Review - All-American Rejects - Kids In The Street
While pop is the predominantly popular (hence the name) genre on the radio and in terms of sales, there is usually very little room at the Top 40 table for the subgenres of pop – alternative pop, pop punk, baroque pop, etc. Usually a band or two get a hit and spend the rest of their career trying to maintain their position as the “go-to” for that niche.
The All-American Rejects have been America’s pop punk/pop rock band for years now. Each of their three albums has had at least one memorable hit, which is just enough to make sure your label will hold on to you for another album cycle. Pop punk’s following has withered dramatically in the past decade (it was a quick and fast trend), and over the years we have seen many bands that developed huge fan bases and who had hit singles fade away (Good Charlotte, New Found Glory, Simple Plan, Yellowcard, Fountains of Wayne, Jimmy Eat World, The Click Five, Ok Go, Blink 182, The Ataris, Sum 41, Bowling For Soup, Boys Like Girls, Fall Out Boy, and Taking Back Sunday all come to mind. Shit that was a lot).
Some of these bands were one hit wonders, while others kept it going for a while. I personally think this is a bit sad, but I understand it and have made my peace. I will always be a pop punk scene kid at heart (don’t tell anyone though).
For their fourth album, The All-American Rejects have accepted that their run on mainstream radio is over, at least for now. ‘Kids In The Streets’ doesn’t have a single song on it that the masses will hear. First single “Beekeepers Daughter” was kind of doomed from the start in terms of publicity – the name scares you away right from the beginning. Second single “Kids In The Street” has made no effect on any chart anywhere (“Beekeepers” at least made it to #24 on the Bubbling Under Singles Chart, which measure the 50 spots under the Hot 100).
Now the sad and ugly is out of the way, I want to say that while it will most likely be their least commercially successful, ‘Kids In The Street’ is the All-American Rejects’ best album artistically. I have always enjoyed their hit singles (“Move Along”, “Swing Swing”, “Gives You Hell”, and “Dirty Little Secret” are all really awesome pop punk jams) sure, but I really like this album as a whole. You can tell that the four years in between their last record and this one were not spent idly. Each song is interestingly and uniquely crafted from the next. A common criticism of pop punk is that every song sounds similar; I will say that if there are any critiques of this album, that is certainly not one of them.
Some songs are rocking and have sing-along choruses. Others find a way to incorporate 80’s-esque synth pop without sounding out of place. Still others see the Rejects finally find that contemplative place they were looking for on cuts like “Its Ends Tonight” and “The Wind Blows”. This album is full of ideas and sees the band going in several different places, while still always going towards the same final destination.
The All-American Rejects have reached a level of maturity that we never thought they would, and in doing so have created an album that is part pop punk, part pop, and really pretty awesome.
Listen to: “Fast & Slow”, “Walk Over Me”, “Out The Door”, “Kids In The Street”, and “Bleed Into Your Mind”