June 01, 2004

The Like Young "So Serious"

Normally, it's not a good thing if a band's newest record is so close in style to its previous record that all you would have to do to review it is simply change the album title in the older review. One-trick ponyism is not really a good thing, especially if the record sounds identical to the album that preceded it. I mean, a band's gotta grow to get better. Who wants to listen to the same record again? If you're in a band, why would you want to make the exact same record again? Sticking with the formula is just boring.

That's most definitely not the case with The Like Young's newest record, So Serious. Yes, it sounds exactly like Art Contest, their kick-ass debut. Yes, Joe and Amanda still are making wonderful Weezer/Rentals-style pop punk rock, and they're still doing it better than you are. Yes, it doesn't seem like the band's really made an attempt at artistic growth. Yes, they have a sound that's instantly summertime on first listen. So why should you run out and buy this record?

Because it's so damn good, that's why.

Look, people. Summer's officially in full effect. Today is June 1st, so now it's time to get your summer fun on, and like Weezer's classic album, So Serious is never so serious as to be unpleasant. This is one of the best summertime records you'll hear all year. The music is poppy, upbeat, and just so darn FUN, you'll immediatly want to put it in your car stereo and turn up the volume full blast. Considering the fact that Joe and Amanda got out and played a bunch of live shows, it's no real surprise that So Serious' sound has grown into a red-hot fireball of pop-punk energy, made by two kids who are hyped up on the mere excitement of rocking out. Every song on this album is a keeper, but I've gravitated to "Sabine & Me" as the constant hit-repeat hit.

To be fair, I've also noticed that they've slowed down the tempo in a few places--such as on the great "Routines" and "Don't Know When To Stop"--but I don't want to scare you off , because they've not gone all power-ballad or anything like that. Not to worry, all of these songs clock in at around the two minute mark--twelve songs in twenty-four minutes means that they're not getting bogged down in their songs. They simply do what they do best--and that is ROCK--and move on. Nothing wrong with that!

You know you're going to be road-tripping this summer. You know you're going to want a great record to just blast and give no thought to listening to, and So Serious should be that record. Joe and Amanda have made a fun, no-worries record AGAIN, and they've done it well. Stop being so serious about your music and have FUN. That's what the Like Young want you to do--and when you do, you're gonna have a real good time. Guaranteed.

--Joseph Kyle

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