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Although it’s not a huge step away from their previous material, Hoobastank’s new album “Fornever” explores some unique territory. The band does lots of things that lots of different bands have done before, intentional or not, to build something that has their own stamp on it. You can hear 311 as a style on songs like “The Letter.” You can hear some Oleander on “Tears of Yesterday.” And most notably you can hear a lot of Incubus throughout this record with the style of the guitars. The Oleander occurs once or twice, 311 occasionally, and Incubus throughout. Still, that Hoobastank sound where Doug Robb carries a song from start to finish is here. This is a step away from their previous material, but it’s also a return to it because the edge is back into their sound. This is the hardest album that the band has released since their debut with songs like “My Turn” leading the way. Those are the key components of this record, but what’s really odd about it; Doug Robb’s voice sounds drastically different. Whether that’s just a natural aging of his voice or something that they did intentionally for this record, it’s coarser than it was before. On the harder songs it works great, but on the songs where things are slowing down it’s hard to get used to. The other thing to note with this record- the lyrics are bad in spots. Really bad in spots, especially towards the end of the album- “You’re the One” has terrible lyrics but the melody saves the song. “Who the Hell I Am”- again terrible lyrics, but the melody isn’t strong enough to save the song. Still, “Fornever” has a lot of worth to it, and even though the lyrics are off in a couple of spots, that hardly makes this record worth avoiding. It’s a good record and the band definitely gets bonus points for really going outside of themselves but at the same time- staying true to what they do best. 9 of these 11 songs are good songs, 4 are great, and the 2 that aren’t great but still have some good qualities to them. It might not be the best Hoobastank album, but it’s definitely the most interesting.


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