No Pads, No Helmets... Just Balls

Simple Plan

Lava Records, 2002

REVIEW BY: Emily Kinsella

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/24/2003

"Last night I just wanted to have fun/ To go out with my friends/ I took out my dad's car/ I never thought he would find out/ But I crashed in a wall/ Man I'm dead." No that's not a description of last week's episode of Saved by the Bell. Those are actually lyrics from a song off of Simple Plan's debut disc, No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls.

I bought this CD, I will admit, because I just couldn't get enough of their catchy first single, "I'm Just A Kid." So I thought, oh so naively, that their CD would be filled with the same catchy, "I'm a skater-punk and no one likes me" type of songs that ex-'N Sync fans eat up, hoping to gain some underground credit. We all know these songs, and most of us secretly like them. That is not what I found with this album, not even close.

Most of the poppy-punk, bubble-gum rock bands out there at least try to sound like they belong under the punk genre, and actually go for total rocking out on one or two of their songs. Simple Plan may try, but their results come off as five Canadian church-boy Wham! fans who had a crappy day and decided, "Hey, I'll start a punk band, but make sure our songs are something families can enjoy together." So they write songs like "God Must Hate Me," "My Alien" and "The Worst Day Ever," which probably are supposed to relate to the heartbreaking angst and trials that plague today's adolescents. Most teens have had a "bad day" and have felt misunderstood at some point. But it's tough for these songs to make anyone feel related-to when the perfectly rhyming lyrics are backed up with an ice cream man-esque melody and impeccably pitched vocals.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The opening song, "I'd Do Anything," is a "heart-wrenching" testimonial to that one person who got away. The lyrics are completely simple, and have no meaning except, of course, that lead singer Pierre is willing to, in fact, "do anything, just to hold you in my arms, and try to make you laugh, cause somehow I can't put you in the past." Skip to number five, "When I'm With You." Tell me, is this supposed to be a song on a platinum record, because it sounds all-too reminiscent of poetry day in 5th grade. And finally to number eight -- wow -- a song about aliens. Seriously, the song's about an alien girl friend who has "two arms to hold me, and four legs to wrap around me. She's not your typical girlfriend, she's my alien." Enough said.

Not every song on this album is total crap, there are actually two bearable singles, number four, "I'm Just A Kid" and number six, "Meet You There." "I'm Just A Kid," which actually has a few seconds of hardness to which you might mosh, illustrates the feelings so many of us experience, that we have no friends, that no on understands our pain. Surprisingly, this song hit a nerve with me. Some of the lyrics actually mirrored my emotions. It's not a masterpiece by any means, but it's not completely vomit-inducing. "I'll Meet You There" is a slower, dreamy-sounding love song. No, no, it's actually a good song. The lyrics are insightful and mature, and for once the tune and melody actually fit the tone of the song.

Bottom line, MP3 numbers four and six, and don't waste the $11.88 on the rest of the debris. I wonder if I can get my own money back.

Rating: D

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2003 Emily Kinsella and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Lava Records, and is used for informational purposes only.