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Four Year Strong - Enemy of the World Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8
Production 9.5
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9.75
Final Verdict: 87%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.25
Musicianship 8.75
Lyrics 8.4
Production 9.68
Creativity 8.53
Lasting Value 9.63
Reviewer Tilt 9.73
Average: 91%
Inside AP.net

Four Year Strong - Enemy of the World

Reviewed by: Thomas Nassiff (03/07/10)
Four Year Strong - Enemy of the World
Record Label: Universal Motown
Release Date: March 9, 2010

Four Year Strong are an important band to me. Their 2007 full-length Rise or Die Trying is what I use to mark the beginning of my current love affair with the genre of pop punk. As much as I loved them, though, I tried to keep my distance, as investing too much into a band in this genre could prove futile, as pop punk groups aren't exactly notorious for their long tenures. However, all my emotions for their music are let out at their live shows, and after seeing them in late January, all of the excitement for their new album I was keeping low-key finally let out. Yet after my first listen into Four Year Strong's Universal Motown debut, Enemy of the World, the feeling that I most accurately reflected was relief. So much relief.

Don't get me wrong, I never doubted the boys, but Rise or Die Trying was an automatic heavyweight, and after a cover album that came along with some controversy (and little to no classic FYS beatdowns), I was getting kind of anxious. The new material I had heard gave me hope, and the first spin of Enemy really calmed me down. So I got set to listen to it again, for real this time, and I think I came out of that listen as exhausted as I do out of their shows. Enemy of the World punches you in the mouth, pushes you to the floor, picks you back up, dusts you off, then makes way for the 18-wheeler hiding in the background to plow you over. Go ahead, make a joke about the word "plow". Okay, done?

Now, what I just said pretty much sums up the album, in my opinion. Opener "It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now" and "On A Saturday" are the initial punch. The former is filled with breakdowns that require you to vacate your seat and the latter begs to be yelled back at your speakers, as Dan O'Connor, Alan Day, and Josh Lyford all separately contribute to the vocals. "Will your legs fail you / When you stand too straight and tall? / 'Cause the world's gone mad / The taller you are, the harder you fall." No, those lyrics aren't a work of art, but did you pop this album into your stereo expecting to hear poetry? First single "Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)" and "Nineteen With Neck Tatz" are the bullies that push you to the ground, showing that Four Year Strong have somehow gotten heavier and more catchy. "Find My Way Back", Four Year Strong's first real radio-suitable song, picks you back up and protects you from "What the Hell Is a Gigawatt", which threatens to run in and hit stick you at 100 miles per hour. Then, one of the lighter tracks on Enemy of the World, "One Step At A Time", dusts you off and makes way for the last four songs, which are driving the 18-wheeler.

"This Body Pays the Bill$", dollar sign included, manages to cash in both the best chorus and the best breakdown on the album. Fans who thought that the band could never top "Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die" will think twice after the first time they sing along to that chorus with the band. "Paul Revere's Midnight Ride" made me stop for a second and realize how much Day and O'Connor's voices and guitar work have improved on this album, truly a step up from RODT. "Flannel is the Color of My Energy" showcases an unbelievably catchy chorus before "Enemy of the World" helps you fist-pump your way out of this record.

Enemy of the World never slows down, even for a second, never letting you catch your breath. As I just described each song individually, it's important to note that together they all complement each other phenomenally. While Rise or Die Trying has each track flowing into the next perfectly, this album, which is infinitely better produced, courtesy of Machine, lets each track stand its own ground. All of them sound larger than life, like Dan O'Connor is going to smack you in the face with a giant boulder or that terrifying robot shark is going to sneak up behind you when you're not looking. Enemy of the World presents us with what I believe are hands-down the best gang vocals ever recorded. Every track has at least a taste, but "Wasting Time", "Nineteen With Neck Tatz", and "Enemy of the World" are built around them. The overall improvement of each single member of the band and the band as a whole is extremely evident, as Enemy of the World tops Rise or Die Trying, even if it is just by a tad. The production is the key factor here, and like I said, those gang vocals aren't easy to ignore. This album hits at a perfect time, as spring is kicking in, and I think it will carry on into the summer and make Four Year Strong a must-see on this year's Warped Tour (main stage?).

