Sum 41 were one of the main acts of so-called Skate Punk music. Although others prior to them, such as The Offspring and Blink-182 had made major musical successes years beforehand, Sum 41 were determined to take the world of music by force. They had released a mini album called Half Hour Of Power earlier on in 2000, which got the group some interest from critics and fans alike. This album was released shortly after in 2001, and is seen as a decent listen of the Skate Punk genre. Still, this needs to be looked at today, so let’s take a listen and hear this album, and see what it sounds like.
We kick off with Introduction To Destruction which has a faded intro, with some horror movie style sounds. It then has some deep, throaty vocals that rhyme in a poetic nature. It introduces us to the world of Sum 41, and sounds interesting.
This is followed by Nothing On My Back which begins with a very good guitar riff, followed by fast, pounding drums and a sense that some different and exciting is here. Sum 41 launch into a very Punk styled song, with some interesting lyrics and a definite Skate music feel to it as well. In the middle, some nice palm muting section continues this piece on. It sounds a lot like early Blink-182, but has a different feel to it. There is a drum solo here that powers things up, before bass guitar and loud, electric guitar parts also propel this along throughout the second half here. Finishing with repeated lyrics, glorious singing and an upbeat feel, this is a nice start to the album, ending with a guitar volume swell leading straight into the next track.
Never Wake Up is a very short piece at merely over half a minute. It’s Hardcore Punk for your pleasure, and sounds fresh and energetic here. It has repeated lyrics and ends quickly, before going into the next song.
Fat Lip is one of the most famous Sum 41 songs. It begins with a monster riff, before launching into a loud and furious piece of music that sounds really instant, rocking and amazing. This is a typical American Pie sounding sort of tune, but has lasted the test of time. There is a breakdown in the middle with some clean guitar arpeggios, before launching into a great finish here, which is eclectic and fantastic. A great song from start to finish, and a great song to hear if you dig Hard Rock, Punk or Skate Punk in particular. A defining musical moment, less than three minutes long as well.
Next is Rhythms which begins with a grand drum roll, before going into a more Poppy sounding song that is really nicely delivered and brilliant music here. Some social issues are sung here lyrically, and this piece of music is really top notch listening, even if the group in retrospect don’t think that much of it. An enjoyable, uplifting and fast paced song. It has a great breakdown with some awesome lyrics, before resuming the song itself. A great and catchy listen from start to finish, this is very underrated. Good song.
Following is Motivation which begins with a pounding drum sound, before another excellent sounding riff enters. These songs are wonderfully and consistently delivered, making it a short and bittersweet listen. A really fine sounding song, with some great rhymes and singing here. The whole thing sounds really furious, and has a riff change in the middle, before going into a suspenseful second half with some nice guitar parts and great singing here. These guys were obviously very intellectual about their approach to this album and their music, another great song.
In Too Deep is another classic song by Sum 41. It begins with muted guitar riffs, a drum loop and some really good lyrics that set the opening scene. It then launches into an incredible song that sounds really awesome and fine, about more relationship issues. A really excellent and awesome song, despite the issue at hand. If you like Punk music that isn’t done back in the late 1970s, this is for you. What sounds like a two hand tapped guitar solo is here, before returning to the second half of the song. A fantastic song, and one that sounds still great after two decades. Really awesome music here, nice stuff.
Summer begins with an upbeat guitar riff and before you know it, it launches into a classic Rock song that sounds really excellent. Cool, catchy and clever, this is a really legendary listening experience from Sum 41. It has some great call-and-response styled harmonies here. “It’s not in what you do, more in what you say” is chanted here. Brilliant piece of music here. Very catchy and unique in the Skate Punk genre here, great stuff. It ends with a sustained power chord, going straight into the next song.
Next along is Handle This which is a more beefy and heavy sounding piece from Sum 41. It launches into another really excellent song that sounds great. It’s an excellent song that no doubt was popular at the time, along with the rest of the album. A really great piece covering more social issues, with a melancholy sounding guitar solo, this sounds really fresh and different here. A loud and pounding tune that is good listening, this sounds unique and good, although some may call it Skate Punk (which in a way, it is), this song is a great original craft. It ends with more sustained chords in the fade out. Great.
Following is the humourously titled Crazy Amanda Bunkface which is a less serious sounding song with loads of palm muted guitars here. It is a straight ahead Punk song that sounds effortless and energetic here. A really cool song that has a heavy riff in the solo section, followed by some other interesting multitracked guitars that sound great. Great song, and well worth hearing. These songs are very, very consistent from start to finish.
All She’s Got begins with vocals before launching straight into the song at hand. It sounds crazily good here, and this album definitely needs repeat listens if you are a fan. A strange wah-wah guitar solo emerges, before returning to the fast and furious musical mayhem here. Perhaps music shouldn’t be super repetitive as it is, and this is proof of such a thing. It has a great conclusion to it, just sounding ridiculously good. Nice tune.
Heart Attack begins with arpeggio clean guitars, before a good vocal enters. It is a bit of a lesser track here, but still fits in nicely with all the other songs. It’s about a relationship breakup and some of the compromise involved with it. It then launches into a pounding rhythm based section, before going back into the clean arpeggio sounding guitars. A good song, no doubt the soundtrack to much mayhem in Rock music history.
Last track here is Pain For Pleasure which begins with a palm muted riff that gradually has the effects on it removed as the track builds up. It then quickly launches into a very Metallica sounding piece. Some throaty vocals are here, which are pretty cool. This is borderline Metal in a way, but is over before you know it. A weird finish to a great album.
All in all, this album is very, very good and has stood the test of time, putting Sum 41 into the Punk Rock history books. Certainly a lot better than some critics in 2001 gave it credit for, this is an amazing release that sounds still relevant today. It is neither dull nor boring, and demands repeat listens here. An excellent listen, even at times it is a bit odd. The album cover is very gory, mind you.
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