Two albums. Seven million records sold worldwide. A string of Top 40 hits like I'd Do Anything, Addicted, Perfect and Welcome to My Life. A worldwide legion of fans who can testify to the power of one of the fiercest live shows ever to hit the boards. At this juncture, Lava/Atlantic rockers Simple Plan simply seem to have it locked. So for its crucial third album the group could just head back into the studio and do just what's worked so well in the past, right? Not quite. Welcome to Simple Plan, not just an album but a statement of artistic ambition and growth from the Montreal-based quintet. As you'd expect from any band that would call its debut album No Pads, No Helmets... Just Balls, the self-titled release is a fearless, without-a-net excursion into dynamic music-making, taking what we love best about Simple Plan -- the unbridled energy, the ripping guitars, the hook-filled melodic sensibility -- and incorporating a slew of inventive sonic approaches informed by new collaborators such as Nate Danja Hills (Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Duran Duran, Nelly Furtado), Max Martin (James Blunt, Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne) and Dave Fortman (Evanescence, Mudvayne). The new equation yields 11 songs that are unquestionably Simple Plan but still sound unlike anything it's done before, from the loping synthesizer loops of the opening track and first single When I'm Gone to the tight dance groove and R&B flavor of The End, the hip-hop styled beat of Generation and the unabashed power balladry of I Can Wait Forever.
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