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The All-American Rejects

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Album Review

Big hooks abound on this forceful debut by power pop whiz kids Nick Wheeler and Tyson Ritter. Though not yet old enough to legally buy an alcoholic drink in the year 2002, All-American Rejects are capable songwriters, accomplished vocalists, and skilled instrumentalists. Guitar-driven and underpinned with a humane-sounding drum machine cranking out frenetic backbeats, each cut on this self-titled debut brims with harmonies that recall the early Who and classic Beach Boys. Bolstered by the brash bar band bravado akin to the Replacements, the Goo Goo Dolls, and Fastball in all their ragged glory, All-American Rejects passionately render songs about girls, love, self-doubt, and youthful abandon. Cuts such as "Too Far Gone" employ a sympathetic orchestral backdrop, while tracks including "Drive Away," "My Paper Heart," and "One More Sad Song" prove that loud guitars and a broken heart make great rock & roll. A talented band destined for great things, All American Rejects are primed to be embraced by the masses.

Customer Reviews

For Rejects, These Boys Sure Can Create a Stellar Album

Like everyone not living under a rock these days, I was introduced to the All-American Rejects through their bouncy, catchy single, Swing Swing. Although not a big fan of emotional punk-pop at the time, I decided to take a chance on the band, driven by their catchy, heartfelt lyrics and Tyson Ritter's uniquely harmonious voice, so I bought the album. I can confidently say that had it not been for the amazing debut effort by this band, I would have never found my true musical niche. Although lacking variance of subject matter, this debut is packed full of meaningful, heart-wrenching lyrics, catchy melodies, and hooks that are enticing from the start. The starting track, "My Paper Heart," is driven by a soft, repetitive drum, occasionally sprinkled by bells, which add to the lightness of the piece. This song effectively introduces the recurring theme of breakup and heartbreak, using clever seasonal and physical images to get that message across. "Your Star" is a bit more upbeat from the previous track, a bouncy little tune driven by Ritter's excellent vocals. After being stuck in the world of over-produced pop music, Tyson's voice is like a breath of fresh air. The song picks up in the second verse, increasing in lyrical cleverness. Definitely a good song. On a lesser album, it would have been great, but this album has much more to offer. Like I said before, you'd have to be a hermit not to have heard "Swing, Swing." The song begins slowly with a steady crescendo of an organ, but is soon pierced by rocking guitars. Tyson's voice is even better on this track, as he shows off his range, jumping from a breathy falsetto to his signature strong high notes. This is an amazing song, truly protraying the loneliness after heartbreak. One of the best songs on the album. "Time Stands Still" is one of my favorite songs on the album. It's singsong-y "ooh-oohs" make you want to sing along, while Tyson's passionate delivery can break your heart. The lyrics are especially profound on this song, with heart-wrenching lines like, "the days, they turn into years/the eyes, they drown in tears." "One More Sad Song" picks up in tempo, pushed by a snappy guitar melody. Tyson sings in a sort of stacatto, matching the bounchy, pieciness of the song. Not the best on the album, but a decent song. This song still follows the same subject matter as the rest of the album, but the amazing thing about the All-American Rejects is that they can keep at one theme while, still keeping it fresh and interesting. "Why Worry" is my personal favorite. Ritter's voice is beautiful in its melancholy tone during the entire piece. The tempo and melody switches often, varying into different catchy sections. Unrelenting throughout, the song only increases in its passionate delivery, portraying the broad theme of heartbreak on an intimate, personal level. "Don't Leave Me" is one of the faster songs, and my least favorite. It's still a good song, complete with rocking guitars and pulsating drums, but Tyson sounds rushed, and the harmonies seems a little off. Still a fun song, just a weaker one. Track 8, "Too Far Gone," is beautifully haunting. Ritter sings softly of leaving his love, his pained voice backed up by rocking guitars and soaring strings. The lyrics are profound, containing lines like "every breath you take, you give me the burden's bitter taste." Poetic, emotional, pleading, and moving all at once. What the All-American Rejects are all about. "Drive Away" is pure punk, the most fun and lighthearted song on the album. We've still got the good old theme of heartbreak here. Somebody must have gone through one hell of a breakup before this album... This song, however, hides is sadder message behind a fun, punk-pop exterior. A bit cheesy lyrically, but ridiculously fun nonetheless. Track 10, "Happy Endings," is the only song with a bit of deviance in subject matter. The song rocks out with guitars and melodic chimes. The harmonies in this are flawless, and Tyson's rangy vocals, backed up by stacatto guitars, are extremely fun. Still about breakup, this song turns the tables a bit, at last placing the blame on the girl herself, rather than pleading with her. A fun departure, and an amazing song. "The Last Song" is just that, and an unforgettable closing for an unforgettable album. It opens up with a beautiful string section, broken by Tyson's strong, percing vocals. The song holds a pleasant longing throughout, both rocking and heart-wrenching at once. At the end of the album, Tyson seems to have at last come to some sort of closure with the heartbreak he's experienced. This song serves as a moving end to an emotional album, leaving the listener fulfulled, yet wanting more at the same time. Sort of like good sex... but ah, I digress. Overall, this is an exceptional debut from the All-American Rejects, full of passion, raw emotion, and the ability to lay a broken heart out for all to see. The albums only true weakness is that fact that every song is about heartbreak, but the boys can be forgiven, as the songs remain interesting despite their similarity. Listening to this album will give you a new outlook on heartbreak, allowing you to see straight into the All-American Rejects' broken hearts, giving you a new understanding and appreciation for their pain. A truly amazing album, deserving nothing short of five stars. If you love moving, emotional music, buy it. If not, your loss, as you will miss out on one of the best bands on our time.

Great Album

I love this album it is so great. Every song on this album is wonderful. I could listen to each song over and over again. Anyone who hasn't bought the album or songs from it, should get them Now. I love The All American Rejects. Plus the lead singer isn't bad to look at either.

A Sweet Album

This is a great cd, with several extremly good songs. "Swing, Swing", is, of course the best known song by AAR, but the rest of the album is surprisingly deep. I really enjoyed "Why Worry" and "My Paper Heart". If you are a fan of AAR, i highly reccomend Something Corperate's album entitled "Leaving Through the Window".


Formed: 2000 in Stillwater, OK

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Vocalist/bassist Tyson Ritter and guitarist Nick Wheeler both hail from Stillwater, OK, where the pair first embraced music as an appealing diversion from the ho-hum life of small-town America. Citing such influences as AC/DC, Def Leppard, and Bon Jovi, they formed the emo-pop group All-American Rejects in 2000, while both members were still in high school. Maintaining a full lineup proved to be difficult, however, so Ritter and Wheeler employed drum loops and pre-programmed rhythm tracks during...
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