Nineteen years ago (can it be that long ago?) Sum 41 first graced us with their EP Half Hour of Power. Since then, they’ve released seven studio albums, with their early noughties albums like All Killer, No Filler; Does This Look Infected?; and Underclass Hero cementing a love of punk pop in many young rebels’ hearts.
In 2007, I fully embraced punk and I couldn’t get enough of Blink 182 and Sum 41. I even bought the physical CD of Underclass Hero with my pocket money and listened to it on repeat in my Walkman until it was so scratched up that it was impossible to listen to. So, when Marié recently told me that Sum 41 had released a new album called Order in Decline, I couldn’t wait to give it a listen. I’ll admit that I haven’t been keeping up to date with their latest music, or even listened to a full album of theirs since 2007, but I still love rocking out to punk!
I went into my first listen of this album expecting early noughties punk pop, but within the first few songs, I realised that I needed to check my expectations of this album. Sure, this is on me for not brushing up on their more recent work, but Sum 41 has a different vibe now! Order in Decline has more of a punk-tinged rock vibe with some metal influences, rather than straight-up punk.
The first single off of Order in Decline is Out For Blood, which boasts some lekker guitar riffs and a strong pounding bass drum throughout — perfect for your inner little rebel! The lyrical style with secondary vocals popping up left and right reminds me a bit of Fat Lip, one of Sum 41’s best-known songs from back in 2001. And it works — my favourite rocker bar still has Fat Lip on heavy rotation for a reason!
In true punk form, they added a politically charged song about Donald Trump in 45 (A Matter of Time) which is reminiscent of Underclass Hero’s anti-establishment message. I mean, true punk rock is rooted in anti-establishmentarianism and anarchy — just because the punks are older doesn’t mean they’ve grown up!
Never There, a song written for Deryck Whibley’s absent father, is reminiscent of Dear Father off of their Underclass Hero album. It has the same punk-ballad vibe and message to his father; except just a little bit more mature this time around.
Later on, in The People Vs... the opening riff is reminiscent of an old-school Bullet For My Valentine track, which morphs into a kind of Metallica tribute. It might sound a bit convoluted, but with Deryck Whibley’s signature voice and lyrical style, it works. I won’t go into detail about every song, but they definitely all have merit.
Is this Sum 41’s best album?
Saying any album is a band’s best album is a brave claim to make. Personally, Underclass Hero will always have a special place in my heart (and on my playlists) because that’s what I grew up with. Their 2004 album Chuck is often touted as their best album by fans and critics alike, and for some old-school punks, nothing will beat All Killer, No Filler. That said, Order in Decline is a strong album in its own right. It’s 36 straight minutes of punk-pop/metalcore/rock/whatever-the-fuck jams with some solid beats and riffs, as well as the telltale get-stuck-in-your-head tunes that Sum 41 are known for. All in all, I’ll definitely add a few of the new songs to my playlist.