14 July 2015

Favourite artists: Simple Plan. Canada #3

In my previous post I said I am doing this two-part series thingy, where I at first feature some country's music from one certain theme (aka. genre) and then make a Favourite Artists post of the same country's artist of the same theme. Like I did few months ago in this and this post. This time around the them is Canadian punk-rock music. This post is obviously the second part, aka. the Favourite Artists post. In my Favourite Artists post I feature my ultimate top favourite singers and groups, of whom I have been a fan of for years.

And the band of this post is...

Photo from here

Simple Plan

In this post I will tell facts about the band amongst the songs. I picked six songs to feature, instead of the usual five; The struggle was serious when selecting the songs since I love almost all of their songs. But these six are perhaps my ultimate favourites from them. I will try to keep the text parts shortish, since these Favourite Artists posts tend to end up quite long. And on that note, better get going on:

At first I want to mention that in my opinion Simple Plan's style is quite varied. If you find this first song too punk for you: give a try to the other songs in this post too. They are fairly different and you might like those even if you do not care for punk-rock!

Simple Plan is a band from Montreal, Quebec, playing pop punk and alternative rock. The members of the band are lead vocalist Pierre Bouvier, drummer Chuck Comeau, guitarist Jeff Stinco, rhythm guitarist S├ębastien Lefebvre and bassist David Desrosiers. The members were in different bands during the 90s, including Reset, but in 1999 they formed Simple Plan together. The band's line-up has not changed since 2000 after David joined. Simple Plan debuted in 2002 and so far they have released four studio albums, of which particularly numbers two and three, have gained worldwide success. The band has toured Americas, Europe and Asia, and worked together with many famous artists.

The first song from Simple Plan is called Shut Up!. It was released as a single from Simple Plan's second album in 2005 and it is a pop punk song. This was amongst the first Simple Plan songs that I heard and that made me fall in love with this band. The message of the song could be taken as many ways, or more of to who it is pointed at, but the main point is stated on the title. I find this song catchy and quite fun, despite the image perhaps given by the title. And I also really like the music video; even though I am not about destroying such a nice looking place, the video is pretty hilarious!

Simple Plan makes their own music (which you would assume to be an obvious thing with instrument playing bands but is not always) with Pierre and Chuck writing most of the lyrics. They look for an inspiration from their own lives and also from things that they find important. This includes lyrics like Save You, which tell about Pierre's brother's fight with cancer, and many songs about problems faced by the youth. Simple Plan has also created Simple Plan Foundation, which raises funds to help with teenage problems. Respect.

My second favourite song, and most likely the first song that I heard, from Simple Plan is called Untitled (How Could This Happen To Me?). I believe the part in the parenthesis was added for the single release. It was released in 2005 and represents the different side of Simple Plan: it is a ballad kind of song with beautiful and sad lyrics. I really love this song. And the music video too is amazing: it tells about the victims of drinking and driving, and MADD anti-drunk driving campaigns have used to song and video. A very important message and it makes the song even more emotional, as if it was not very emotional to start with.

Simple Plan's style is quite varied, but there are certain themes that repeat in their works. Many of the songs focus on love and such matters, but, like I mentioned before, they also sing a lot about teen problems, like loneliness and identity problems. I suppose teenagers are a main audience to punk-rock bands, so it is not quite surprising really (and I too was a teen when I first came across the band, though I do not believe it was some teenage angst that made me love them, since the love has remained). For a punk rock band, they make really beautiful ballads. I would actually not call Simple Plan a punk band, since their music is more 'poppish' and 'rockish' than punk, in my opinion that is. Some have called Simple Plan 'emo', and I suppose in some songs they are, but that is definitely not all that there is to the band.

One of their best songs considering teenage problems are called Perfect. Actually of their albums, their first studio album is the one that focuses most on teenage problems and which also is the most punk. Perfect was from this first album and was released as a single in 2003. I must admit, that I originally did not care for this song, but then I heard it live in their concert and fell in love with it. I guess feeling the emotional reaction it got from the audience around me gave the song so much more feeling and meaning. The message is "sorry, i can not be perfect" and even though this would mainly be considered as a teen song, I believe this is a feeling that many, many adults can connect with.

Astronaut sort of continues the theme. It was a single from their most recent album and was released in 2011. You know how many bands and singers have nicknames for their fans? After the released of Astronaut, Simple Plan's fans have been called astronauts. The song is very beautiful and meaningful: the lyrics tell about the loneliness faced by many. Very emotional song and the way Pierre sings makes me shiver. The music video too carries out this story so well. There is so much truth in this sentence from the video: "Being human is the most terrible loneliness in the universe".

My journey with Simple Plan started when I came across Untitled in 2004 or 2005 and since I totally fell in love with it, I of course searched the internet for their other songs too. Back then they had only two studio albums out, which I obviously had to immediately buy when I listened to more of their songs. I remember waiting excitedly for their third studio, a wait that felt like forever since it was released in 2008. That album ended up becoming my favourite album from Simple Plan and one of my favourite albums of all time.

Rock concert + me = nope!!
I am not much of a concert goer for two reasons: 1. they are too expensive, 2. I do not like concerts that much. Simple Plan's concert is one of the only ones I have been to actually. And I have to say it was quite an experience compared to the other concerts I have been to (pop mainly). And honestly, I do not think I would go again. I really loved Simple Plan's performance, but rock concerts are not for me! I am a fairly small person and at times it felt it was very dangerous being in the audience; a smaller girl next to me got almost knocked over so many many times and it was not much easier for me either. I had to make my way to the very back, which was safer, but then I could see barely anything. Never again.

Now about the last two songs: When I'm Gone and I Can Wait Forever. Both of these are from Simple Plan's third studio album, self-titled Simple Plan, which I few paragraphs ago names as my favourite album from Simple Plan. When I'm Gone was the lead single from the album, and I remember being so excited about it, since it meant the much-waited album was to be released soon! I immediately like the song and the love has remained. The lyrics tell about a break-up and I would say the genre is mostly electropunk. I think the music sounds quite interesting, perhaps it is the electro sound that makes it. I also really like the music video, which concept is very cool and very well produced.

Then I Can Wait Forever. This song I saved for last for one particular reason: It is my favourite song from Simple Plan! It is the only song in this post that was not released as a single. This belongs to the 'beautiful songs from Simple Plan category' and is a ballad-like song, though not a pure ballad. You would not assume that punk bands would make romantic songs, but sure enough Simple Plan does (though it is a fairly small percent of their songs). The lyrics deal with having to be away from your loved one and how it hurts (reality of a touring musician, I suppose). I do not know exactly why this is my favourite, but I find the song very beautiful and it feels like there is lots of emotion in the music and singing. I am not very emotional person, but this song manages to make me feel emotional, even when I do not even have self-experience from this matter.

I think that was most of what I wanted to say in this post. Or at least this post is getting to be so long, that it is better to leave it here. Here is the traditional listing about where you can find the songs from:

No Pads, No Helmets... Just Balls, released 2002: Perfect
Still Not Getting Any..., released 2004: Shut Up!, Untitled
Simple Plan, released 2008: When I'm Gone, I Can Wait Forever
Get Your Heart On!, released 2011: Astronaut

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