Who Should Buy This: Bubblegum punks
Album: Upside Down
Artist: Set It Off
Genre: alternative, punk-pop, rock
Music Rating: 9/10
Lyrics Rating: 7/10
Sounds Like: All Time Low, The Maine, Panic! At the Disco, The Summer Set
Best thing About this Album: The heart and energy that is so obviously at the core of this album.
One thing I wish was different: This album definitely should’ve been labeled as explicit. All four singles were squeaky clean optimistic pop-rock, so the preorder was misleading (although their backlog is much more indicative of the album as a whole). You can tell that the band really poured their hearts into this album and didn’t hold anything back, and while I don’t promote emotional censorship, I personally (selfishly) would’ve appreciated more elocution without resorting to profanity. That being said, there are some amazing things happening musically, and I still love a lot of these songs. I also really appreciate that the swearing is clustered rather than spread out (which makes it easier to skip songs on physical copies of the album).
Website: Set It Off
Songs Anie Didn’t Delete: 8
Favorites: Something New, Uncontainable, Life Afraid, Never Know
Parental Guidance: Want talks about drinking and driving dangerously as a metaphor for being careless on the path to commitment. Tug of War has a swear word in the bridge. Admit It has a severe swear word in the second? verse. Hypnotized starts out talking about “vulgarity and verbal abuse” before quickly throwing out two severe swear words, a cigarette reference (and suggesting she become a nun? Idk on that one.) The rapping portion of the second verse has four swear words, and the track ends with one more severe swear word for good measure. It’s a very angry track. Me w/o Us says “pin you to the bed. Show you who is your man” in the third verse.
This is a playlist of all of the songs from the album that don’t contain swearing or suggestive lyrics. It will automatically play through all 8 songs. To skip to a particular song, click on the menu icon in the upper left-hand corner.
Though Set It Off has clearly earned a place and sound uniquely their own in punk-pop rock music, it’s hard to stay away from comparisons when they run parallel to so many of the greats who’ve gone before. With the opening track (my personal fav) being co-written by Alex of All Time Low, you know this is the real deal from the outset. Uncontainable is giving me serious Goo-Goo vibes a la So Alive, and the title track (Upside Down) instantly called back that one song from that tween movie based on a children’s book. In explaining this album to family/friends, I’ve tried lots of interesting comparisons and gotten my fair share of (admittedly earned) strange looks. Here are some of my attempts:
It’s like a bubblegum-pop version of Fall Out Boy . . . with a trumpet . . . but in a good way!
Have you heard of skeleton punk? This is ska-punk. But smiley-er.
This is what it would sound like if Brendon Urie was a cupcake.
(Or as my sister likes to call it: Diabetes! At the Disco)
It’s very SafetySuit.
It tastes like blue cotton candy, but also theater popcorn. And poprocks!
This album sounds like Patrick Stump’s face looks.
It’s like The Ready Set, but fluffy and with more rock & roll.
This album is the type of happy encouragement that punches your teeth out.
It’s like Barq’s root beer. It’s a fizzy, sugary soda, but it bites back!
If I haven’t completely scared you away, feel free to check out my favorite lines from each of the tracks. It’ll give you a more rational sense of the album lyrically.
“I need a little revolution. This could be like a revelation.” — Something New
“When the bell goes off, the gloves do too.” — Uncontainable
“I won’t live my life afraid.” — Life Afraid
“I’m gonna make a smile light up that frown, and we can turn it upside down.” — Upside Down
“Before I break your heart, this isn’t what I really want.” — Want
“I don’t know how he let you go.” — Diamond Girl
“Common chemistry can build an atom bomb.” — Tug of War
“Guess you never know what you never know.” — Admit It
“Time to pack your bags. No more looking back.” — Hypnotized
“Do what you’re told. Don’t think about it.” — Never Know
“You use me. I’m just your crutch. I don’t know how long I can hold you up.” — Crutch
“There’s no me without us.” — Me w/o Us
That’s it. If you loved these songs as much as I did, please consider supporting Set It Off by purchasing the album from their website or on your favorite digital music store (iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon, etc.)
And holler at me in the comments! I’d love to talk to you all about this album.