Simple Plan's 2022 Album on Blue Marble Vinyl LP.
From their new millennium rise to MTV superstardom through pop-punk's modern resurgence that has introduced their iconic, multi-platinum sound to new audiences around the world, Simple Plan have been an indelible part of pop culture for more than two decades because they've never lost sight of what got them there in the first place: their fans. It's this same sense of mutual respect that's fully on display on "The Antidote," the first single from their sixth studio album, Harder Than It Looks, their first new music since 2016's Taking One for the Team, and the most authentically Simple Plan album since 2004's Still Not Getting Any.
Free agents for the first time in their storied career, the band kept their circle tight during the recording process, enlisting longtime songwriting partners like We the Kings' Travis Clark and producers Brian Howes and Jason Van Poederooyen (who worked on the band's 2011 album, Get Your Heart On!) and Zakk Cervini (blink-182, Good Charlotte).
From the skyscraping choruses of "Congratulations" and "Ruin My Life" (ft. Sum 41's Deryck Whibley) to the unflinching poignancy of the album-closing "Two," which instantly ranks alongside "Perfect" and "Untitled (How Could This Happen to Me?)" as one of the band's best closers ever, Harder Than It Looks certainly respects Simple Plan's storied career - and the same spirit that helped the band sell 10 million albums worldwide - without being overtly reverent.
The album-opening "Wake Me Up (When This Nightmare's Over)" is a cathartic rush of familiarity and freshness - not to mention a bit lyrically prescient, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit shortly after the band wrapped the album. ("We certainly didn't set out to write a pandemic album," Bouvier says with a laugh. "It's funny how some of the songs might seem like that, though.")
There are even spiritual successors to early material, like the glass-half-full, skate-punk-leaning "Best Day of My Life," quite a 180 for a band who put a song called "The Worst Day Ever" on their genre-defining, Platinum-selling 2002 debut, No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls. But you won't find an ounce of fat on the 10-song album, no obvious plays to recapture the radio waves they claimed in the early aughts with smash hits like "I'd Do Anything," "I'm Just a Kid" and "Addicted."
Even the new sonic twists feel more like left turns and less like detours: the chromatic cool of the '80s new-wave "Slow Motion," reggae-noir anthem "Anxiety" and sports montage-ready "Iconic" push things forward but feel wholly genuine, updating the band's songbook with compelling stylistic twists.
"We feel so lucky to be a band with fans who love our old and new material," Comeau says, noting 2022 marks the 20-year anniversary of No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls. "We're very proud of our past, but we're even more excited about the future. We're still ambitious, driven and curious to see what the next 20 years will bring. We truly always feel we're three minutes away from the best or biggest song of our career."
- Blue Marble Vinyl
- Gatefold Jacket
- Made in Canada
- Wake Me Up (When This Nightmare's Over)
- Ruin My Life
- The Antidote
- Million Pictures of You
- Best Day of My Life
- Slow Motion