Since Simple Plan’s new album Still Not Getting Any… showed up in stores last week a single question has been plaguing the collective hearts and sad poetry of teenage girls across the country: what exactly isn’t this Montreal-based, pop-punk five-piece getting? Respect? Rock credibility? Happiness? Special friends of the vaginal persuasion? It’s hard to tell since you’d think they’d be on cloud nine after their debut album was certified platinum and shot them into the realm of disenchanted youth superstars.
Well, it’s no secret that the band’s unrelenting flow of bouncing, pop melodies, which include just enough angst to pass as punk, have been the punchline to many music critics’ jokes. Maybe the disc’s title is commenting on that.
“It’s exciting to be a band that creates passion,” explains Simple Plan guitarist Jeff Stinco over lunch in Edmonton. “I’d rather be a band that people love or that people fuckin’ hate than one that people don’t care about or pay attention to. In that way, we embrace the criticism, because even if critics bash it, there are still people at our shows having a good time, so we’re happy.”
Alright, so they don’t care much about being critical darlings – I guess their appearance in the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen film New York Minute should have given that away – so maybe it has more to do with their personal happiness. While Still Not Getting Any… is as unrelentingly catchy as ever, the lyrics woven into the band’s wall of hooky sound are actually quite dark.
“We get letters from people all the time saying ‘I cut myself every day and I wanted to kill myself, but you guys helped me get through it,’ so all those stories got mixed in with our own takes on life,” Stinco reveals. “That’s where those songs came from.
“As a person, you’re not just one thing,” he adds. “We’re fun, happy people most of the time, but we’re not just one-dimensional and there’s shit that gets to us. But, I mean, we’re not depressed, fucked up and in therapy every day.”
OK, well that only leaves one option: Simple Plan must not be getting any of those groupies that rock ‘n’ roll legend has promised them. It wouldn’t be surprising considering the perpetual touring they did in support of their first album and their opening slot for fellow Canuck Avril Lavigne’s European tour to promote the new one. So they must be hoping this album makes genuine sex symbols of them all, right?
“We don’t get wrapped up in our image, even though people typecast us as only being about good looks,” explains drummer Chuck Comeau, thwarting the final theory in a single breath. “On the inside of the CD there’s a group of pictures depicting us as we age; it’s poking fun at the idea that a rock band has to have an image and look cool. It’s just saying we don’t take ourselves too seriously because there’s nothing less cool than being 95 years old.”
All right, well, it looks like the meaning of the album title will have to remain a mystery – at least for now. May you rest uneasy, with this profound, mind-blowing, stomach-punching question haunting you every time you scribble their names in little hearts on your binder.