Way back in the mid-2000s, I (as well as a lot of other staff members) were facing day-to-day challenges caused by society’s unofficial Hunger Games battleground – middle school. Like many others who absolutely hated that time period, I turned to music and Simple Plan was there with Still Not Getting Any… (AKA story of my life in album form). As if it was a sign from the universe, this album opened up my ears to a world filled with music with lyrics that actually mean something. But we’re not here to talk about me, we’re here to talk about the beauty of how one album can delve into so many reoccurring topics in way that doesn’t feel like they’re trying too hard to prove that they have ‘grown up’ after their debut album.
I will never be able to get over the sheer perfection of the songs on Still Not Getting Any... Each was filled with the appropriate amount of mature angst and (now) classic pop-punk elements; not one track felt out of place or brought the album down. Its first single “Welcome to My Life” reassures the listener, whatever age they are, that no matter how “hurt”, “lost”, “left out in the dark”, “pushed around” or “on the edge of breaking down” you feel there is always someone who is going through the same struggles (which continues in later track “One”).
Of course they have their bittersweet love songs (“Everytime” and “Promise”), but the subject matter of betrayal (“Thank You” and “Perfect World”) artfully built up that resentful, aggravated side of the band that they touched base on in their debut album No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls and would later be incorporated in the following albums. They take it a step further in the pseudo-propogandic “Crazy”, in which they criticize what society deems acceptable and not acceptable through the eyes of a non-conformist.
Songs like “Jump”, “Me Against the World”, and especially starting track “Shut Up!” contain the theme of believing in oneself and not letting anyone get in the way of your dreams, while ending track “Untitled (How Could This Happen To Me)” portrays the part of every person that harbors insecurities and fear of failure. It’s not surprising that they chose to focus on that subject matter because that’s how the album’s title came to be, in which they felt that they just weren’t catching a break in the reviews department. Ironically, Still Not Getting Any… continues to be Simple Plan’s most successful album to date and truly embodies the main themes.
Still Not Getting Any… is forever going to hold a special place in my heart because it shows that no matter how well-known or popular you are, there will always be the underlying insecurities, fear of loneliness and straight up believing that you just don’t fit in anywhere. I’m pretty confident that I’m not the only one who gravitated to this album during their awkward middle school days, and its subjects very much resonate with today’s society just as much as it did back in 2004. Looking back at this album is a reminder that music can very much help through different levels of less-than-ideal situations whatever age you are. Long live Still Not Getting Any… and “Welcome to My Life.”