14 Songs, 54 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On this Boston emo quartet’s 2009 sophomore outing “Heart Heart Heartbreak” opens like the grand finale of a fireworks display, launching melodies that explode with barbed hooks, auto-tuned vocals and a hyper-glossy production. The anthemic title-track comes out punching with a four-on-the-floor disco beat and Martin Johnson’s in-your-face vocals mixed right upfront to sound like he’s trying to crawl out of your speakers. Emo stalwarts might be somewhat vexed to find Boys Like Girls veering away from the genre’s blueprints on this album, but you have to give the band props for flirting with the revival of ‘80s AOR pop/rock (whether they’re conscious of it or not) — “She’s Got a Boyfriend Now” recalls Bryan Adams’ penchant for nostalgic narratives crossed with an impassioned chorus reminiscent of “Jessie’s Girl”-era Rick Springfield. And the riff-rocking, synth-laced “Real Thing” plays almost as triumphantly as Survivor’s 1982 cinematic hit “Eye of the Tiger.” Taylor Swift makes a surprising but extremely fitting cameo with a stellar duet on the burning ballad “Two Is Better Than One.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

On this Boston emo quartet’s 2009 sophomore outing “Heart Heart Heartbreak” opens like the grand finale of a fireworks display, launching melodies that explode with barbed hooks, auto-tuned vocals and a hyper-glossy production. The anthemic title-track comes out punching with a four-on-the-floor disco beat and Martin Johnson’s in-your-face vocals mixed right upfront to sound like he’s trying to crawl out of your speakers. Emo stalwarts might be somewhat vexed to find Boys Like Girls veering away from the genre’s blueprints on this album, but you have to give the band props for flirting with the revival of ‘80s AOR pop/rock (whether they’re conscious of it or not) — “She’s Got a Boyfriend Now” recalls Bryan Adams’ penchant for nostalgic narratives crossed with an impassioned chorus reminiscent of “Jessie’s Girl”-era Rick Springfield. And the riff-rocking, synth-laced “Real Thing” plays almost as triumphantly as Survivor’s 1982 cinematic hit “Eye of the Tiger.” Taylor Swift makes a surprising but extremely fitting cameo with a stellar duet on the burning ballad “Two Is Better Than One.”

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