So… Plain White T’s. Here’s a band that’s truly tried and tested as one of the biggest pop punk / pop rock acts there is, having formed in 1997 and having most of their time in the limelight during the mid-2000s, most notably their 2006 song, Hey There Delilah. The band, as you may or may not know, have been pretty consistently releasing music since then, all the way up to this very month as they are back with their soon-to-release new album, ‘Parallel Universe.’
The album has 14 tracks in total, so let’s not dawdle on an intro, shall we?
The album begins with the song Light Up the Room and it begins in what I feel to be a really cool way. It’s a resounding, synthy bass intro that leads directly into the vocals which, due to the band’s evolution into a more electronic sound, are slightly akin to Maroon 5. The song continues with its R’n’B synth sound as it swells into a clapping, booming chorus. In the final rung of the song it gives credence to the fact that this is a heavily electronic album. The next song is Bonnie and if the first song didn’t scream R’n’B then this one absolutely will. I can imagine the backlash of fans not taking to this song as it’s certainly a drastic change from pop rock, but at the same time bands do evolve and as far as a heavily electronic pop song, this isn’t bad.
Next up is Call Me which has a nice, soft melody and all of the elements of a modern pop song; everything from the synth sound effects to the heavy, buzzy basslines. Call Me is a nice song in terms of vocalizations, electronic sound effects and it’s ideal for being a clubby dance track. If there were a song that were emblematic of how Plain White T’s have evolved, this would be it.
Top of the World is up next and it starts with something different. It’s a fast-paced, groovy beat with what is the album’s first strong presence of guitar. The vocals suit the song beautifully and this song is purely funky. With a nice blend of pop rock and electronics, this is a banger. Bury Me comes next and it opens with an iconic sense of “indie electronic rock” vibes with a grooving guitar riff. The song transitions into a groove anthem kind of song with a strong presence of bass and beat.
Your Body is a song that immediately hit me with Ed Sheeran. It’s a little bit scary, but there’s prominent acoustic guitar accompanied by high-pitched vocals and subtle percussion. It’s a pretty song, nontheless. Sick of Love begins with a quickly strummed guitar riff and a beat to dance to. The song builds up with an almost disco vibe and pays off with the chorus. Next up is No Imitations, and this is an example of while the songs may be great pop and R’n’B songs, some of them are a little unmemorable and generic. Because it’s both, the verses are a generic pop song but in the chorus they flip it all on its head with an interesting and hard-hitting hook.
Moving onto the latter half of the album, Low starts with a twinkling and a resounding bassline, vocals accompanying them. This song has an interesting, subtle, yet hard and bassy sound. Lyin’ About You and Me comes up and it’s got fast synth bass and a strong vocal melody that rises and falls effectively, that’s the highlight of the song. Next up is I Should be Dead and it’s a cool song full of interesting electronic elements, hard-hitting bass and thumping tone.
Lips is the next song and this song is one of the less memorable ones, with a generic drum pattern and synth piano, something we’ve heard a million times before. No Tears comes after and it begins with something a lot more unique, a kind of vaporwave synth pop song with a groovy beat.
The final song is End of the World, and it follows from where the last song left off with heavily synth vocals, then a steady-paced drum pattern with a quick-paced guitar riff and some electronic riffs to make a funky ending to the album. It’s also got to be one of the catchier and more memorable songs on the album.
Just as a final word, I think that this album is chock full of R’n’B, Electronic and Pop elements and there’s really not much pop rock. I think the songs are funky and groovy dance songs and are good for what they are, but I can definitely see fans of the band feeling disappointed with how they have changed. But you’ve got to accept that bands change and evolve and take them for what they are. This is just dumb, fun, electronic pop songs and some of them are bangers.
You can pre-order the album here!