Artist: Gym Class Heroes
Album: As Cruel As School Children
Label: Decaydance / Fueled By Ramen
Purchase: Smart Punk
Release Date: July 25, 2006
Easily the best act on Decaydance, Gym Class Heroes follow up 2005Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”The Papercut ChroniclesÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? with an album that shows what hip-hop has the potential to be today. Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”As Cruel As School ChildrenÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? serves up fourteen tracks of Travis McCoy spitting verses with more relevance than any modern day MC.
DonÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t let the man fool you, though. While Schlep may wear his heart on his sleeve, heÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s anything but emo, though others may try to say different due to the bandÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s label associations. Touching on subjects like love seems to brand one with a stigma thatÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s become more and more derogatory as the millennium approaches the last stretch of its first decade.
Opening the album is the discÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s second single Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”The Queen and I.Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? From the first few notes of the song, you can tell that musically, the band has elevated to a level beyond that of their debut. Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”Shoot Down the StarsÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? introduces us to something weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ll hear a lot more over the course of the album; Travis sings with a voice full of soul, proving heÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s more than just an MC, heÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s one of the most charismatic frontmen in a group poised to break through multiple genre barriers. On Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”New Friend Request,Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? McCoy references the Myspace generation with seriousness, but more humor as one whoÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s ever had a conversation with him would expect. One of my favorite lines of the album is also in the song, quipping, Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”On a scale of one to awesome, IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m the shit!Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? HeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s quite the rival for Kanye West, eh? Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”Clothes OffÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? featuring Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy could give us insight to what their own new album could sound like. Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”Sloppy Love Jingle Pt. 1Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? gives us some amazing spoken word parts that end up spread throughout the disc, and theyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re just as intriguing as the songs. From here on out, itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s song after song full of above average tracks that make this album a new hip-hop classic. Another couple of tracks that deserve recognition are Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”7 WeeksÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? featuring William Beckett of theAcademyIsÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦ actually sounding happy to be making a cameo for once, and Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”Scandalous Scholastics,Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? a track paying tribute to hitting a homerun with a hot teacher. Solid gold.
Lyrically, musically, and passionately playing in a new class, it seems like the band has graduated from the gym to the music room. The one thing that stood out about this band from the beginning was the organic sound that stemmed from them actually playing instruments, rather than having electronic beats. Expanding on their sound this time, theyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ve actually added effects and some other electronics to their parts, but it only makes them even more formidable as a group.
With the potential for a mainstream hit this year, Gym Class Heroes could help re-take hip-hop to a place without bling, bitchez, and hos. Please, give the world a Gym Class Heroes and Atmosphere tour. TheyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re doing it right.
1. 1st Period: The Queen And I
2. 2nd Period: Shoot Down The Stars
3. 3rd Period: New Friend Request
4. 4th Period: Clothes Off!
5. Lunch: Sloppy Love Jingle
6. 6th Period: Viva La White Girl
7. 7th Period: 7 Weeks
8. 8th Period: It’s OK, But Just This Once!
9. Study Hall: Sloppy Love Jingle Part 2
10. 10th Period: Biters Block
11. Yearbook Club: Boys In Bands
12. 12th Period: Scandalous Scholastics
13. 13th Period: On My Own Time (Write On!)
14. Detention: Sloppy Love Jingle Part 3
Manuel Garcia says
“The Papercut Chonicles” was one of those records that you could name any song and someone would jump out of the crowd and start singing it. Everyone loved this record and that what made it different.
“As Cruel As School Children” was GCH’s attempt to expieriment with sounds and bring a “pop” feel to the record. There was more of a mix of hip-hip and pop in this record. There was indeed a theme of high school and each song made a reference to it. It was different than The Papercut Chronicles, but not necessary bad.
This record is more of mainstream material, but it’s an enjoyable record nonetheless. It’s fun, catchy, and something new in the scene.
Regardless if you like this record or not, you have to admit, Gym Class Heroes put on a good show.