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Underclass Hero 

CD Review: SUM 41

The Deal: Canadian rockers return for their fourth album -- minus one member and a little more political.

The Good: Thankfully, this album does not bash the same song down your throat packaged 15 different ways. They have songs for different tastes, which should appeal to the diehards and also entice fringe listeners. "Walking Disaster" comes across as a Green Day-type of track that has a "hope of a shattered man" theme. "Dear Father" is a personal track -- you can feel the emotion in the singer's voice. "Count Your Last Blessings" might just be the best song on the album, while "The Jester," "King of the Contradiction" and "Ma Poubelle" all stand out. Who doesn't like one minute songs in French?

The Bad: Congratulations, you're the 10 millionth artist to bash George Bush! Nothing wrong with being political, but please take a unique approach. One of the strong points of this album is its diversity, but it's overdone. The album jumps all over the place. It's cool to have a lot of different tracks, but the whole things comes off herky jerky when you go from speed metal to singing like Coldplay on the next track.

The Verdict: I always think it's fascinating to see the way artists see themselves. While Sum 41 is anything but "the establishment," once you make that money, you're kinda posing in the "underclass." You're not Kip with an MBA from Harvard, but being a skateboarder doesn't make you a rebel. I guess marrying Avril Lavinge does make you a hero to some. Definitely a "shrug, it's decent" album. It's not going to rake in Grammy's like Green Day's American Idiot did, but it won't be bashed by critics either.

Island; Release date: July 24, 2007

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