On the preliminary of hearing this album, I had seen that people had described it as a "return to the first album, Come Clean." So, naturally, I was excited because Come Clean was very catchy and had a hard rock/punk vibe. However, after one listen, I came to realize that Vol. 4 was another twisted joke. Compared to their previous release, Famous, this new release is just a cash in on the success of the last album, with very little return to the early forms at all.
The album opener- "Stoned"- gave some hope that this would rock my world. It was fast, hard, bitter, and smelled of Come Clean all over. However, after that the rest of the album fell apart. It followed the same standard as Famous: hard rock, somewhat of a hard rock song, ballad, somewhat hard rock song, hard rock song, somewhat hard rock, a song that doesn't make sense, another ballad… you get the idea. Yes, it was a bit more punk than pop; the final song, "Hooky," was evident of that with its biting rhythms and straight-to-the-point lyrics. But, it isn't the song structure that annoyed the daylights out of me. It was the lyrics with almost every song.
Now a moment of backstory…
For some Goddess awful reason, from the Famous era, radios around the San Diego county that I live in felt the track "Psycho" was the hit of the album. They would play it every day, every other hour, and the people obviously loved it because they JUST WOULDN'T STOP! Sure, people love a hit single, and it was; very simple guitar rhythm that crusted in Nirvana territory, but with the worst lyrics ever. All it did was repeat "Maybe I'm the one/ Maybe I'm the one/ Who is a schizophrenic psycho!" And after a while, it made ME go psycho! Even two years later that song makes me shudder (Famous had been released in 2007).
Back to the album at hand…
Puddle of Mudd felt that "Psycho" was what the people wanted, so on Vol 4 they set out to make every song sound like it. Fortunately, they DID NOT accomplish that musically, but they did accomplish it lyrically. Most of the verses are just repeated over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… am I annoying you yet? See, now you know what it is like! Now, take that annoyance and multiply it by 8 and VIOLA! You get Vol. 4 in a nutshell.
One may ask, "Why do only 8 annoy out of the full 10?" Well, that's simply due to the saving grace of two songs: "Stoned" for its hard rock vibe, and "Better Place" for its emotional impact, both musically and vocally, and the fact it's one of the few songs that does not repeat itself as much on the album. Overall, however, it seems that Vol. 4 is just "Psycho" on repeat. with a remix of a new sound, but the same kind of lyrics. Not for those who were expecting something like the Puddle of Mudd from before 2005.