Top of the Class
Bands have been trying to mix rock with hip-hop since Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. hit it big with â€šÃ„ÃºWalk This Way.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Gym Class Heroes dared to take this further on As Cruel As School Children by combining R&B grooves, hip-hop beats, and rapped emo lyrics.The band came to be when drummer Matt McGinley and singer/MC Travis McCoy met over ten years ago in high school gym class, a scenario inspiring both the group name and the idea behind their latest album. As Cruel As School Children consists of â€šÃ„Ãºclass periodsâ€šÃ„Ã¹ rather than tracks and tells many tales of love, be it unrequited, gone wrong, or disguised as lust.
â€šÃ„ÃºQueen and Iâ€šÃ„Ã¹ starts the body moving immediately with flamenco-inspired guitar and an equally hooking bassline. Clever lyrics make â€šÃ„ÃºNew Friend Request,â€šÃ„Ã¹ McCoyâ€šÃ„Ã´s take on flirting via the Internet, stating what every Myspace lurker thinks but doesnâ€šÃ„Ã´t want to admit: â€šÃ„ÃºWho cares if we don’t know each otherâ€šÃ„Ã´s last names?/ All I know is that I’m smitten with your pictures wishinâ€šÃ„Ã´ you think the same.â€šÃ„Ã¹
The three-part â€šÃ„ÃºSloppy Love Jingleâ€šÃ„Ã¹ includes short spoken rhymes that are interesting the first few listens, but later become skippable due to their lack of music. A cameo from William Beckett of labelmates The Academy Is gives the story of touring â€šÃ„Ãº7 Weeksâ€šÃ„Ã¹ a falsetto chorus which compliments McCoyâ€šÃ„Ã´s chill rapping narration. Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump, who produced the record, is another famous friend lending his voice to the cheeky club hit â€šÃ„ÃºClothes Off!â€šÃ„Ã¹
Unusual as emotional hip-hop might sound, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s a refreshing new style that appeals to several camps of music fans. Gym Class Heroes may be on to something big.