Having grown up with SUM 41 (No, seriously. l was 14 when Does This Look Infected? was released), and listening to Order in Decline (July 19, Hopeless Records) now, it feels like they have grown up, too. The teen snark is replaced with delicate poetry in most songs, but the messages of love lost, human unrest, and emotional angst has only been amplified.
If “Turning Away” isn’t the blockbuster theme song for the next Terminator movie, Hollywood has gone and lost its damn mind. Beautiful, haunting vocals supporting the ultimate “don’t set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm” song with a backdrop of drums kicking its ass the entire time. The lyrics sent a chill down my spine. It felt different. A very good, different SUM 41. “Out for Blood” is where you’re like, “Oh, Hell Yeah. This is a SUM 41 record.” This single has been out for a few months and hearing this live back in May 2019 on their No Personal Space Tour was absolute insanity. Can we talk about that guitar solo? Jesus H. Christ. Feed me the metal, SUM 41, and let me die happy.
If you’re looking for reasons to get out of your next speeding ticket, “Heads Will Roll” and “Eat You Alive” will be your excuses. “A Death in The Family” has some seriously nether tingling bass lines mingled with the ghostly vocals that creeped on us in “Turning Away”. “Your lies…will take you alive” What is it with these guys and the poetry speaking to my very soul?
Deryck Whibley posted on his Instagram account on June 18 about “Never There”: “I never wanted to write this song, it just kind of poured out of me. I tried to fight it at first, but there was no stopping it.” This song, about his dad who he never met, is very moving. He went on to say that, “It’s never really bothered me to be honest… It never bothered me because my mum was so great and I have such a great relationship with her. She was/is so strong as a single mother for my whole life that I never needed to think about my dad.” I think it takes guts to grapple with a theme like this, especially when it’s already resolved in your own heart.
“The New Sensation”, “The People Vs…”, and “45 (A Matter of Time)” current events anthems hit right in the sweet spot, especially the latter if the current administration leaves you less than enthused and you’re not satisfied with how we as a human race are behaving. While these songs are fun listens, I just connected way more to the lyrics in the others, especially the last track on the album.
“Catching Fire” closes out the record with what is essentially a love song to the people that we have lost through suicide. It’s been a week and I still can’t listen to it without becoming emotional. It hits on the feelings of anger at the person who has left, of being confused, not knowing what pushed them to no return and trying to find some solace in knowing that we loved them. Even now that they’re gone, we love them still. Having lost someone very dear to me in this fashion, this one hits home so hard.
This album is heavy, in both lyrical content and balls to the wall musical talent. Order in Decline is absolutely worth your time and I get excited just thinking about the possibility of a Winter 19/Spring 20 tour in our future.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Catching Fire”, “Turning Away’, “Out For Blood”