Photo Credit: Acacia Evans
“All You Zombies” is a classic short work of science fiction by Robert A. Heinlein originally published in 1951 (yes, it’s also the title of a hit song from 1985 by the Hooters), and is a paradoxical story about a character who is both their own parent and their own child. On their tenth studio album, pop punkers New Found Glory present sort of the same multi-generational overlap. The Coral Springs, Florida band continues to rely on the same sound that they’ve been always been known for. Hence, Forever + Ever x Infinity (a title which itself could imply paradox) includes songs which seem to be from the perspective of both the adolescents that they once were, and the more mature people they’ve become.
Songs which represent the band’s younger side include “Greatest of All Time”, a tale of an unrequited crush from the perspective of a boy whose maturity level only allows him to compare his situation to something he can already relate to, in this case basketball: “We would make the best team // Better than the ’96 Bulls ever were // Jordan, Rodman and Pippen.” Love is associated with another laughably unrelated matter on “Scarier Than Jason Vorhees at a Campfire”, in which a fear of intimacy become so great that it can actually be equated to the serial killer in the Friday the 13th horror movie series: “Nothing more scary to me // Than falling in love again.”
By contrast, when New Found Glory act their age and not their sound, we get songs like the title-says-it-all “Do You Want to Settle Down?” which references, of all things, Frogger, a video arcade game from 1981 (which was already the subject of an entire Bad Religion song). “Forget about all the old songs they wished of your time,” they sing, “All the product on their heads been nothing to burn their minds.” In other words, the speaker here tries to offer romantic guidance based on his own experience. The lyrics of “The Way You Deserve” also seem to dole out advice for the lovelorn, with a straightforward but timeless message: “Why don’t you find someone who will love you the way you deserve?”
Musically, most of Forever + Ever x Infinity does present the same melodic punk which New Found Glory has always been known for. However, they do deviate somewhat on a number of key tracks. The strong opening cut “Shook by Your Shaved Head” is primarily a pop song but surprises the listener with a brief but compelling detour into minor keys. The break is almost metal-like, as is the album’s hardest-edge track, “Himalaya”, which even utilizes the hard rock tradition of using a physically gargantuan entity (in this case a mountain range in Asia) as a metaphor.
Several songs stand out musically in other ways. “More and More” is a slower and more mature love song with another lyrical theme (“I’ll keep loving you more and more // Every day a little more than the day before”) that’s been used countless times, but here NFG makes it work, and the emotion which the song clearly means to convey never comes off as forced or insincere. The sheer volume of time suggested by the title Forever + Ever x Infinity may be just a bit optimistic, but the album is definitely a fun and entertaining way to spend forty-eight minutes and four seconds.