I was sent a little 4 track preview of The All-American Rejects upcoming album Kids in the Street, and I must say I'm impressed with what I've heard so far. I have never been the biggest AAR fan. I enjoyed a few cuts off their first two albums, but their last album was a disaster to me. So I was a little wary going into my first listen, but after a few listens, I can safely say these songs are some of my best AAR songs I've heard and I think the album will appeal to fans of late 90s/early 00s pop rock.
The first song I listened to was the one the band premiered a few weeks ago: opening track "Someday's Gone." Really enjoyed Tyson Ritter's vocals on this and liked the energy behind it, as it reminded me a bit of Green Album era Weezer. The title track is a mid-tempo jam that flows in the vein of The Killers circa Day and Age, as eerie synth and keys add some texture to the track. Sounds like something that would be the soundtrack to a group of friends road tripping through a dry valley.
The final two songs that were sent to me are the two that impressed me the most. "Bleed Into Your Mind" starts out scarcely with a lot of cool/weird noises happening in the background. It really highlights Ritter's vocals as his voice gradually rises throughout the track. It's definitely one of the weirder AAR tracks in recent memory but it sounds great and they pull it off well. But my favorite of the batch is the five minute "Gonzo." It's another track that begins quietly with a lightly strummed guitar line and drum beat. Ritter's breathy vocals are urgent ("it's better this way/it's better this way/gambling with life/it was our turn to play"). I can see a lot of people enjoying this song, whether they're AAR fans or not. It's very cool and it's another example of the band pushing their boundaries instead of just settling for another top 40 hit and remaking "Give You Hell."
Even though I've only heard 4 of the (I believe) 13 tracks of the album (I hear great things about "The Beekeeper's Daughter"), I think it has the potential to be the best AAR album to date. Our mysterious leader Jason Tate has heard the entire thing and he has stated that it is their best work, so that should make a lot of people excited. I'll say this, if you gave up on the band like I did because of their last album, you need to give this album a shot when it releases. I think a lot of people will be surprised by this release. I know I was.