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Story of the Year: Page Avenue


Story of the Year: Page Avenue

Label:Maverick
Media:CD
Release Date:2004
Genre:Rock/Pop

By Mikael Wood | Posted 12/15/2004

Are there still people out there who doubt the degree to which emo-inflected pop-punk has crossed over to the mainstream? Surely the appearance by Montreal’s Simple Plan in Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s New York Minute squashed that idea. And at the recent Manhattan stop of the Nintendo Fusion Tour, the young people milling around outside Roseland on West 52nd Street were identical to the ones you would’ve seen buying Olsen Twins DVDs a few years ago, give or take the occasional head of blue hair: everyday kids in search of potent emotion and feel-good sparkle.

Simple Plan spend most of the new Still Not Getting Any . . . proving that, despite the Olsen endorsement and the monster success of 2002’s piquant No Pads, No Helmets . . . Just Balls, it’s still as normal as its fans. “You don’t know what it’s like to be like me,” frontman Pierre Bouvier sings in “Welcome to My Life,” but he’s not informing the mosh pit of the perils of waking up on a bed of Russian caviar. “Do you ever want to run away?” he asks, directing his adenoidal quasi-rage at the same authority figures bugging his fans. “Do you lock yourself in your room with the radio on, turned up so loud that no one hears your screaming?” Totally been there, totally done that.

You can chalk up Bouvier’s tending his street cred to inevitable follow-up pressure, but luckily his band mates don’t display the same phony modesty. Produced by Bob Rock (the beefy blow-hard featured in this summer’s Metallica doc Some Kind of Monster) Getting is as sleek as pop-punk comes today, overflowing with nifty studio punch-ups and guitar distortion that sounds sweeter the louder it gets. Opener “Shut Up!” earns its exclamation point with radioactive cymbal splashes, while “Thank You” features superfluous guitar-squall sirens like Sum 41 showing up at your house with a police escort. “Untitled,” a lightweight version of the overblown power ballad Aerosmith’s been rewriting since the mid-’90s, even proves that, come prom night, Hilary Duff and Chris Carrabba are after the same thing.

Of course, music fans the Olsens’ age take that kind of radio-ready sheen as a given. So though St. Louis fivesome Story of the Year pack plenty of punch into Page Avenue, the late-2003 debut it’s still supporting in its headlining slot on the Nintendo tour, what the band really sells is high-wire screamo drama. Singer Dan Marsala yowls about “wings of innocence” and “the ashes of our enemies’ remains” with the bloodcurdling ferocity of guys not signed to major labels, and melodies function primarily as an excuse to chug guitars rhythmically. Still, as with the Simpletons, it’s a drama of normalcy: “Out on the front porch watching the cars as they go by,” Marsala declares in “Sidewalks.” Even the Olsens have done that. Right?

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