Review: Four Year Strong, ‘Four Year Strong’
The name “Four Year Strong” has become synonymous with the Summer. Their brand of Easycore feels like what you want to listen to in a car full of friends with the windows down without a care in the world. Has it become formulaic? Absolutely, but it’s a formula that has worked for them time and time again. We chug along until we get to whatever huge chorus these guys have written and without a second thought, end up feverishly singing along.
I say their brand of Easycore as if anybody else has even made a stake at the claim. Four Year Strong now proudly wave that banner, but that didn’t happen without the attempt to stray from the genre. Their last full-length, ‘In Some Way Shape or Form’ showed the guys attempt to write more “adult friendly” alternative music (aka radio-rock). With the exception of lead single “Stuck In The Middle” the album just fell short. It felt like it lacked some of the heart and a lot of the energy that previous releases had cemented as a staple. I assume that this was apparent to Four Year Strong, because last year saw the return to form EP ‘Go Down In History.’
Call it a cash-grab. Hell, call it whatever you want. I know that I’ve never seen so many people immediately renew their faith and interest in a band as quickly as I did with that release. The immediate re-swell around this band was heartwarming to see and only helped to build hype for their new full length. On first listen, it’s not hard to see why they chose to have this record be a self-titled release. This is not only a continuation of their return to form, this is Four Year Strong at the top of their game.
The singles released so far have been incredible. They’ve managed to create a new groundswell of attention for the band, but they seem to be saving the best for last. It made sense to release “We All Float Down Here” as the first single because the song is an immediate hit. Fans new and old will cherish this song. The song is high energy and cemented their spot on the throne. “Eating My Words” has seen some mixed reactions, but it remains one of my favorites on the album. I mean, the chorus of the song is gigantic. These hooks are radio ready without having to give up the energy that Four Year Strong brings to the table.
Honestly, I don’t know that there’s a song on this record that wouldn’t work as a single. “Wipe Yourself Off Man. You Dead” will be a huge hit with the kids. I can already hear crowds of teens (and adults) just yelling along to “Don’t put out the fire/It’s been a summer like no other/but it’s never enough/and although my bones are tired/I won’t change a thing.” Is it a lyric that I can already hear Jarrod Alonge working into a new song or video? Yeah, absolutely. But it’s huge and it’s catchy and that’s what matters.
And then we have “Gravity.” You’re a goddamn liar if you hear this song and say you don’t like it. The call and response verses are at their peak and then we have another killer chorus. I could see this sneaking it’s way onto airwaves and feeling at home. I want to hear people singing “Gravity/Don’t let go of me/Just keep from drifting through the atmosphere/Everyday I’m another world away from where I’m supposed to be/Gravity/Don’t let go of me.” On second thought, I need to hear it. That is the best goddamn hook these guys have ever written.
Have you heard “I’m A Big, Bright, Shining Star?” This is another pre-release single that helped insure that this was an album I needed to hear. The musicianship on this track is phenomenal. The guitars just shred and the drums just punch you in the gut. It hits you in all the best ways, and it’s without a doubt one of the strongest tracks on an album that only seems to get better the further you get into it.
And then we close where we began, talking about their last EP. This record comes to a close with “Go Down In History” and I’m glad this is the song that made it’s way to the full-length. It feels ballsy and sort of arrogant, but not off putting. It’s in your face, aggressive, and easy to sing along too. Which is everything that Four Year Strong is and should be.
This is the best album that Four Year Strong has given us. Every song is an immediate hit, and they all feel radio-ready. ‘Four Year Strong’ was more than a return to form. It’s a goddamn triumph. This is easycore. This is Four Year Strong. Long live. 5/5