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Sum 41, ‘Underclass Hero’ (Island)

It’s always been tempting to define Sum 41 by what they’re not — not pointed and ambitious like Green Day, nor goofy and irreverent like Blink-182 — but their fifth album makes such judgments feel like needless bellyaching. On Underclass Hero, the group continues to grow out of the snotty insouciance of its younger years and builds on the earnest political engagement of 2004’s Chuck. The result is a bigger, slicker record laced with potent American Idiot-style Bush-bashing (“The Jester”), a handful of emo-heavy relationship ballads, and very few surprises.

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Tags: Albums