Thursday, July 26, 2007

Derivative Sums

The New Album That Sounds Old

I'm not sure why I felt compelled to click "BUY ALBUM" in iTunes to download Sum 41's new album, "Underclass Hero." It wasn't the 4.5 star average review it now has, and it wasn't on the strength of what I had already heard off the album. Maybe it was the bonus track or the relatively inexpensive $9.99-tag? It's hard to locate a definite reason.

After listening to the album, I have many more ideas why I shouldn't have bothered adding 15 "new" Sum 41 tracks to my iPod: The album is as derivative as they come; Sum 41 sounds like a band desperate to grab the audience Green Day entertained with their last album, "American Idiot."

Sum's tracks evoke that underdog, let's-all-chant-as-one fervor that Green Day previously achieved. Not to say that Green Day's album was free of influences, but they built upon those influences and created a stronger album.

Sum 41 just sounds like the band playing catch up. My Chemical Romance released "The Black Parade" last fall, which was another album that was influenced by "American Idiot" (Rob Cavallo produced both albums), but the band made the music their own.

Listening to Sum 41 battle the same opponents as Green Day would be OK if something new was said. But in this effort it's the same old.

This of course happens all the time. The number of "Da Vinci Code" ripoffs that have been published since Dan Brown's novel became popular is disgusting. And now that Harry Potter is wrapped up, the media will be out to find something that can be called the Next Harry Potter; there have already been a number of articles about this void.

The Original, or at least the sum of many influences that is called the Original, will be imitated poorly as "artists" attempt to make whatever money is left to be had from the current trend. Crap is on its way if it's not already here.

But the Potter series and Green Day's "American Idiot" were surprise success stories. Poor imitations are just cheap formulas that are forgotten soon after.


No comments: