Sum 41 – Screaming Bloody Murder (2011)

Posted: March 23, 2011 in Music

Back in 1996, Deryck Whibley put together a band. Influenced by the early days of punk, and considering the resurgence of punk in the pop world (Green Day, Blink 182), the time was right for Whibley to join the scene. Thus was the birth of Sum 41. The bands first major album, 2001s All Killer, No Filler was a breakthrough release. It charted well, spawned several hit singles, and led the band on a whirlwind ride of touring, appearances, and video shoots.

Unfortunately, the band was never truly able to recapture the sound of that album, but due to their worldwide success, were able to release three additional albums over the years – 2002s Does This Look Infected, 2004s Chuck, and 2007s absolutely forgettable Underclass Hero. So here we sit almost five years later, and the band has finally put another record out (which is a bit of a surprise considering the failure of their last record).

March 29th will see the band releasing Screaming Bloody Murder, their fifth major release. It’s a departure of sorts for the band. After all, they are older, more mature, and – one would think – wiser. Whibley is back to concentrating on the band full time after a short but failed marriage to pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne, and it shows in this release. Lyrically, this album surpasses anything the band has ever done before. Gone are the fart jokes and play on words. The album was written with smart, intelligent themes – which was welcomed by this listener – but I fear it may not bode as well for the true fan of the band.

Sum 41 has always been known for its tongue-in-cheek playfullness, and it appears this aspect of the band’s personality is long gone. This, too, is a good but bad thing. This album lacks a sense of cohesiveness, which I think the “not-so-serious” attitude the band has held over the years actually provided. It’s noticeable in the song structures as well. While listening through it, you are waiting for the punchline to a joke you don’t understand. And it never comes.

That doesn’t make this a bad album by any means, it just makes it a bad Sum 41 album. I completely understand the changing that takes place from adolescence to adulthood. The problem with that change is that it comes with lots of mistakes along the way. The composition of many of the tracks on this album wavers from style to style – and it’s obviously intentional. What pricks my ears is that it doesn’t quite work – but I give the band credit for trying.

Had this record been released by some “new” band, it would garner a ton of applause for a debut effort, but critics and fans are not likely to give Sum 41 a free pass on their “re-invention”, and I see this album falling on the pile of disappointing releases from this band – albeit for the wrong reasons. Maybe it’s due to the fact that this album was five years in the making, or maybe Whibley just has a perfectionist complex, but this album is just too many good ideas put together in the wrong sequence.

But that, of course, is just my opinion. I highly suggest checking it out for yourself. It’s one of those albums that will be hit-or-miss to a majority of the listeners. I’m resting comfortably on the fence for now – but let me know what you think in the comments section below.


1.Reason To Believe
2.Screaming Bloody Murder
4.Time For You To Go
5.Jessica Kill
6.What I Am To Say
7.Holy Image Of Lies
8.Sick Of Everyone
9.Happiness Machine
11.Blood In My Eyes
12.Baby You Fon’t Wanna Know
13.Back Where I Belong
14.Exit Song
15.Reason To Believe(Acoustic)
16.We’re The Same

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