Matthew Good


Album: Hospital Music


Label: Universal Music

Release Date: July 31

***1/2 (out of five)

Maybe it took a nearly fatal blackout after drinking and taking sleep medication in his shower for Matthew Good to tell you what he really thinks.

Hospital Music is Good’s seventh, last, and arguably most candid album under his current recording contract. The Burnaby, B.C., native is clearly exasperated with the music industry’s “usury,” and “the falseness of those that had surrounded me for so long” as he declares in the liner notes. Enigmatic but brutally honest songs wrestle with his troubled past, divorce and bipolar disorder (99% Of Us Is Failure, Champions Of Nothing, I’m A Window), and sometimes cross the line into pure vitriol (I Am Not Safer Than A Bank). Are these the musings of an overly indulgent and self-righteous idealist? No, too easy. Hospital Music is much more than that. It could even be, in its own cryptic way, an elaborate cry for help from a man suffering tremendous mental anguish.

Sum 41

Album: Underclass Hero

Label: Aquarius/EMI

Release Date: July 24

**1/2 (out of five)

Artistic differences can be tricky things for rock bands to deal with, as evident in Sum 41’s latest release, Underclass Hero. Now down to a trio, the serious knob has been cranked up this time and those artistic differences can unfortunately be cited as a theme of sorts. Sum 41’s speedy riff attack is still largely present — but a host of somber elements are mashed in, resulting in a rather awkward vibe. Be it the chimey acoustic dressings in the angry ballad With Me or the attempt at grandiose political commentary through The Jester, it’s kinda new for Sum but honestly it won’t sound new compared with recent Green Day or Blink-182. Underclass Hero may not represent the fun pop-punk ground they’ve broken — but perhaps it is within spitting distance of it.