Now, to close my review, I feel like I have to draw a comparison to The Wonder Years' The Upsides, as I stated already that I had no doubts that it would take home the pop-punk album of the year title. Obviously, although you can classify both releases as pop punk albums, they aren't very similar. Enemy of the World presents superior production and slightly better songwriting while The Upsides presents a phenomenal message. As a friend of mine put it, The Wonder Years are singing about real life with passion, while FYS are all STAGE DIVE, YO! As eloquently put as that was, it's fairly accurate. These two releases provide two of the best pop punk albums in a while within the first three months of 2010, and hopefully the rest of the year will follow suit. After giving Enemy a good 40 listens or so, I still think The Wonder Years are wearing the crown - even if they had to survive a 12-round bout with Four Year Strong. Last year, New Found Glory proclaimed themselves the heavyweight champions of pop punk. While they are definitely the forefathers, there's another powerhouse pulling into the ring now, and they're riding in a purple and gold 18-wheeler.

Recommended If You Likepop punk, New Found Glory, Rise or Die Trying, throwing down in mesh shorts, beards, New England Patriots, Newbury Comics, the Boston Tea Party, eating and breathing and sleeping, car rides, loud speakers


Download These First"Nineteen With Neck Tatz", "What the Hell is A Gigawatt?", "This Body Pays the Bill$", "Enemy of the World"


Bare Essentials
1. It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now
2. On A Saturday
3. Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)
4. Nineteen With Neck Tatz
5. Find My Way Back
6. What the Hell is A Gigawatt?
7. One Step at A Time
8. This Body Pays the Bill$
9. Paul Revere's Midnight Ride
10. Flannel Is the Color of My Energy
11. Enemy of the World
Run Time: 38 Minutes, Produced By: Machine
myspace.com/fouryearstrong
 
Displaying posts 1 - 13 of 13.
09:13 AM on 03/22/10
#2
runningfree1
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Great review. I love the lyrics to On Saturday.
Think you probably could have done without the whole comparison. Haha.
12:15 PM on 03/22/10
#3
yayitsjoe
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fantastic review.
12:47 AM on 03/23/10
#4
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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Great review. I love the lyrics to On Saturday.
Think you probably could have done without the whole comparison. Haha.
i knew i might get some heat for that, but i'm probably going to include a comparison to the upsides in every major pop-punk release this year. just because i very bluntly stated that the upsides would be the best of this year and was one of the best all-time in the genre.
12:47 AM on 03/23/10
#5
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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thank you.
04:57 AM on 03/23/10
#6
cereal4life
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I seem to be one of the few who are really underwhelmed by this album. I dug Rise or Die Trying for what it was, but I just don't enjoy this album.
10:52 AM on 03/23/10
#7
drevans18
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when i first got the album, i put it on shuffle with all the other FYS music i have. some songs (like Gigawatt, Neck Tatz, Flannel, Paul Revere) blended nicely with the songs from RODT. others push more towards a more mainstream version of FYS, but there ain't nothing wrong with a great mix of old and new, and that's what Enemy of the World brings.
12:21 AM on 03/24/10
#8
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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I seem to be one of the few who are really underwhelmed by this album. I dug Rise or Die Trying for what it was, but I just don't enjoy this album.
fair enough. everyone is going to have a different opinion, obviously. maybe with some time and if your expectations lower then you'll like it. you could hear it in june and love it.
12:22 AM on 03/24/10
#9
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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when i first got the album, i put it on shuffle with all the other FYS music i have. some songs (like Gigawatt, Neck Tatz, Flannel, Paul Revere) blended nicely with the songs from RODT. others push more towards a more mainstream version of FYS, but there ain't nothing wrong with a great mix of old and new, and that's what Enemy of the World brings.
i agree. but i think a lot of the songs on this album are heavier than most of the tracks on RODT. i think one step and a time and find my way back, specifically, are the ones that sound a little more mainstream.
11:08 PM on 03/25/10
Azriel
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This is an astounding album, for sure. I don't think I've ever enjoyed an album on first listen than this one, "Paul Revere's Midnight Ride" is probably the funnest song on the album.
07:59 PM on 03/26/10
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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This is an astounding album, for sure. I don't think I've ever enjoyed an album on first listen than this one, "Paul Revere's Midnight Ride" is probably the funnest song on the album.
That's what I thought at first but now I'm all about "This Body Pays the Bill$".
05:52 PM on 03/30/10
hailjake
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will they ever get a quality recording
11:03 PM on 03/31/10
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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will they ever get a quality recording
If you mean the production, then the production on this album is phenomenal.

If you're talking about you thinking the album is bad, well that's your opinion.
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