Album Review: Gym Class Heroes, 'The Papercut Chronicles II'


"The Papercut Chronicles II"
Producers: various
Fueled by Ramen
Release Date: Nov. 15

Given the success that frontman Travie McCoy had on his own last year with his pop-reggae smash "Billionaire," Gym Class Heroes might've been expected to pursue a similarly lightweight vibe on "The Papercut Chronicles II," the New York alt-rap combo's first album since 2008's "The Quilt." Yet following a computer-voice intro that links the new record to its 2005 namesake, the first track here is a thudding rap-rock blast called "Martyrial Girl$," in which McCoy yowls, Fred Durst-style, "I never felt so alone in a room full of people!" Indeed, much of the curiously aggressive "Chronicles" sounds designed to notify fair-weather McCoy fans of the MC's roots on the Vans Warped tour. Unfortunately, that's an exercise that seems more satisfying for him than for us. The band fares better in a handful of frothier cuts, including "Life Goes On," with Danish electro-pop singer Oh Land, and lead single "Stereo Hearts," featuring Maroon 5's Adam Levine. In those moments the Heroes remind that before "Billionaire" they had their own top 40 hit with "Cupid's Chokehold."

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