Band takes chances

By: Kristin Helf, Columnist 

The Baltimore pop/rock ensemble, The Chance, comprised entirely of Towson University students, just released their debut album on Oct. 30 — a pretty spooky release date for an album that might as well be Goth rock’s antidote.

The album, “Anything but Ordinary,” is sanguine and pleasantly pop. Upbeat numbers like “Knock Me Down” and “West Coast Ghost” are perfect to blast out of your earbuds while you’re running at the gym or while primping for a party later in the night.

The lyrics don’t demand to be read into, or to be taken past their surface value—you can simply put on this music and chill. Sometimes this is exactly what we need, especially as we’re making our way into December and preparing for an avalanche of finals and ten-page essays. We’re college students, we have enough on our minds.

If you’re okay with heteronormative love songs, and can ignore the lyrics that borderline objectifying women—I’m not being sarcastic—then you can definitely get drunk and dance to this.

The Chance is still playing relatively small Baltimorean clubs, which is a definite plus for the fans they’ll gain in the wake of “Anything but Ordinary.”

The album is well-produced, and comparable to the big-name bands that have influenced them—All Time Low, the Maine, those sorts of groups.

Immediately when I put on “West Coast Ghost,” I thought of Bowling for Soup’s song “Trucker Hat.” My friend, who listened to the album with me, assures me that the fourth track “Girl in Black” is unquestionably Bon Jovi-influenced.

I just can’t help but feel a sense of irony every time I write out the album title. As far as mainstream pop-punk goes, “Anything but Ordinary” is the epitome of what’s to be expected from three young guys who enjoy pop-punk, scoping out hot chicks, and “wanna be a rockstar / wanna shake up the world,” as stated in “Hometown Girls.”

This is not art rock. It was not created for the sake of the art. If it were, it wouldn’t be so afraid to experiment (maybe take a Chance?). The Chance seems to desire the prospects of rock stardom (money, fame), but at the same time, they don’t want to try out anything innovative or new.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with listening to pop-punk, and no band is required to risk their career with experimentation in order to be fresh and good. Still, “Anything but Ordinary” leaves a lot to be desired.

I can see them drawing a large audience of young girls whose iPods are loaded with the discography of 5 Seconds of Summer. In order to gain a following any more mature than that, they’d have to lose the high-pitched hopeless romantic crooning and write some lyrics that go beyond the realm of middle school.

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