Simple Plan

Simple Plan (Lava/Atlantic)

Simple Plan emo Max Martin

When did emo guys become such wusses? Oh, right. They've always been like that. But when did their hooky laments turn into gooey power ballads coated in strings and up-with-us platitudes? On its third album — self-titled, so you know these Canadians are serious about their new grown-up sound — Simple Plan plays down the punk part of its pop-punk and enlists hit-maker Max Martin to polish overly earnest songs like "Save You." The few times the band picks up the pace ("Time to Say Goodbye," "What If") sound like afterthoughts — as if real emo fans wouldn't be caught dead shedding tears without a power chord.

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