Fans of Massachusetts, power-punkers Four Year Strong are torn – delighted that the band is returning with Explains It All, their follow up to 2007's Rise Or Die Trying, and confused with the concept behind the album; a 90's cover record, paying tribute to their influences. Isn't it ironic?
Taking samples from such a stylistically diverse palette of artists, ranging from Nirvana, to Alanis Morissette, to The Smashing Pumkins, is no easy task. Recapturing the glory of the original versions is vital, but so is infusing something different. After all, we've all heard the original version.
Ten minutes into Explains It All, the album's dynamics are clear. Four Year Strong select a song, add their signiture speedy vocals, integrate guitar-driven, swift, strenuous instrumentals, and a song blooms. (Interesting fact: nine out of the eleven songs are shorter than the original versions)
A large portion of Explains It All sees Four Year Strong firmly in their comfort zone, covering originally rock/punk songs, with "In Bloom" and "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" acting as impressive examples. This ardor for comfort is swayed with "Ironic"; originally a pop song sung by Alanis Morissette. The cover features a pleasant diversification from the sugary atmosphere of the original, but maintains the sentiment the possessed by the original. Further oddity is reached with "Fly" – a playful song, alike the original, but with added vocals from Travis McCoy of fellow Decaydance rappers Gym Class Heroes.
Overall, Explains It All is an impressive album. It exhibits Four Year Strong's versatility and shows character, as they add to each song, rather than just recording a cover identical to the original version. While some fans would surely prefer a conventional album of new material, Four Year Strong have delivered a fun album, using a different idea. Long live the 90's!
2. Absolutely (Story of a Girl) (Nine Days Cover)
3. Ironic (Alanis Morisette Cover)
4. Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Smashing Pumpkins Cover)
5. Semi-Charmed Life (Third Eye Blind Cover)
6. Spiderwebs (No Doubt Cover)
7. Roll to Me (Del Amitri Cover)
8. Fly (Sugar Ray Cover)
9. In Bloom (Nirvana Cover)
10. She Really Loved You (Reach The Sky Cover)
11. She's So High (Tal Bachmann Cover)
Four Year Strong is an American rock band from Worcester, Massachusetts, formed in 2001. The group consists of vocalists and guitarists Dan O'Connor and Alan Day, bassist Joe Weiss, keyboardist and back-up vocalist Josh Lyford and drummer Jackson Massucco. They have released four studio albums with the latest, Enemy of the World, released on March 9, 2010.
 Rise or Die Trying, Explains It All and Enemy of the World (2006–2010)