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Simple Plan
NO PADS, NO HELMETS . . . JUST BALLS
(ATLANTIC)

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Montreal teen-punk upstarts Simple Plan have been on the road nonstop since last March, when they released this colorful debut album. Now their hard work is paying off: TRL and Top 40 radio are going nuts for the discís second single, "Iíd Do Anything," a propulsive expression of heartache sung in wistful three-part harmony. "Will you remember me?/Cause I know I wonít forget you," coos frontman Pierre Bouvier, and Blink-182 singer Mark Hoppus stops by to add "Na na na" to the bridge.

Hoppusís influence weighs heavily on the rest of the album, which reconciles Blinkís after-school-special angst with Canadian alterna-rock vet Arnold Lanniís radio-friendly production smarts. Good Charlotteís Joel Madden sings back-up on the pounding anti-authority anthem "You Donít Mean Anything," but in the end Simple Plan favor pop over punk. "Iím Just a Kid" is a guitar-heavy ballad about not having any friends; "Meet You There" is a lovelorn prom theme with a police siren of a guitar solo and a somber piano break. With such tunes and chops, these guys deserve their spot at the top of the corporate-punk heap.

BY SEAN RICHARDSON

Issue Date: January 16 - 23, 2003
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