most of them. The only ones I'm indifferent to would be "Believe Me, I'm Lying," which sounds watered down compared to its previous version, and "Coffee Break" which just sounds out of place and probably would have been better off as a b-side. Although, just when I thought they couldn't make "Hey Brittany" and "She's a Lady" anymore better, they manage to pack it with a harder punch that makes them irresistible.
The catchy melodies and infectious chorus' aren't even the album's high-point. The production on Underdog Alma Mater is phenomenal. With Matt Squire, a pop-producing mastermind behind the boards, it becomes obvious that not only does Forever the Sickest Kids have the ability to break through the mainstream, but completely burst through it. If any proof is needed, it's right there in "Whoa Oh! (Me Vs. Everyone)," track one and the first single off the album. The lyrics are simple and the chorus will probably be one of the most fun to sing along to all year. "That for Me" is a song with its shoes put on the wrong feet, considering its verses are its most memorable attribute, and its chorus is the part that's lacking. "The Way She Moves" is one of the stand out tracks on the album and definitely the most "boy-bandish" sounding of the rest. If released back in '99, I could totally see it taking on LFO for the number one spot on TRL. The hits keep coming though as "Uh Huh" and "Phone Call" both have qualities to make it to the top of the charts. Forever the Sickest Kids save one of the best for last as "Catastrophe" finishes off an album that's a sure-fired, sugary induced musical stomachache.
All in all, Underdog Alma Mater will most likely be people's guiltiest pleasure of the year. It's nothing but a straight-forward pop record with explosives melodies and unforgettable hooks that will be sure to make the warm weather that much more enjoyable for anyone.