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Plain White T's: Big Bad World


Plain White T's

Album: Big Bad World
Label: Fearless/Hollywood

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Chicago's Plain White T's were happily cruising along as an indie pop-punk footnote until a stroke of dumb luck (and, admittedly, a really great hook) catapulted the band's "Hey There Delilah" onto pop charts and eventually into a 2008 Grammy nomination. It's been three years and one major-label deal since "Delilah" was actually recorded, though, and in spite of increasingly higher stakes, the T's haven't replicated the song's mainstream success. They have, however, scored some sub-mainstream victories via TV, where their work has been embraced as audio wallpaper by the teen/tween shows iCarly and Greek. With Big Bad World (which, mercifully, doesn't feature yet another re-release of "Delilah"), the band tries hard to hold onto that niche. Heck, there are moments here that aim even lower than iCarly demographically: The limp, jangly title track and the cloying "1, 2, 3, 4" in particular make the Naked Brothers Band sound like Morbid Angel. The T's music has never been particularly edgy, but at least with 2002's raggedy, Jimmy Eat World-inspired Stop—or even the tender, affecting "Delilah," for that matter—there was an attempt at substance. This time around, it's all saccharine pop and desperate ballads.