By: Tanya Raja
American rock band The All-American Rejects released its fourth studio album, Kids in the Street, on March 26. Founded in 1999, The All-American Rejects immediately received mainstream success with the release of their self-titled debut album, The All American Rejects, and enjoyed increasing popularity since then due to their catchy melodies and powerful beats.
Kids in the Street has strayed from the band’s typical style by incorporating sounds other than the emphatic guitars and consistent drums generally associated with the band. This album makes use of an intricate combination of funk-pop, jazz, ‘80s rock, and loose vocals. The tracks portray a deep musical maturity, especially the last song on the album, “I For You,” the only slow and mellow song on the album. This track’s soft acoustics and sad lyrics effectively and emotionally convey a contrast to the defiance portrayed by the rest of the album. Lead vocalist Tyson Ritter sings, “With your feather lips, yeah you fly away/ Well I hope they come back down someday/ Cause, nobody’s going to try for you/ Nobody’s going to do like I for you.” His resigned manner serves as a catharsis for the anger and resentment displayed by tracks like “Someday’s Gone” and “Bleed Into Your Mind.”
All the tracks in the album have a connection with each other. Ritter said, “We realized we weren’t putting together a collection of songs for the first time, but we were actually putting together a record that told a story.” Indeed, the album does tell a story, but unfortunately not a very interesting one. Almost all 11 songs in the album revolve around a girl who cruelly broke Ritter’s heart. Though the tracks themselves are poetically composed and aurally pleasing, listening to song after song about broken hearts does get irritating. If heard separately, each track is wonderful, but the album itself is not very thematically diverse. Only “Kids on the Street,” the song which the album is named after, does not mention Ritter’s sad love life, and instead focuses on the joy and carefree attitude that is often associated with young people.
The All-American Rejects fans will certainly notice the maturity and ingenuity of Kids in the Street, and maybe sympathize with Ritter’s difficulties. Those who have just discovered this band will be able to observe the album’s creative sounds and the effort put behind its making, but some may be emotionally overwhelmed by the tracks. Despite this lack of thematic variation, Kids in the Street is a good buy, and fans and new listeners alike will not be disappointed.