[19 July 2012]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Summertime Dropouts hail from Minneapolis. So, you may be thinking to yourself, here’s another band that combines the ferocity of punk with the emotional heft of straight-ahead rock just like other Minneapolis bands of yore a la Hüsker Dü and the Replacements. Well, sadly, no. Summertime Dropouts are a ponk (read: pop punk) band, in the same vein as Blink-182, which means that their sound is clearly derivative and, just like other ponk bands, has the habit of recycling the same power chords for each and every song. On the surface, Rewind is an album that could have been written by just about any other pop punk group: you’ve clearly heard this stuff done before. What does set Summertime Dropouts a bit apart from their peers a bit is that they tend to have a more positive and less pranksterish worldview (sample lyric: “I’m in love with a girl named Amie / She’s my Disney princess / Yeah, she drives me crazy”.)
While ponk is either a genre that you love or hate, and I tend to sit in the latter camp being a bit of a punk purist, Rewind does offer a few intriguing turns into left field that lets Summertime Dropouts rise above the pack. For one, the band reprises their song “1999” at the end of the album, and reimagines it as a piano ballad – a move that takes more than a few cojones. And Rewind is actually a product of the present, something that you either be enamoured by or wonder if this means that the disc will be incredibly dated in a few scant years’ time. For instance, first single “Full Time Cutie” boasts all sorts of pop cultural references to things such as Facebook, Brad Pitt and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Still, Rewind is a not bad album, and I would imagine that it is the sort of thing that would go down very well with today’s teenagers. Rewind clearly swings for the high school demographic, and for a band that sings about not being enamoured with popularity contests, their sound is one that’s bound to be a hit among ponk-loving youth looking for their own Blink. All in all, Rewind is passable, but you listen to it wishing that someone would slip these guys a cassette of Flip Your Wig or Let It Be to help them gain a little more perspective and a broader worldview.