Simple Plan formed in 1999 and have been going strong since. Taking One For The Team is their fifth studio album and comes five years after their previous effort, Get Your Heart On!, it’s clear that they’ve stuck to the same winning formula. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!
Opening up the record is ‘Opinion Overload,’ the second, and most recent, single to be taken from the album. It’s a strong opener all about not caring about other people’s opinions. “Hey!/ I’m doing things exactly like I want to/ what part of that don’t you understand?/ Hey!/ And I don’t give a damn if you don’t approve.” Simple Plan have always been about exactly that – doing what they want, unapologetically. It’s a really strong open which makes you remember what probably got you into the band in the first place, with a very similar message to ‘Shut Up!’ from the 2004 classic, Still Not Getting Any….
The first promotional release from the album, ‘Boom!’ is well placed as the second track on the CD. The video has cameos from all kinds of their musician friends, including Lynn Gunn, Alex Gaskarth, Vic Fuentes, and Brian Dales, to name a few. ‘Boom!’ is a cute little love song about a long lasting love – the chorus cries, “you still make my crazy little heart go boom!”
The lovey theme continues with ‘Kiss Me Like Nobody’s Watching,’ in which lead singer Pierre Bouvier wants the song’s focus to “kiss me/ in the middle of the street.” It really sets the listener up for a really feel good album, but then you head straight into ‘Farewell,’ which talks about a seemingly messy break-up. It’s still upbeat, though – typical of Simple Plan that even their less happy songs still keep that pop punk pace.
Although there are a few songs with titles which make you wonder if they’re not a little too old to be singing them by now, (‘Everything Sucks, ‘P.S. I Hate You,’ ‘Problem Child’) they have taken the effort to keep mostly everything uptempo and fun, which is ultimately what Simple Plan have always been about and you can’t fault them for that.
The official lead single from Taking One For The Team has a distinctly Maroon 5 feel to it. ‘I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed’ features rapper Nelly and it has a distinctly different sound to the other tracks on the album. The music video has a Baywatch theme, with a little homage to David Hasselhoff right at the start, and even a cameo from the man himself at the end. It’s just as cheesy as the TV show itself always was, with one part showing lifeguard Bouvier singing a drowning woman back to consciousness with the refrain, “I don’t wanna go to bed without you!” Well, Baywatch did have its cheesy moments…
‘I Dream About You’ is the final track, and it features the melodious voice of Juliet Simms, who has previously worked with All Time Low, Secondhand Serenade, and Black Veil Brides. The song itself is a sleepy farewell of a closing song. It goes back to the earlier lovey theme – the lyrics mention how some people dream about being famous, or rich, but, “I dream about you.”
The album overall is classic pop punk, and it’s exactly what the fans have come to expect from a Simple Plan album. It’s easy to listen to, even if you may think one or two songs may have belonged on a previous effort.