Pop punk’s not dead and State Champs is proving that statement with every release. Around the World and Back is only their second album but they sure are defending pop punk, one beautifully crafted song after another.
Every one of the 11 tracks on this album tells a story with its many themes like heartbreak, finally getting over someone, and learning important life lessons. There’s nothing quite as special than an album that is created to teach themes in each individual song but when brought together present a story with a cohesive sound.
The two singles, “Secrets” and “All You Are Is History” were the right songs to put out and give fans a taste for what they would be hearing in the full length. Derek DiScanio’s aggressive vocals during “Secrets” gives that true pop punk gritty sound paired with a different one in “All You Are Is History” when compared to other songs in the genre. There’s something so special about beginning a song with no instruments so the raw voice of the vocalist can be heard and State Champs delivered it wonderfully.
“Eyes Closed” and “Breaking Ground” are tracks with heavy drums that should make every fan want to rock out, eat pizza, wear a snapback and your favorite pair of vans, and maybe even leave your hometown. They are drum pounding goodness that makes pop punk so rewarding to listen to.
Two tracks that show off State Champ’s ability to be diverse is “All or Nothing” and “Around the World and Back.” Both songs are toned and slowed down a bit, “Around the World and Back” more so because it is more of an acoustic song. Also, lyrically these two songs stand out the most and are my favorite.
“All or Nothing” is unique (because I am an English geek) because the lyrics unfold and connect with each other in the first and second verses. “The postcards on your walls/I left them blank because they don’t exist at all/You moved on and that’s common sense.” This is repeated but in a different way in the second verse. “The postcards on my walls/say what you mean to me, but always seem to fall/you moved on, and that’s common sense.”
The title track was the perfect song to have a guest vocalist and Ansley Newman’s voice paired with DiScanio’s are such a pleasure to listen to. They each compliment the other so well, it really makes for an enjoyable listening session. One of my favorite aspects of this song is the lyrics. It is slightly generic, but that makes it relatable and it’s honest. With lyrics like “I’m falling in love and it’s scaring me,” so simple but it has such an impact. Anyone who has been in love or know heartbreak can relate to the frightening part of giving your heart to someone who has the power to light up or tear apart your world.
This album is pure gold and State Champs is setting the bar higher and higher with each release but I know the boys are able to live up to the expectations they are setting. They are simply that kind of band. So if you aren’t listening to State Champs then you need to awaken your inner pop punk self (everyone has one), jam out to Around the World and Back, and enjoy the story that will unfold in the next 36 minutes.