Remember last year, when Travie McCoy broke off from his friends in Gym Class Heroes to release his first solo album Lazarus? If you don’t, then you must remember his first single “Billionaire (feat. Bruno Mars)” at least. That song became a theme for 2010, as almost every sort of radio station just put that song on loop. With an incredible catchy hook (“I wanna be a billionaire, so f#$%!*& bad”) and an incredible summer feel, I thought that this would be the last stake in the heart of Gym Class Heroes, as Travie would just go and do his own thing.
Obviously, since you are reading this review, I am wrong. GCH has returned to deliver yet another album that mixes in rock afterthoughts and hip-hop rhymes and feels. But will The Papercut Chronicles II outshine Travie’s recent solo stint?
The first single, and “Stereo Hearts (feat. Adam Levine)” is strictly made for the pop charts. With Maroon 5’s Adam Levine taking the choruses over, and Travie rhyming in a way that “Billionaire” did last year, it is destined to be one of the biggest songs of 2011. “Life Goes On (feat. Oh, Land)” is a very nice ballad, with a beautiful chorus sung by the Danish songstress (side note: I could’ve seen this song towards the end of the album instead of third. Just a thought). “Ass Back Home (feat. Neon Hitch)” is mixed with the pop from most of the other songs, mixed with a bit of reggae in this pop concoction. The track that surprised me was “Holy Horses#!t, Batman!” The song is a story about religion, and how Travie is trying to avoid it. Also, I believe the lead singer of fun. and label-mate Nate Ruess does the chorus for it, and that’s a big plus.
However, this might say that this is Gym Class Heroes, but it’s an all Travie show. Guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo has his moments (“Martyrial Girl$”), but other than that, they really don’t shine as much as anything that Travie or the many artists featured on the album.
The hits that I listed above are great, but the majority of the album does not fall anywhere close to it. The worst of which is their eight-minute closer “Kid Nothing and the Never-Ending Naked Nightmare.” The song is a bombastic, loud mess of a track, which only has music for four minutes of it. The rest is filled with nothing for about three minutes, then the robotic voice from the beginning of the album comes back to make really dumb comments (for example: “Hey, have you ever wondered if a seahorse would win a game against an invisible lizard?”). One of my biggest pet peeves are those long pauses to end an album. It only gets worse when you fill it in with something that is THIS useless.
Overall, the album is just another entry to the catalog of Gym Class Heroes. It’s good (for the most part), but repetative. Each track sounds like it can make its way to any of their previous records. And as sad as this last statement is, if it wasn’t packaged as Gym Class Heroes, I would’ve thought it was all Travie McCoy. That’s pretty funny, as the album is basically his anyways.
Final Grade: C+
Go Download: “Holy Horses#!t, Batman!”
Here’s their first single, “Stereo Hearts (feat. Adam Levine)