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Gym Class Heroes’ ‘Papercut Chronicles’ sequel bleeds mediocrity

“The Papercut Chronicles II,” the newest release from Gym Class Heroes, doesn’t have a slew defining tracks — nothing like “The Queen and I” or “Cupid’s Chokehold” — but actually presents a more aggressive Travie McCoy with the same teenybopper sensibility.

“Martyrial Girl$” is particularly reflective of McCoy’s new-found aggression, but it is still rather artificial and frankly, kind of lame. In fact, he even raps “too cool for school” in the chorus. Then again, it was these shallow lines that filled the Schottenstein Center when they opened for Fall Out Boy a few years back, going back to the teenybopper quality.

The split sound of Gym Class Heroes, between attempted “badassery” and wincing optimism, is an ever-present motif of pop music. It is by no means absent on “Papercut II.”

“Life Goes On” and “The Fighter” project this optimism. “Life Goes On” is about exactly what the song title dictates. The other track is a bit more brave. They’re cute songs for bad days that weren’t actually that bad.

Then, predictably, there are the love songs that are churned into singles. On “Papercut II,” this song is “Stereo Hearts,” featuring pop’s all-star, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. It’s made for the radio, as its refrain elaborates strongly upon. It’s kind of bad.

“Lazarus, Ze Gitan” is a song about being lost in love, with the hook exclaiming, “Oh, I’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places.”

“Holy Horses–t, Batman” and “Ass Back Home” sound like reflections of a 13-year-old finally using the naughty language he learned at school in his diary. Lyrically, these songs are hollow, attempting to discuss some sort of personal conflict about being where “one belongs.” But I am not convinced that these people are having real problems.

“Nil-Nil-Draw” is mostly the same deal with a more fast-paced, percussive McCoy.     

The album closes with an angry, screamo-crossover tune with a meaning that is hard to define. I can only hear a series of stereotypically sad statements. If the last track is not indicative of the aggressive songwriting Gym Class Heroes have shown in this record, then I don’t know what is.

Even though they still hold true to an accessible style of music, it’s to a much lesser degree. This is probably because they’re too busy screaming at their parents.


Grade: C

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