The process of this upcoming album might have actually been harder than it looks, due to the pandemic in 2020, delaying the release tremendously. But, the wait is finally over and it was well worth it.
The album starts off strongly with the emotionally loaded “Wake Me Up (When This Nightmare’s Over)” fitting in with the current Zeitgeist and Weltschmerz, all of us collectively get to live through. The song captures the pain and dread of feeling powerless while watching terrible things such as wars and the effects of the pandemic happen in the world every day. The accompanying video features a Ukrainian cast and crew, telling their stories in a very powerful way. All of the proceeds the video generates via YouTube go straight to help families affected by the war in Ukraine.
Next up we have the track “Ruin My Life”, which might have come as a big surprise for many fans. The song features none other than Deryck Whibley of Sum 41. As a lot of supporters of any of the bands know, there was bad blood between the two of them. This collaboration, however, had both parties bury the hatchet, delivering a powerful song about getting out of an abusive situation or relationship and coming back stronger.
With “The Antidote” Simple Plan throws it back to their classic sound and talks about the importance of having someone or something to lean on when you’re going through tough times, as no one should walk down a dark path on their own. For many people this is music as it is one thing bringing people together and making someone feel less alone. Following the emotional ode to music, we have “Million Pictures Of You” which is a heartfelt number that captures the sweet innocence of a crush. As spring is finally making its presence known and the days are getting longer and warmer, it may be a great song to add to one of your seasonal playlists.
The next track “Anxiety” shows a bit of an unexpected side of the band. It combines mellow, vulnerable verses with catchy beats. The lyrics, as the name already suggests, describe what goes on in someone’s head when anxiety kicks in. From comparing yourself to others and caving under outside pressure, all the way to overthinking, the lyrics capture the feeling quite well - especially the “get away from me” parts can come off as overwhelming and make the listener feel uneasy and nervous, drawing the listener in even more and making the song feel even more real.
After the mellow break, “Congratulations” turns the energy back up to a hundred and “Iconic” takes it a step further with an anthemic feel and a big build up, placing the listener into a victorious setting. Fittingly it was used in a teaser clip for the LCS Spring Finale 2022 (League Of Legends).
The song “Best Day Of My Life” serves as a reminder that sometimes a positive outlook on life and being thankful for what you got, can go such a long way. With things being out of your control, you can at least take charge of your mindset and how you react to certain situations. “Slow Motion” is about living in a moment that you don’t want to let go of. Both songs are ideal for those summer playlists, to listen to while driving with the windows rolled down.
The album closes with the emotional song “Two” which is written from a child's point of view. The entire song is an inner monologue that kids of divorced couples may have and the disbelief that comes with the situation. Especially when they are torn between both of their parents and living in both of their households.
After twenty years the guys from Simple Plan have shown that they are still on top of their game and not afraid to tie in new elements and pair them with their classic pop punk sound that everyone loves, while still keeping their fans on their toes and leaving them wanting more. “Harder Than It Looks” is a strong comeback for the quartett and a joy to listen to.
Simple Plan - Harder Than It Looks out May 6th 2022