A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this album is from the band behind the popular 2007 hit single "Hey There Delilah." Most of the songs are about various mistakes made in relationships, and although some of the allusions to sex are stronger here than in their previous album, Every Second Counts, overall the lyrics are age-appropriate for older tweens and up. Plus, none of the songs have hostile themes, and there's no strong language.
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What's the story?
BIG BAD WORLD is a definite throwback to the sounds of '50s and '60s rock and roll. There are a few ballads on the 10-track album (\"Rainy Day\" and \"Someday\"), but the rest of it is upbeat and peppy -- almost too much so.
A monster hit like 2007's \"Hey There Delilah\" is a hard act to follow, and on Big Bad World, the Plain White T's stay away from replicating too much of their earlier acoustic sound. Only one song, \"1, 2, 3, 4\" uses a similar formula -- and, just like its predecessor, its sweet lyrics are bound to make teenage girls' hearts swell.
Is it any good?
Avoiding the sound that skyrocketed the group to fame seems like a very conscious decision; it's almost as if the band is trying just a little too hard to bring listeners something completely different. As a result, the album feels unfocused, with over-mixing of genres and lyrics verging on saccharine, especially on tracks like "Meet Me in California."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how having a big hit single can affect a band further down the line. Do you think musicians have any obligation to their fans to produce more of the kind of work that made them popular? And how does a band's life change (for better or worse) once they're launched to almost-overnight star status? Families can also discuss the album's relationship themes. What are some of the common mistakes that people tend to make in relationships? Can they be avoided?