Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
February 20, 2004
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Simple Plan
No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls

high school sucked. propped up as a glorious revolution--almost as glorious as getting facial hair--those who didn't seek apotheosis from their peers were painfully excoriated until forced to either buckle under the pressure only to realise how hapless the goal was or paint their faces black and live with the rest of the social dredges in the cafeteria. what's peculiar about all of it is the absurd reliance on the media. it's not as if the rules of (un)popularity were fashioned ex nihilo, support and knowledge is drawn from the infamous media revolving door. if you're a precocious, athletic high school student then your best bet is with inauthentic displays of high school life such as self-parodic Dawson's Creek or One Tree Hill. but if you're on the outside, your den of knowledge rests in the hands of musicians. they are arbiters willing to sort out your desired look. so really, quite a few of outcasts in high school are nothing more than the enactment of a schema brought to them by large media agents. high school students aren't outcasts, they're simply another stretch of the catwalk.

nevermind that Simple Plan toured with Hilary Duff, these guys are the embodiment of the newly responsible and serious side of punk (emboldened, of course, by a nice corporate pat on the back). Simple Plan, along with Good Charlotte, are the scions of the brand Blink-182 created combining tepid, Disney-style social insurrection with a modicum of freshman therapy. the first three lifeless singles--'I'd do Anything,' 'Addicted,' and 'Perfect'--detail the puerile, unimaginative, and repetitive garbage that passes for musicianship; although it is funny when Pierre Bouvier sings, "I'm a-dic(k)....I'm a-dic(k)..." on 'Addicted.' i always believed that the musical tripe bands like Trapt, Korn, and Limp Bizkit sang about would eventually fade, but now it seems that their agendas have merely shifted to another musical front. this is where the recent pop-punk movement becomes a bit disturbing.

by no means do i seek to diminish problems high school students face simply because the media declared it one type or another (a lot of the problems are real). but the false sense of direction and therapy does nothing but misinform the listener by telling them their problems and difficulties outright. though i praise Simple Plan's 'Perfect' and Good Charlotte's 'Hold On' as attempts, they are truly ill-equipped to deal with the complex nature of depression and suicide and unfairly reduce them to a single reality. as unbearable as the music may be, the thrust of my vilipend of it is the way it dangerously perpetrates a myth.

high school for some people is a pretty dark hour, but each hour is only 60 minutes long.

Release date: March 19, 2002
Label: Lava
Rating: 1.0 / 10