Chuck (Sum 41 album)
|Studio album by Sum 41|
|Released||October 12, 2004|
|Recorded||Spring 2003 – Summer 2004|
|Studio||Sound City, Vans Nuys, CA; Ocean Studios, Burbank, CA; Reaction Studios, Toronto, ON; Umbrella Sound Studios, Toronto, ON; Soundtrack Studios, New York, NY; Sidecar Studio, North Hollywood, CA|
|Label||Aquarius, Island, Mercury|
|Sum 41 chronology|
|Singles from Chuck|
Chuck is the third studio album by Canadian rock band Sum 41. The album was released on October 12, 2004. It is the band's last album to feature lead guitarist Dave Baksh until his return in 2015. Chuck peaked at No. 2 on the Canadian Albums Chart and No. 10 on the US Billboard 200, making it the band's highest-charting album until it would be surpassed by Underclass Hero in 2007.
The album's lyrical content has been described as darker and more mature than the band's previous work, with subjects on politics being driven by the band's experience in the Congo while shooting a documentary film.
The album had a slightly different sound from the band's previous work, mixing in their punk rock influence with heavy metal and adult alternative. The album proved to be a success, receiving acclaim from both critics and fans, as well as selling over 5 million copies. Singles such as "We're All To Blame" and "Pieces" gained success on the Canadian and American charts, and the album won a Juno Award for "Rock Album of the Year" in 2005.
- 1 Background
- 2 Recording
- 3 Composition
- 4 Commercial performance
- 5 Critical reception
- 6 Track listing
- 7 Personnel
- 8 Charts and certifications
- 9 Awards
- 10 Chuck Acoustic EP (Tour Edition Promo)
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The band's previous album Does This Look Infected became a commercial and critical success, and the band went on a tour in the album's support. In mid-2004, the band took a break from touring and filmed a documentary for War Child Canada in the Congo. The film was called Rocked: Sum 41 in Congo and was released in 2005 by MTV. However, fighting broke out during the filming while the band were staying in a hotel.
"The shooting was all around us, and all these people were waiting, probably to die" said drummer Steve Jocz, reflecting on the experience. "Two UN people arrived at the scene and gave a speech about how everything would be fine" bassist Jason McCaslin mentioned "And then after they left, things just went crazy".
Deryck mentioned that he thought that a day after the UN gave an update about safety, he was expecting they would be able to evacuate. The next day, the band members woke up at 5:00 in the morning when two gunshots were fired. "We went to the hotel's restaurant to get some breakfast, when the gunfire just got closer to us" said Baksh. A U.N. peacekeeper named Charles "Chuck" Pelletier instructed the residents of the hotel to leave the restaurant (Chuck was staying in the same hotel during that time). Deryck mentioned "We all just went into McCaslin's room, where there was around 43 other people there. We were all hiding in the bathroom and hiding on the floor". Dave said "Our U.N. peacekeeper was armed with a club, a new club because the price tag was still on it, but they were armed with guns".
After the crowd was hiding, Chuck left to get help. "Chuck kept coming in and telling us it would be fine." The U.N. kept trying to find out as much information on the gunfire as they could, but weren't able to get enough news. "After a while, the gunfire seemed to start dying down, and then people started to go outside and they started talking. We seemed to be feeling pretty good, but then out of nowhere, the huge gunfire just went off" Deryck said. "This war was so unpredictable. At one point, it sounded like it was far away, and at another point, it sounded like it was right outside the door. Then Chuck came in and told everyone to wait for the APC's to arrive. "That was probably the scariest part, when we were waiting to get into the APC's." Dave said "I remember just waiting there and just wondering what the fuck was gonna happen".
Chuck called for armored carriers to take the hotel's occupants out of the hot zone. "By then, I just kept thinking about everything we did as a band and everything I've done as a person, and I thought 'this is it. This is how we're gonna die'" Deryck said. After nearly six hours, the carriers arrived, and the band and the forty other civilians were taken to safety. In honor of Pelletier, the band decided to name their next album after him.
When the band arrived back, the band members found themselves very depressed after what happened in the Congo. By spring of 2003, the band members went back to start practising parts for a new album on their own before going into a studio. "The music's better, the songwriting's better, and there's more musical elements in this album" Jocz said. "We put more elements in this time around, and it feels like the next logical step in what we want our band to sound like".
"We never wanted to make the same album over and over again. We've decided we wanted to do something different every time" Jason McCaslin said. "We started practicing on our own, and then we just put all of our parts together". The album was also mentioned to having a lot of heavy metal influences on it, with Metallica and Iron Maiden being main inspirations for the album's style. "Dave was raised on a lot of heavy metal and grunge" said McCaslin. "Deryck and I were raised more on California punk rock music" said Steve. "When we started the band, we were mainly inspired by bands such as NOFX and Pennywise, but when you get older, your brain starts branching off and you start listening to other music."
The recording for the album went from spring 2003 to summer of 2004, and was released on October 12, 2004.
Music and style
Chuck has been described as pop punk, alternative metal, melodic hardcore, thrash metaland punk rock. Dave Simpson at The Guardian stated "The spiky quartet furnish their usual shouty vocals with grinding riffola and twiddly guitar solos, just as the rest of the post-Linkin Park world are realizing nu metal wasn't such a good idea." Although described as pop punk, Sum 41 abandoned the pop punk style with this album, according to Andrew Blackie of PopMatters.
The album's lyrics have been described as being darker and more mature. Several songs focus on darker subject matters. Most of the lyrics on the album focus on politics and are influenced by the band's experience at the Congo. The album also focuses on other themes such as death ("The Bitter End"), depression ("Slipping Away"), anarchy in the world ("I'm Not The One"), and drug addiction ("Angels With Dirty Faces"). The band has mentioned that "We're All To Blame" is about the "state of the world due to war, people dying, people living in fear, and the power of corporations, amongst other concerns." The band said "Pieces" "is about a relationship, but not necessarily one with a girl. Maybe you're better left alone — fuck everybody else".
