With Rooney, the Academy Is, and This Is Me
It's no shock that the All-American Rejects' Tyson Ritter (vocals, bass) and Nick Wheeler (guitar) first teamed up musically in their early high school years the Rejects' inoffensive pop-punk is perfect for the tween who can't handle the brutal assault of a Blink 182 album. But if pandering to the mall-rat masses is your business model, you might as well do it right, and these guys have their debut LP went platinum and made a name for then-unknown Doghouse Records in 2002, and their latest, Move Along, scored a major-label release on Interscope. Ripping a page from the yearbooks of the Ataris, the Starting Line and even late-model Bad Religion, the Rejects meld safety-scissors lyrics with the kind of catchy hooks you can't buy in a bait shop; the result is a sound that's as likable as it is overproduced. Think of AAR as the midnight snack of music it'll rot your teeth, it won't tide you over, and you hope no one sees you eat it, but it sure does taste good going down.