For their self-titled third album, the men of Simple Plan have stepped back, at least a little, from their roles as spokesdudes for duh-filled mallternative rock. After albums called No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls and Still Not Getting Any, there was only one way to go anyway: more mature. Sadly, this change does little more than add homogeneity to a formula that had plenty already. Simple Plan represents the furthest pop-punk can travel from the Buzzcocks' late-'70s blueprint. Hit-factory production (courtesy of Nate "Danja" Hills and Avril Lavigne/Kelly Clarkson sound doctor Max Martin) offers up glossy rockers ("When I'm Gone" and "The End") and glossy rockers attempting sensitivity ("I Can Wait Forever"). Think Lavigne's "Girlfriend" without the hooks, but with a discernable degree of emo introspection.
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