Review : Hoobastank - For(n)ever
AllmusicThe parenthetical "n" in the title of For(n)ever isn't merely a piece of clever typography, it's an indication of what Hoobastank's fourth album is all about, for For(n)ever is tied together by the notion that nothing lasts forever...or more precisely, whatever relationship singer Doug Robb just finished sure didn't last forever. For(n)ever is a breakup album at its purest, teeming with regret, anger, and recriminations but little guilt, as there's little question that Robb believes he's the wronged party. He finds incriminating letters tucked away behind the bed, discovers that "[The] more you speak/The less I care about you," wonders "Who the Hell Am I?" now that the relationship has sputtered to a halt. The funny thing about a breakup album scored to mechanical modern rock -- equal part grunge harmonies and digitally processed active rock riffs -- is that sympathy winds up shifting from the singer to his subject of scorn, since all those nasty sentiments feel directed to the listeners, not the cheating, duplicitous girl who is now long gone, gone, gone. Despite this barrage of invective, it's strangely reassuring hearing the oft-preprogrammed Hoobastank break free from their constraints. Prior to this, they seemed more concerned with airplay than emotion, so it's nice to see their human side slip through even if it isn't particularly pleasant to hear....full text
ESSENTIAL "Who the Hell Am I?"
Some bands survive by reinventing themselves, others by sticking to what they do best. Hoobastank tips toward the latter with its fourth album, "For(n)ever."
This latest effort from the ill-named active-rock workhorse rekindles all the elements that made the band's first two albums smash hits, eschewing the tinkering that led to a frosty reception for its third album.
On "For(n)ever," Hoobastank settles into a niche and makes no apology for it; the music is inevitably catchy, profoundly uncomplicated, and easily accessible.
Working again with producer Howard Benson, who has an intuitive feel for the clean sound and jittery attitude of modern rock, the band has compressed 11 songs into little more than a half-hour, with every note meticulously placed. Doug Robb's ability to cover a vocal range from agitated yelp to smooth plea, and guitarist Dan Estrin's utilitarian approach to serving a song's needs are the bedrocks to Hoobastank's everyman appeal....full text
BlenderReviewed by Jon Dolan
No one’s ever going to mistake a guy who named his band Hoobastank for a genius, but singer-guitarist Doug Robb is smart enough to realize that his grunge heroes didn’t need to be as complex as they thought they were. Hoobastank smooth out the cryptic Sturm und Drang of Pearl Jam and reanimate Kurt Cobain as a guy whose biggest problem was waiting forever to know if we’re together. Robb’s theme has always been fortitude through love’s trials, but the ’Stank’s real obsession is formula—the sturdy A/B rhyme, the grandly surging chorus, the self-actualized underdog salvo (“Why can’t I just make my turn today?” he wonders on “My Turn”). Album four is especially monochrome gut-check metal, so flourishes of mellow pianos or cargo-shorts funk are as welcome as a bag of Skittles in a pack of combat rations. Even Kurt knew that soldiers need some sweets....full text
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