Four Year Strong – Explains It All

fyscoversArtist: Four Year Strong
Album: Explains it All
Genre: Pop Punkcore
Label: Decaydance

Fans of Four Year Strong’s debut label release, Rise or Die Trying have spent over a year feverishly awaiting new material from the group and the pickings have been slim. Now, about a month before the two year anniversary of that release, we’re given a full length, sorta new, record. Why is it only sorta new? It’s a covers albuma nd if you didn’t get the hint from the title, its focus is 90’s pop music. Everything from The Smashing Pumpkins to Nine Days is in this collection and it’s really an experience you need to have.

Doing a cover of any extremely popular song is always risky business. True devotees to the original probably won’t accept even the thought and you’re own devoted fans will question each and every step of the selection and recording process. However, with recordings like “Story of a Girl” and “Semi-Charmed Kind of Life,” it’s hard to turn your back on Four Year Strong. The groups trademark heavy pop punk sound pummels the album into a world only this band could take it to, but I will say they do lighten things up for “Ironic” and it really shows a great new side of them.

In fact, even outside the already mentioned tracks, each and every track feels mad unique once again. However, I cannot express my dissapointment with the overall production of the record. Much like their contribution to Punk Goes Pop 2, a lot of the record suffers from weak sound. I understand wanting to keep it raw and heavy, but a bit of polish never hurt anybody. It’s not a matter of selling out or staying true, but a matter of keeping the fans pleased and giving them the best product possible. I thought Four Year Strong understood the considering the level of fine tuning their debut had and how much it helped the overall feel of the record.

This isn’t a record to change lives or educate, but rather an album made for drunken weekends and summer drives. It’s meant to be played loud and a bit ironically. Who would have thought you could feel “cool” listening to a Lifehouse song? Not this guy. Luckily though, Four Year Strong Explains it All without having to tell us just how cool what they’re doing really is. It may just be for fun, but it’s bridging the gaps of genre specification amongst young listeners and really opening a new group to great music they may have missed while bringing back fond memories those of us outside their target market. It’s awesome.

Score: 8/10

James Shotwell
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