December 16, 2008
Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Emo-Pop

Album Review

The All-American Rejects first left behind the charmingly naïve sounds of their debut for 2005's Move Along, an album that paired emo-pop anthems with spit-shine studio polish. Arriving three years later, When the World Comes Down reprises the same formula that made Move Along a success, from the radio-ready tracks to the use of auxiliary instruments. Strings, orchestral flourishes, and a female choir all beef up these 13 songs, which (at their root) are straightforward pop tunes about heartbreak, heartache, and other cheerless conditions of the cardiac organ. The extra instruments aren't always needed, but they do add an extra layer to the band's songwriting, which isn't nearly as intricate as the accompanying arrangements. "Fallin' Apart" experiments with bouncing piano and bowed strings, "The Wind Blows" finds room to house an entire orchestra, and "Another Heart Calls" pairs Tyson Ritter's vocals with the twangy lilt of the Pierces, whose cameo appearance is a bit odd (a folk duo on an emo album?), but still serves as one of the record's truly unique moments. Elsewhere, producer Eric Valentine paints these tunes with coats of gloss, as if to make the group's four-chord progressions sound more interesting than anything by their likeminded peers. Therein lies the Rejects' main obstacle, as they tend to focus on presentation rather than execution. Of course, When the World Comes Down is nothing if not a commercial record, and these potential singles will undoubtedly cement a space on Clear Channel radio. Discerning fans may demand something new from the band's next effort, however, since this is essentially Move Along with a revised track list. [When the World Comes Down was also released in a double-disc deluxe format with additional demos and bonus content.]
Andrew Leahey, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. I Wanna
  2. I Wanna
  3. Fallin' Apart
  4. Fallin' Apart
  5. Damn Girl
  6. Damn Girl
  7. Gives You Hell
  8. Gives You Hell
  9. Mona Lisa
  10. Mona Lisa
  11. Breakin'
  12. Breakin'
  13. Another Heart Calls
  14. Another Heart Calls
  15. Real World
  16. Real World
  17. Back to Me
  18. Back To Me
  19. Believe
  20. Believe
  21. The Wind Blows
  22. The Wind Blows
  23. Untitled
  24. [Untitled]
  25. [Untitled]
  26. Sunshine
  27. I Wanna [Demo] [*][Demo Version]
  28. I Wanna [*][Demo Version]
  29. Damn Girl [*][Demo Version]
  30. Damn Girl [Demo] [*][Demo Version]
  31. Fallin' Apart [Demo] [*][Demo Version]
  32. Fallin' Apart [*][Demo Version]
  33. Mona Lisa [*][Demo Version]
  34. Mona Lisa [Demo] [*][Demo Version]
  35. Real World [Demo] [*][Demo Version]
  36. Real World [*][Demo Version]
purchase full album