Ask yourself: Do you follow Pete Wentz’s Twitter feed? If the answer is “YES TOTES LOLZ!!1!”, read on; otherwise, carry on with your day. That the Ready Set, which is 20-year-old Indianan Jordan Witzigreuter, calls Decaydence, the label founded by Wentz, the erstwhile bassist for pop punks Fall Out Boy, home comes as no surprise about ten seconds into I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming. Indeed, the album goes exactly where you expect it to: bratty mall punk with emotions turned to teenage high-cliché (“My world has become a whirlwind”; “If you’re falling down I will catch you”), couched in hip-hop beats and the occasional why-the-hell-not AutoTuned verse. At his most frantic, on tracks like “More Than Alive” and “Spinnin’”, Witzigreuter feels like emo’s answer to Andrew W.K. Minus, of course, AWK’s labyrinths of irony and identity. I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming is the Ready Set’s third album, and the first joint venture between Decaydence and the venerable Sire Records. It comes across as everything, all the time, in the service of F-U-N, ‘tween rock. However, when Witzigreuter dials it down, like he does on the piano pop of “Melody’s Song”, the Ready Set could be solid late-period—albeit second-tier—power pop, à la Something Corporate or Rooney. Which is the better fate?
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// Notes from the Road
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