Sum 41 - All Killer No Filler
Record Label: Island
Release Date: May 8, 2001
Since this is my first review, I find it appropriate to write it on the first album I owned and one of my all time favorites: Sum 41's All Killer No Filler. I was 11 when this album came out, in middle school, and honestly a little sheltered. At the time I was mostly just listening to the classic rock that I'd been exposed to by my dad: the Rolling Stones; the Eagles, Bob Seger; Tom Petty; etc. I think my favorite band at the time was Van Halen, which makes me laugh now that I think about it. But I had been hearing all these catchy pop punk singles on the radio, and the one that really caught my attention was Fat Lip. So I saved up my allowance and ordered it through the mail, and upon its arrival, I unwrapped it, then sat on my bed just staring at it. My first album. I had no idea how much of an influence it would be on me.
Diving into the album itself, I just have to say that if you cannot find at least one song that you enjoy even a little bit, then the whole punk rock genre probably isn't for you. All Killer No Filler has it all: energy, drive, anger, indifference, attitude. This is the album that your parents don't want you to discover at age 11 when you're just starting to think that school is bullshit and the only thing that really matters is that ridiculously cute girl who honestly treats you like shit. Even now at age 22 I can still relate to the messages in these songs. The lyrics are broad enough that everyone can relate to them, but specific enough that each song makes you think of a certain person or situation in your life. The perfect balance. Listening through it again with a reviewer's ear, this album really captures the emotion of someone who is questioning things in their life. What's the point? Why try? Who cares? Why waste my time doing things that society tells me to do when I could be doing things that actually make me happy? Why conform?
See what I mean when I say your parents don't want you to listen to this album?
As far as the instrumental aspect of the album goes, I would like to reference a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "Everything is simpler than you think and at the same time more complex than you imagine." 'Complexly simple' if you will. Basically what I mean by this is that, overall, the songs are fairly simple, but they're composed in a way that is so seamless that the final outcome seems to be a complex piece of art, a quality that I believe all great pop punk bands have. Specifically pop punk bands because simple chord progression and lyrics are a signature of the punk rock genre. All Filler No Killer executes the concept beautifully.
In conclusion, I really cannot say enough about this album. Sure, it's not an absolutely perfect album. It's not the most impressive album as far as musicianship, and, contrary to the title, not every song is one that you'll put on repeat for a week straight. That said, I still consider this to be an excellent album. I bought All Killer No Filler 11 years ago and I still play it beginning to end from time to time. That alone says a lot.