Chuck was a commercial success, selling over 5,000,000 copies worldwide. The album won a Juno Award in 2005 for Best Rock Album of the Year. The album was certified gold in Japan, double platinum in Canada and gold in the United States.
Chuck received positive reviews, with Metacritic giving the album an aggregated score of 64 out of 100 based on 11 reviews. Allmusic gave the album a positive review, saying "Chuck is a concise album that clocks in at just over a half-hour, with a basic understanding that fast and loud is what the band does best." Entertainment Weekly said that "It may sound heinous on paper, but trust us, the first single, "We're All To Blame," is far better than it has a right to be." E! Online said that "But whether they're being snotty or serious, there is a constant thread at work: those catchy melodies." Music OMH said that Chuck "isn’t perfect" but also added that "Sum 41 have certainly added a heck of a lot more colour to their previously, partially monochrome musical output." Lane Devis of 411mania.com compared the album to Blink-182's 2003 self-titled album, Green Day's American Idiot, and Good Charlotte's The Chronicles of Life and Death, saying "The lyrics are serious in this album are far cries from the immature lyrics and antics that have become almost trademark for Sum 41." Common sense media gave it four stars out of five, saying "Rugged intensity makes up for the diminished playfulness. Lyrics are clean but somber. You don't like your life, politics, or the world we live in? You might not be able to do much about it, but perhaps -- following the example of Sum 41 -- you can write some interesting, lyrical songs about the stuff that drives you crazy", and also called it "socially conscious punk rock".
Decoy Music said "for the most part, it's obvious the band has grown up. There are some slower songs and some acoustic guitars and some ballads and all that good stuff. But the band still rocks hard 95% of the time and the fact they've gotten heavier actually accentuates their poppyness better than the punk aspect. The songs are still fast and guitar-driven, the drums are still extremely random and manic and awesome—all in all, this is still a Sum 41 record. But it's just a better one." Stuart Green of exclaim.ca said "Musically the band has never sounded more determined or cohesive (the notable exceptions being the Oasis sound-alike "Some Say” and the power mellower "Slipping Away and Pieces”). Lyrically the album also advances the case for these guys as strong songwriters." Diamond in the Rock said "Although some hail Chuck as a complete departure from the band's enjoyable punk style, this album adds diversity to Sum 41's discography as the hardcore rock vibes lend to an engaging, albeit satisfactorily brief, sound." However, not all reviews were positive. Punknews.org was somewhat disappointed with the album, saying "No one can deny the band's musical talent, and the more serious lyrical themes are a definite improvement, but the lack of consistency kills this album. The highlight of Sum 41's discography is going to come when they fully embrace their metal influences and make a straight-up metal album, and sadly Chuck misses the mark", but also added "If you are still under the impression that Sum 41 is a joke band or a Beastie Boys-wannabe, give some of these songs a try, and you may be pleasantly surprised."
All tracks written by Sum 41, lyrics by Deryck Whibley.
|3.||"We're All to Blame"||3:38|
|4.||"Angels with Dirty Faces"||2:23|
|6.||"The Bitter End"||2:51|
|7.||"Open Your Eyes"||2:44|
|9.||"I'm Not the One"||3:34|
|10.||"Welcome to Hell"||1:56|
|12.||"There's No Solution"||3:18|
|International edition bonus track|
|Japanese edition bonus tracks|
|16.||"Subject to Change"||3:17|
|European iTunes edition bonus track|
|14.||"Get Back (Rock Remix)" (with Ludacris)||4:13|
Charts and certifications
|2005||Chuck||Rock Album of the Year||Won|
Chuck Acoustic EP (Tour Edition Promo)
|Chuck Acoustic EP (Tour Edition Promo)|
|EP by Sum 41|
|Released||February 22, 2005|
|Genre||Acoustic rock, alternative rock|
|Producer||Greig Nori, Deryck Whibley|
|Sum 41 chronology|
The EP features only five songs, all of which are all-new acoustic versions to previously released songs. "Pieces", "Some Say" and "There's No Solution" are featured on the album Chuck while, "Over My Head (Better Off Dead)" and "No Brains" are from the previous album Does This Look Infected?.
- "Pieces" (Acoustic) – 3:16
- "No Brains" (Acoustic) – 3:03
- "Over My Head (Better Off Dead)" (Acoustic) – 2:44
- "Some Say" (Acoustic) – 3:42
- "There's No Solution" (Acoustic) – 3:26
- "All Messed Up: A Look Back At Sum 41's 'Does This Look Infected?' - The Carouser". The Carouser. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
- "That's Rocking Awesome - Melodic Hardcore".
- "Toilet of Hell - Chuck".
- Dave Simpson. "CD: Sum 41, Chuck". the Guardian. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
- Andrew Blackie (August 21, 2007). "Sum 41: Underclass Hero". PopMatters.
- "Gold & Platinum Certification - October 2005". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 2010-11-22. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
- "RIAA Database Search for Sum 41" Archived June 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on February 4, 2009.
- "Chuck Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- Chuck at AllMusic
- Endelman, Michael (2004-10-04). "Chuck Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- "Chuck - IGN". Music.ign.com. 2004-10-20. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
- Halperin, Shirley (2004-10-28). "Chuck : Sum 41 : Review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2005-03-21. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- Christgau, Robert (2005-02-08). "Consumer Guide: Harmonies and Abysses". Village Voice.
- "Gold Certification". Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 2011-06-30.