on March 9, 2011
I was a huge fan of Over It a few years back. Their sound was a little more mainstream rock and less pop, and their music was exceptional and unique with Peter Munters on vocals and the rest of the band rocking out to back his very distinct voice. Then, with the addition of guitarist/vocalist Ryan Ogren, the band later reinvented themselves as the pop-punk phenomenon, Runner Runner, with Ogren as the lead vocalist.
My main complaint with Runner Runner is that they sound like every other solid pop-punk band out there, whereas Over It was much more recognizable in their sound. That aside, as far as solidity goes for a pop-punk band, they are a surprisingly unknown diamond among other gems. There is not a single track on this album that beckons the listener to skip it. Some songs have been a bit over-produced and auto-tuned, but in a way you can't help but move to. For the genre, they are top notch.
In their self-titled album, you'll see some reworked versions of a few songs from their 2008 EP, Your Greatest Hits, and also some catchy new tracks.
Here's a breakdown of the songs:
"So Obvious" 10/10 - This song gets a revamp from the version on their 2008 EP. Originally, I didn't like it as much as the 2008 version because it clearly sounds more 'produced' than its predecessor. After hearing it about 20 more times (you can't listen enough - it's that catchy), I'm putting it on the same level as the former version. Although it's not as raw (the original was not at all raw, but it was closer than this version), subtleties have been added that give the track a fuller sound, and little added effects play off the lyrics and instruments well (e.g., the soft sound of a heartbeat during the breakdown and at the end of the song).
"Unstoppable" 9.5/10 - Though not on the 2008 EP, this song was released once before as a single. It has a very powerpop-like sound to it and you'll find yourself singing along after a few listens. But, like the first track, it has been in the editing room longer since its previous release, so it sounds a bit more auto-tuned than the previous version. I think I prefer the previous version, but that doesn't change the fact that this song is worth a listen every time it hits the speakers.
"Papercuts" 9.5/10 - This is the first time on the album you hear things slow down a bit, but in such a good way. It's also the first time we get a taste of a song that hasn't had a previous release. It's a little closer to mainstream softer rock, and some may find it a little cheesy, but it doesn't fail to have the catchy hooks and riffs that Runner Runner seems to pull off in every song, and like the others, you'll listen to it every go-around.
"Heart Attack" 9/10 - Another track that I hadn't heard before this album, and it's a fun ride to listen to this one. You won't find anything more than a simple, fun and catchy tune here. I get kind a bit of a Cobra Starship vibe from it. No element of this song particularly stands out, which is why it gets the lowest rating of the bunch (and at a 9/10, that says something about this album), but it still makes you want to move.
"Hey Alli" 10/10 - This song is one of Runner Runner's more popular previous releases, and rightfully so. Like the others, it gets an update. My feelings toward it are pretty much the same as for "So Obvious." You'll get excited every time it comes on.
"Life After You" 9.5/10 - This new song reminds me a bit of Good Charlotte circa 2004/2005, which triggers a bit of nostalgia and I can't help but love it. It's a bit slower, but it's not slow. Again, catchy, catchy.
"Falling" 10/10 - The perfect song to follow "Life After You," "Falling" keeps a similar pace and style, and doesn't have the same amount of pop to it as the previous songs. I've actually found myself playing this one a couple of times before moving on to the next song. It's one of those songs that grips your emotions versus making you want to dance and sing along. It's a very solid track.
"She's My Kinda Girl" 9.5/10 - This song feels similar to the music of Metro Station to me, and it'll take you out of your emotions and back into bop-and-sing-along mode as it picks the pace back up.
"Dedicate" 9.5/10 - It was when I heard this revamped version of another song from the EP that I realized although the newer versions are more compressed and produced sounding (which makes it seem like there's less "heart" to the song), Runner Runner is consistent in their sound for this album. For this one, I like the former version slightly better and I'm sticking to that, but you're still sure to love this track.
"I Can't Wait" 9.5/10 - This stripped down track is just beautiful. It's mostly acoustic guitar, piano, and strings backing the vocals. This is a slow and heart-filled song, that is fitting as the album starts to come to a close.
"See You Around" 10/10 - Another re-working of a 2008 EP song, and this one I prefer to the former. It's has emotion and heart with elements of a power ballad. I feel like it's something we'd see on a CW show or popular film that aims to audiences in their late teens/early 20s.
"Running Away" 9.5/10 - A strong finish to a great album. This one takes the emotions that have built up over the last two songs and amplifies them with powerful guitar riffs and a pacey beat, just before abruptly ending with a few lines, which instantly makes you want more. Therefore, you end up back at track 1 to enjoy the ride again.
Overall, this album has elements from some of the bigger names in mainstream rock, punk, pop-punk, and powerpop. You'll go from rocking out while dancing like a fool and singing along, to sitting back and enjoying the emotional roller coaster that Runner Runner lays forth in this very varied-sounding, yet nicely packaged album.
While I'm still waiting for another rocking release from Over It, to hear some more of what Peter Munters has to offer as a vocalist with the rest of the gang cranking out some mainstream rock, I'm happy to tune in to Runner Runner, a band I hold just as high in regard, because, well, they are the same band.
There is a reason Runner Runner's self-titled album gets 5/5 stars on every review so far, so why haven't you checked them out yet?