Monday, February 20

Belated CD Review: New Found Glory - Radiosurgery

It should be noted that I'm a pretty big fan of New Found Glory. From the simple riffs to the catchy choruses, it's just a good band to bop your head to. Even with their brief foray into a little bit of a heavier sound with 2009's Not Without a Fight (which I think is their worst album), they've still maintained that signature whiny-vocal sound that catapulted them to the forefront of the pop-punk movement. And with 2011's Radiosurgery, they may have delivered their best effort yet. This one reminds me a lot of their self-titled album--just track after track of mid-paced to fast tunes that aren't too serious and are full of energy and crunching guitars. Let's go the song-by-song breakdown (featuring links to the singles/highlights of the album):

1) Radiosurgery - This might actually be the worst song on the album, so of course it's what they went with as the lead single. It's not that it's necessarily a bad song, it just doesn't have anything too memorable to it. It's definitely a good thing the rest of the album picks up after this. 3.5/5

2) Anthem for the Unwanted - Here we go, this is the NFG we know and love! Kickin' off with a steady drumbeat, it jumps right into the catchiness. This one gets bonus points for using the phrase "six feet under," which is currently my television obsession at the moment. Just a solid track all-around. 5/5

3) Drill It in my Brain - Ohhh baby. This is probably the best track on the album. The opening riff sounds a bit like "Motivation" by Sum 41, but oh man is that chorus much better. It's funny--this song also mentions the word "brain" in the chorus (the first being "Radiosurgery"), but the former kicks the latter's ass so badly, it's incredible. I guess that wasn't funny at all. Oh well. Listen to this song and try not to tap your toe or bob your head. it's impossible. 5/5

4) I'm Not the One - This little ditty is about a one night stand gone slightly awry, and features an old NFG standby, the "Let's go!" And go they do. Well done, lads, well done. This is also the first of a few tracks that features a voiceover from another medium--I'm not entirely sure what it's from, but it sounds like one of those instructional videos from the 50s, like it would be called "How to Date" or "Girls vs. Boys: A Study." 4.5/5

5) Ready, Aim, Fire! - Along with Radiosurgery, this is the weak link of the album, but again, it's still not too bad. The instrumentals are actually quite catchy and jump-around-worthy, but the chorus leaves a little something to be desired, so it gets the dreaded 3.5/5

6) Dumped - This one will definitely grow on you; those background "oohs" in the chorus/pre-chorus/whatever you want to call it are a perfect touch, and the backbone of the song (i.e. the bass and drumming) seems particularly on-point here. 5/5

7) Summer Fling, Don't Mean a Thing - While the nod to Grease's most annoying song is a little cheesy, this uptempo number is a very good summer song. It's the type of song you'd blare from your speakers while driving around during those dog days and months. Or, if you live in LA, all the time, since it's currently 78 degrees and sunny. Sorry, I had to do it. 4.5/5

8) Caught in the Act - Featuring Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast (although not for much of it), this might be the slowest song on the album, and it's still pretty moderately paced, which gives you an idea of the album's sound. Or maybe it doesn't. Anyway, this song, detailing a lil' boy/girl secret relationship, isn't anything too special, but Bethany's limited chance to show off her vocals don't go to waste. The end of the song bumps it up another half point. 4/5

9) Memories & Battle Scars - After the slowest song on the album, it only makes sense to have the fastest one. This one's certainly in contention for song of the album. Super catchy, super bouncy, and a really sweet/aggressive (depending on your point of view) chorus: "I wanna kiss you so tight that your lips bleed/and I want to hold you so hard that your ribs break." Definitely a fun song to jump around to. 5/5

10) Trainwreck - Great use of the train sound effect! Since I was slightly obsessed with trains as a kid, it's always a good nostalgia trip to hear a little train whistle. This is another one that grows on you. 4.5/5

11) Map of Your Body - I like this song, but I'm not sure if it really fits as a closer. This is something NFG had a problem with on the last disc, too, after clearly having "ending tracks" on all the other albums. And since "Radiosurgery" may be the worst song, it looks like NFG had trouble with their usually fire opening tracks, too. In any case, the "50s prom" breakdown in the middle is absolutely amazing. 4.5/5

While I didn't get the deluxe CD, thanks to YouTube, I can still listen to the tracks and give a review. So le'ggo!

12) Separate Beds - Another uptempo number, this certainly fits in with the theme of the album, but I don't think it's anything too special. Jordan also uses the phrases "drilled in my brain" again--c'mon, you can do better than that! 3.5/5

13) Over Again - It has "bonus track" written all over it, if that makes any sense at all, but it's a good fast-paced jam with a really simple chorus. I could see this one being a good mosher at shows if they ever play it live. 4/5

14) Sadness - This one tricks you--you think it's gonna be a slow number, but then it kicks into the fastest thing on the whole album. Fast palm muting is the norm on this bad boy, and while the chorus slows it down a bit, there's still an antsy feeling to the song, and it works well. 4/5

15) Blitzkrieg Bop - Yes, it's a cover of the Ramones' song. And it's a very solid cover. Nothing too special, and it honestly doesn't even sound like Jordan's voice, but since the original is so awesome, this one doesn't suffer too much. 4.5/5

I still don't know if this is the best NFG album, but it's certainly up there. A return to their roots is never a bad thing, and with an album jam-packed with simple songs that are catchy as all get-up, the quintent from Florida prove they're still at the top of the pop-punk scene, even after being around for about 15 years. Well done, boys, well done.

Overall Score: 4.5/5

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