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. Bad, bad timing.
Kids in the Street is uninspired, ’80s-laced material, doomed to exile from Clear Channel for being spearheaded by a band whose following finally began dismissing PostSecret as the double-blind social networking pity party it became (see: “Fine Again” on Prozac, i.e. “Dirty Little Secret”). Lyrically malnourished (“Draw me a story/tell me a picture”, or “I get so lost inside this city/All you ugly girls, you look so pretty”) and sometimes unintelligible (“Beekeeper’s Daughter”) is a terrible combination for tunes whose goals probably included carpool sing-alongs. It’s so “down” and so “jiggy,” I swear they even rip off the damned Proclaimers with straight faces (“Out the Door”), and suffice it to say, leading forced-shout vocalist and bassist Tyson Ritter is no Johnny Depp/Buster Keaton.
We all know people who dig this band or did at some juncture. We all know a chick who belted off-key with “Gives You Hell” every time it turned up on Pandora. Kids in the Street is decorated like a two-bit Blink-182 album, it plays like a MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e cover went straight to the members’ heads during bouts of manic depression (“Walk Over You”), the titular track got a case of Green Day as if it were botox, and don’t even get us started on corny Freud segues. Some boxes should simply never be uncovered.
Predecessor, 2008’s When the World Comes Down, had genuine heart in it, despite The All-American Rejects’ strict determination to not be completely forgotten by any means (or lazy writing) necessary. Kids in the Street throws caution to the broken wind, somehow comes out clean at the horizon, and lingers long enough for reality to give it sunburn. Did anyone mention the last decade is over now? They didn’t get that memo.
Essential Tracks: N/A