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Classic Album Reviews: Not by Choice | Maybe One Day / Riddlin’ Kids | Hurry Up and Wait

Two pop-punk outfits jump on the Sum 41 bandwagon, but end up falling flat.

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Wanna know how to tell when your band has really made it? When other bands start ripping you off mercilessly.

By that measure, Sum 41 oughta be feeling on top of the world these days. After just one album, they’ve already got legions of predictable imitators. Riddlin’ Kids and Not By Choice are just the latest to jump on the bandwagon. The former hail from the musical hotbed of Austin, Tex. The latter from Ajax, Ont., Sum 41’s home town. But they both share the same fashion sense — spiky hair, cheap T-shirts — and, more to the point, write the same sort of pop-punk-meets-metal anthems full of soaring harmonies, spunky rhythms and razor-sharp production. The one difference: Neither group shares Sum’s sophomoric sense of humour, preferring to fill their songs with the sort of earnest, lovelorn lyrics that would make Sum laugh their guts out. Aside from that one distinction, though, neither band adds up to more than the sum of its parts.