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Album Review

All-American Rejects, When the World Comes Down

December 15, 2008
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Rock
All-American Rejects When The World Comes Down
DGC / Doghouse
ESSENTIAL "Gives You Hell"

A 4/4 gait, a vast store of amorphous angst, and an ascendant chorus, preferably in a major key. That's the formula for writing a killer pop-punk anthem, and many bands do it well, but only a couple do it with the kind of consistency that presages a serious career. Fall Out Boy is one. The other is the All-American Rejects, the Oklahoma quartet behind the multi-platinum 2005 disc, "Move Along." (The Rejects have been planted on the Billboard 200 chart for an astonishing 100-plus weeks.) If sonic similitude is any indicator of future successes, "When the World Comes Down" will only cement the band's top-of-the-heap status. "Believe" is a barnstormer of a ballad; "Another Heart Calls" traffics in pleasant mush. And "Gives You Hell," the album's first and best single, has a cathartic, smear-it-in-your-face conceit: "You're still probably working at a 9-to-5 pace," frontman Tyson Ritter snarls. "I wonder how bad that tastes." The song is aimed at a nameless gal - with, ahem, very bad timing - who dumped Ritter before he got all rich and famous and started wearing tight striped pants on stage. Still, it's a perfectly serviceable tune for anyone who's ever been booted to the curb. (Out tomorrow)

MATTHEW SHAER

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