All-American Rejects commemorate debut album with 20th anniversary vinyl

All-American Rejects commemorate debut album with 20th anniversary vinyl

I remember 2002 a lot more than I did other years; perhaps it was the brain cells I still retained before the high school partying started. It was a year of many bands cycling through the charts… Ja Rule was there, easy-listening indie rock was in its infancy, Eminem was every other song on the radio, and a seemingly unheard of band blew up overnight with a debut album that — to this day — is a masterpiece.

Keep in mind that the music industry didn’t have streaming back then. Only peer-to-peer pirating via Kazaa once Napster died… and it wasn’t too reliable.

No, back in 2002, you had to actually go out and BUY physical copies of the music you love. And I took those said CDs all over town with my Walkman — one of which was the all-orange All-American Rejects debut. I remember, to my horror, that particular CD spilling out of my locker in freshman year and me shoving people throughout the hallway to clear its path as it rolled. A punk kid looked over, with black hair, snakebite piercings, and total disdain, and asked me if I actually listen to that. I replied curtly, “yeah, I do. You should, too.”

After 20 years, I know I spoke correctly.

All-American Rejects’ breakthrough self-titled album came out while the band members were just kids themselves, singing about teenage problems against upbeat melodies in a time when pop rock was exploding. Turning away from the ‘Good Charlottes’ of the day, AAR instead focused on sweet sorrow, fun hooks, and full transparency; they brought authenticity to a genre trying to poke fun at (but overtly emulate) “lifestyles of the rich and the famous”. AAR was (and still is) the real deal.

Seriously, the members haven’t changed. Frontman Tyson Ritter comments, “As much as we might have going on in our lives, the one thing that we can all agree on with The All-American Rejects is that we’re never gonna stop doing this.” Authenticity, check. Loyalty, check.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of such a career-launching album, The All-American Rejects have reissued it on vinyl via UMe last month on August 25th. I had to get me one of these bad boys. It’s remarkable the sound difference to songs when played on vinyl — even if it was a digital remaster of what was originally released digitally (aka, on compact disc). “Swing, Swing” sounds sweeter; “My Paper Heart” has even more nostalgia. The grooves harness the power of yesteryear so consumingly, it’s almost as if I was back in my high school, headphones up, playing the album from start to finish.

The vinyl release is made all the more special printed on green ‘ghostly’ vinyl, giving it a wavy, almost psychedelic look.

The album artwork remains the same as before (with band members looking so young in the photographs!!), with one little Easter egg — an additional 7″ tucked into the front sleeve! The coke-bottle clear 45 features an acoustic version of “The Cigarette Song”, as well as the demo version of “Don’t Leave Me”. I couldn’t believe it when I found it (since it blends into the artwork seamlessly); I immediately grabbed my 45 converter and threw it on!

The special edition 140g color vinyl (with hidden 7″) is now available for purchase on the band’s website. But, just for fun, let’s revisit the album we all know and love digitally for a second:

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