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Simple Plan

Simple Plan (Lava/Atlantic)

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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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