Release Date: Mar 26, 2012
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Emo-Pop
These Oklahoma hitmakers are in their 14th year together as a band, but they’re still mining teenage dramatics for buoyant, chant-along tunes. From confronting a cheating girlfriend at a party to sighing about feeling claustrophobic in a small hometown over gyrating New Wave synth, pinup singer Tyson Ritter is a hook wielding bard of frustrated young suburbanites. Thankfully, his band shows signs of cracking through its own arrested development, especially in the sinuous groove of "Bleed Into Your Mind" and the sweetly vulnerable orchestral ballad "Affection." Listen to The All-American Rejects' "Kids in the Street": Related• Photos: Random Notes .
Four years on from When the World Comes Down -- and their fourth record overall -- All-American Rejects return with Kids in the Street, an album that simultaneously finds the emo-lite quartet maturing and embracing the sugar rush of pop. Certainly, Kids in the Street finds AAR performing with a musical dexterity they didn't quite have a decade earlier, when they were just kids creating big noise, seeming almost to stumble upon their hooks, whereas everything here is purposeful, a cleanly efficient machine churning out catchy, insistent pop spangled with hints of ‘80s synth pop. Such production flourishes add depth that the perfectly pretty introspective acoustic ballads don’t quite manage to muster, yet those slower tunes do highlight the range All-American Rejects achieve here, their richest and most varied album to date.
Oklahoma’s Rejects seem very much at odds with themselves on their fourth album, which reaches to reconcile their raw radio instincts with the acute studio trickery of producer Greg Wells (Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson). Or maybe they’re just tired of struggling with all those fickle girls who won’t text them back? Either way, too many tracks here are cloaked in unnecessary hoopla, suffocating the best songs’ breezy sweetness. That makes blasts of pure blissful oxygen like ”Somebody’s Gone” and ”Beekeeper’s Daughter” extra satisfying, but like most internal battles, Kids in the Street ends in a stalemate.
Review Summary: The Rejects move along with another LP that will bleed into your mind. Since it may save many readers some time, let’s get one thing straight from the get-go: ‘When The World Comes Down’ was by no means a bad record. Significantly less accessible than its 2 predecessors, The All-American Rejects’ third LP was a deceptively catchy grower; a concept many could not equate to the Oklahoman quartet, resulting in a critical backlash of sorts.
Let’s talk about what happens when bands “take a break” in between albums. As cruel as it may seem, fans like to think that their favorite groups operate on a reliable schedule of putting out an album every other year, and then tour in between. It can become jarring and disappointing when bands take an extended period off, whether it’s an “indefinite hiatus” or just “taking a break”, fans can lose touch with said band and forget them all together when they come back.
There was once a point when I thought Weezer had gone a little too far over the edge of nerd reason and jangly pop rock, flashy attempts at being so cheesy it’s cool, like hipster irony. Their colloquial “Red Album” was a final grasp at dorky straws siphoning catchy flavor, Hurley cemented said point, and Raditude emphasized it. The All-American Rejects had zero in common with one of our generation’s greatest geekdom bandwagons–until now.