Sum 41 was on a momentous roll by this point. After the success of their breakthrough album 2001’s All Killer, No Filler the group had to keep their own unique Skate Punk styled sound ongoing. The result was this album, which sold reasonably well (over seven million copies or so worldwide) and had fairly positive reviews from critics alike. The band were still in good spirits at the time, with drummer Steve Jocz dressed up as a zombie on the front cover of this album. How does it sound many years later? Let’s hear it.
The Hell Song launches straight into it, with some deeply melodic guitar riffs and launches straight into a really good song that sounds very Blink-182 esque. It is punchy, energetic and powerful and does wonders for the listener. The song is lyrically about teenage and youthful angst, which is really excellent to hear. A great tune, it has a good melodic guitar solo to match it in the second half. Interesting and varied, this has a number of different musical sections and variety throughout. A great song that, although fairly dated today, does sound really varied and excellent. Awesome. It ends with sustained and overdriven guitar chords, nice work.
Over My Head (Better Off Dead) begins with palm-muted guitar riffs, launching into a chaotic sounding song that is typical Skate Punk stuff. This is a song about being the victim in life, and being deeply unhappy as a result. The music present is listenable, awesome and dramatic, and this is a better song than you’d expect from Sum 41. The lyrics, playing and melodies are top-notch, and this is a great tune to hear before you grab your skateboard or rollerblades and head to the skate park. Excellent.
My Direction launches straight into it with some hollered vocals and playing, before changing tempo and playing at the drop of a hat. A great and interesting tune to listen to, this sounds forward thinking and awesome in its intent. “When will my problems disappear? Am I just going crazy from the fear?” is a great example of the lines in the song, which has one doubting oneself if taken seriously. A great song nonetheless, this does work some incredible wonders. Simple, energetic and powerful with many structural changes throughout. There are some dramatic and awesome drum fills throughout, and this piece is over after two minutes. Great stuff.
Still Waiting begins with some good palm-muted guitar riffs, some catchy melodies and a very moody but great song. The verses have some odd Metallica sounding riffing, and when the chorus hits, you can hear how excellent this music really is. A great and fantastic piece of music and musicianship, this is a great singalong tune that sounds wonderfully melodic. Teenage angst lives throughout these songs, and this hit single is no different. A must have in your arsenal of Punk tunes, this is a great piece of music to take one back to 2002. Excellent music. A fantastic song here.
A.N.I.C. is a 30 second plus long piece. It has a false start, before launching into a piece of furious and angry music. Nonetheless, this is a wonderful piece with the phrase, “You’re an asshole!” chanted and a weird ending. Different, but good. It serves as an intermission piece.
No Brains launches into a stomp styled groove, with more punchy Punk guitars and excellent singing. In the chorus, it changes tempo and it is quite clear that Sum 41 have taken things up a notch here in terms of musical intensity. A really awesome and brilliant tune to listen to, the lyrics are about more teenage angst style subjects, which isn’t unusual for this kind of music. The music is just as good to match, and the furious guitar riffs and solos here are a must listen to. The second half is a bit of a musical breakdown, as the vocals take front and centre. A great and awesome listen for less than three minutes long, it does sound like a musical punch in the face. Excellent tune.
All Messed Up begins with some more upbeat and pleasant sounding chords, launching into a great song with a catchy and singalong chorus. Musically, these guys are so on it (so to speak) that they work wonderfully as a unit. One of the better songs from this album, it does sound supercharged, just like a can of Red Bull. In other words, this is a great listening experience for music. A great and powerful number, there is a drum based breakdown with some of the best drum fills you seriously will ever hear. Nonetheless, this is another short, sharp and catchy tune worth your time. Great Skate Punk music from start to finish.
Mr. Amsterdam begins with some stop/start guitar riffs, launching straight into a much more moody song with some intricate palm-muted guitar riffs and playing that sounds really awesome. A powerful and furious sounding tune that has a huge amount of energy from within, this is great headbanging music that is moody, yet powerful. It is fairly clear that, although these guys did not get as much respect as Blink-182, they still could Rock. The second half of the song has some energetic and powerful playing and singing from the group, sounding very Metallica esque circa their Kill ‘Em All album here. A really great listen, with a nod to Thrash Metal and Hardcore Punk here. Another top tune.
Thanks For Nothing begins with some clean and strummed electric guitar chords, before quickly launching into a great song that, again, exudes teenage angst. This tune is very fast, punchy and powerful throughout, sounding very furious indeed. These songs are excellent pocket melodies for you to put your headphones on and do some awesome skating with. A great song with some excellent palm-muted Thrash Metal style playing on guitar in the breakdown, followed by a great chorus. Another very awesome tune, this does wonders for the listener. Excellent listening here. The guitars are present in the fade-out, sounding great.
Hyper-Insomnia-Para-Condrioid begins with some unusual guitar riffs and some interesting drum fills, launching straight into a piece of music that exudes dramatic emotion and sounds nicely delivered and melodic. The fact is that Sum 41 revived Punk based music here at the time with some of their contemporaries, and they sound relevant historically as a result. Nonetheless, a very good listening experience that does some great justice for the listener. Sounding fairly mental, Sum 41 delivers an excellent song for the youth of the day to lap up. Brilliant and psychotic listening. It segues straight into the next track.
Billy Spleen begins with discordant guitars galore, and the song title is obviously a reference to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. The song here is amazing and exciting, with some great guitar playing that whips the competition. A really great and interesting listen, this sounds like a musical fury with no way of stopping such fury. This doesn’t sound at all like Michael Jackson on the record, and it is amazing and aggressive listening. The second half of the song has some interesting guitar and drum work, showing that these guys had some genuine chemistry musically. Nonetheless, this is great music to enjoy.
Hooch begins with some really awesome guitar riffs, some supercharged drum rolls and launches into energetic and great music that sounds really cool. An awesome tune that sounds really fantastic, the music and playing are something somewhat more than just Skate Punk in its appeal, it is a great song throughout. A call-to-arms for Sum 41 fans, this does work wonders musically. A nicely melodic guitar solo is in the second half, with some neat chord and tempo changes throughout. A great song, the song goes into a full-on melancholy mood to finish up here, which is really pretty listening, surprisingly. Awesome tunage, and the album concludes here.
This is a surprisingly decent and consistent album listen from Sum 41. Although to be fair, it doesn’t sound totally happy or positive throughout, it does work wonders musically with its mixture of powerful guitars, energetic drumming, decent singing and Skate Punk cultural leanings. Should you listen to this album? Yes, especially if you like Skate Punk or similar genres of Punk or Hard Rock.
Very underrated and overlooked Skate Punk.