Allstar Weekend- Suddenly Yours
Record Label: Hollywood Records
Release Date: October 19, 2010
We have seen it all already. We have a lifetime worth of generic synthpop getting airtime on MTV and teen TV series. They don't bring anything new to the table and barely last over a couple of years under the spotlight, if ever. Their fanbases dwell as quickly as they grow, accompanying the pace of their brief fame. All of these statements sum up what one may expect from an upcoming band in this genre.
And in a way, we are proven right. Allstar Weekend's first LP, Suddenly Yours, the follow-up to the Californian quartet's debut EP Suddenly (how thoughtful of them), is nothing short of predictable and uninspiring.
Every member of the band feels like they just recently acquired their instruments and are beginning to learn how to make music, but cannot do much given the "awesomeness factor" of having real guitars and not-so-real beats at their disposal.
Bassist Cameron Quiseng, guitarist Nathan Darmody and drummer Michael Martinez are barely noticeable, as if they were playing what they were told to. Their lack of presence makes them look like a backup band for frontman Zach Porter.
And when it comes to this guy, you can't help but feel bad for him and his poor, studio-manufactured voice. He actually sounds decent by himself. Nothing special - just about capable to hold his own. While seemingly a small feat at first, it is still sort of an achievement if we take into account the singing capability - or the lack thereof - showcased by the average scene-pop singer. Kudos to Mr. Porter for keeping it stable.
Despite its overwhelmingly obvious shortcomes, somehow the record succeeds at catching my attention. It feels so familiar and generic, yet so refreshingly new and filled with youth. After a song ends, its hooks were supposed to instantly go away from my mind. That is what this type of music has always been all about, but Allstar Weekend (and their producers) accomplish something that many more renowned bands didn't: they crafted an album that screams "play me again."
Opener and first single "Come Down with Love" does little to get the listener interested, but paves the way for our first shot of herpes. "Hey Princess," with a chorus full of tambourines and rapidly riding cymbals, is the catchiest track on the record and does a good job on doing what "Come Down with Love" couldn't: getting your feet tapping and your hopes up.
"Dance Forever" and "Catching Up" are some of the tracks you'll find yourself shamefully listening to quite a few times. The former has the most horrible autotune experimenting in recent history, and the latter gets its shine out of a Nintendo-esque introduction.
Tracks 6 through 8 are easily the best of the band's short career. "Here with You," a sugary mid-tempo love song, and "Amy," the obligatory piano-driven ballad, kick the neon lights away for just an instant and give us some room to breathe. But the air soon becomes thin again once "Clock Runs Out" kicks in, delivering a fast chorus combined with heavy riffs - Disney heavy. It turns out to be my pick off of the record.
Closer "The Weekend" comes second in the heavy&raw race, passing along the message that no one would ever guess the band wanted to give: we gotta party hard and make the most out of our youth. Andrew WK would be proud.
If you've made it this far in the review, your bored self may not have noticed the absence of a single paragraph about Suddenly Yours' lyrics. And maybe that was only to be expected: they flat-out suck. Front-to-back, not one track is worth receiving praise, although there's not much to say that hasn't already been said about being young.
Some of those lyrics, though, cross the border between mediocre and laughable. "I'm barely 5'8''/No muscle man but I can rollerskate/Not the biggest sports fan/But the band drives a mean mini-van," is an excerpt from fifth track "A Different Side of Me." It's possibly the biggest gem here. Come on, guys. I hope you get a tour bus soon, but I couldn't give a damn about your rad van.
In the end, Suddenly Yours is yet another fun party record with some enjoyable tracks, lots of electronic bubblegum and very little substance. There is no progression, and listening to the album on shuffle won't ruin the mood the way it does for a great portion of other records. But here's my tip: Don't put too much thought into it, and you might be in for a very enjoyable ride.