After the release of 2009’s third self titled album, punk rock outfit Billy Talent is back with their latest album, Dead Silence. This album ends the sequence of self titled albums, and begins a new era for the band. With this being the band’s fifth album, they clearly know what they’re doing. Most bands that have been around this long seem to hit a pitfall, such as changing too drastically, not changing enough, or the dreaded “selling out.” However, the band’s current single, Surprise Surprise, proves that Billy Talent is clearly heading down the right path. While this thrashing punk jam isn’t anything new, it does represent yet another quality tune in an otherwise up and down songbook.
Surprise Surprise is a rousing punk anthem that demands to be heard. You’ll find it difficult to resist throwing the horns in the air and head banging along to the hard hitting guitars and pounding drums. Ian D’Sa’s guitar playing here may not be as impressive as we’ve come to expect from him, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t seriously awesome.
Lead vocalist Ben Kowalewicze snarls and sneers his way though some of the most poignant lyrics I’ve heard in very long time. Surprise Surprise is simply filled to the brim with social and political commentary. Corporate greed, political corruption, the mass production of culture, the general public’s ignorance of world affairs, and even hipsters. Yes, this song contains a slam on hipsters! It’s all here, exposed in this one song, and it is glorious! Simply glorious! You simply can’t help but smile through lyrics like “You upper class daughters, and working class sons/Its hard to save a dollar, the way the world runs/We’ve got a counter culture you can buy off a shelf/If you’re loosing your identity, try somebody else!” I could go on and on pointing out the song’s tongue-in-cheek intelligence.
Despite the solid lyrics, the chorus leaves something to be desired. Sure, its fun to shout along to calls of “Surprise, surprise! Surprise, surprise!” but it doesn’t quite grab you in the way that Billy Talent’s other songs have. In fact, I’d say that the repetitive chorus is the song’s weak spot, while the intelligent verses act as the song’s call to arms.
Overall, Surprise Surprise is yet another solid delivery from Billy Talent. What the song lacks in a chorus, it makes up for with thrashing instrumentals and strong lyrics that hit home with anyone who has any sort of sense of the world.
Final Score: 4/5