The All-American Rejects, ‘Close Your Eyes’ | Track Review
The All-American Rejects return after a five-year hiatus with two new singles: “Sweat” and “Close Your Eyes.”
The All-American Rejects are back! The last time we heard from Tyson Ritter and company was in 2012 when they released their fourth studio album, Kids in the Street. Kids in the Street wasn’t a big hit, so, arguably, their last relevant album came in 2008 with When the World Comes Down. Regardless, the emo, punk-pop collective returns with two new singles: “Sweat” and “Close Your Eyes.”
The second single off of Sweat double single, “Close Your Eyes,” is a ballad. “Close Your Eyes” is definitely more forward-thinking. Listening to it, it eschews the emo and punk-pop sound. Guitars don’t propel this forward but rather synths. Compared to “Sweat,” this record feels more like a Tyson Ritter solo record – one where the roles of the rock band have been greatly diminished. This isn’t far-fetched – it’s kind of the new normal it seems. A perfect example is Maroon 5. Doesn’t it feel like an Adam Levine solo project now?
Even with the differences and a sense of assimilation to the times, there’s things to like and appreciate about “Close Your Eyes.” There’s a coolness here – the record never truly percolates. While that can be a blessing and a curse, the chill vibes are sort of intriguing. While it’s not a lyrical masterpiece per se, there’s a touch of emo thrown in:
“Now I’m staring at the ceiling wide awake / Man, shit gets real when you’re alone / There’s these voices in my head / There’s screaming words I should’ve said.”
The chorus runs a bit long, but the hummed melodic line following the lyrics that were sung is a nice touch. As far as production, it’s a pro, even if this sounds different from what you’d expected from this band in particular.
Ultimately, “Close Your Eyes” is a stark difference compared to “Sweat.” If “Sweat” has more traditional characteristics of the band, “Close Your Eyes” looks to the future. It represents the new guard – the pop-dominated, trendy sound rock has embraced. This won’t appeal to purists, but judged objectively, there’s definitely something here. It should be interesting to see what a new The All-American Rejects album will sound like.