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Rock - Released January 1, 2018 | Island Def Jam

For The Reason, those nice suburban Californians in Hoobastank refine and shade in the concentric circles of their self-titled debut, but stay safely within its platinum figure eight. "Crawling in the Dark" was the contoured heart of that album. Its combination of enormous rock chorus and elastic dreamboat vocals made Hoobastank stars and established their sound -- not original, but firmly rooted in the rousing voice of Doug Robb and guitarist Dan Estrin's slick post-grunge concoctions. Despite the usual pressure to produce another "Crawling," the songwriting duo seems to have largely been left alone for The Reason. Naturally, the presence of boffo big producer Howard Benson ensures the album's impeccable sonic accessibility. Robb's voice breaks at just the right time and for maximum emotional resonance, while the music ebbs and flows effortlessly between aggressive rockers and more introspective material. But for the most part, what you hear is what you get. Strings do pop up on a few songs, and here and there the harmonies seem too rich for reality. But these additional elements never overshadow the foursome's work. The strings punch up "Lucky"'s already uplifting chorus (the acoustic verses are a nice touch, too), while they're a lush bed of down pillows for the somewhat sappy title track. It's not that Robb's words throughout The Reason aren't genuine. Lyrics like "I'm not a perfect person, I never meant to do those things to you," "So what should I do, just lay next to you as though I'm unaffected?," and "There has to be somewhere that we can be safe from the lives we live each day" are delivered with real feeling. However, Hoobastank is still reducing teen angst (over love, escape, or a higher power) to digestible phrases, and writing sandpaper smooth rock symphonies around those couplets. So it's a formula, and one that remains unchanged from the debut. But Robb, Estrin, bassist Markku Lappalainen, and drummer Chris Hesse are a better band now -- endless touring will do that. "Same Direction" and "Just One" are standout anthems, raucous and righteous all at once. Lead single "Out of Control" lets Robb and Estrin shriek and shred with some reckless (yet still melodic and ready for radio) aggression. Meanwhile, the other, softer side of the band is represented best by "What Happened to Us?" and the drifting departure "Disappear," which both unfold as much more focused versions of Hoobastank's sometimes clunky attempts at nuance (think "To Be With You"). In the end, The Reason is really a better version of Hoobastank, written and played by more mature versions of Hoobastank. © Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 20, 2001 | Mercury Records

With opening gigs for the newly famous (Alien Ant Farm, Incubus) and the firmly established (Live), Hoobastank have had the envious opportunity to generate buzz and anticipation for their self-titled, major-label debut. Don't be put off by the goofy name; while it might be overtly campy, it's certainly original and makes for a catchy logo, cleverly incorporating mathematician John Wallis' famous symbol for infinity. Hoobastank boasts palatable, hook-laden hard rock in the spirit of bands such as Papa Roach and 311. The band keeps it simple with guitar/bass/drum/vocals, seeing no need to add pretentious strings or synthesizers to their stage-ready sound. As for their songs, a connecting thread of broken relationships (both romantic and otherwise) permeates the lyrics, especially "Give It Back" and "Running Away." The soft then heavy "Up and Gone" speaks to innocence lost, while the ballad-worthy "To Be with You" offers a glimmer of hope in the predominant darkness and confusion. Musically, Hoobastank embodies all the elements of the post-grunge scene. "Pieces" has rap-metal verses coupled with dissonant tri-tone riffing which breaks away to piles of vocal harmonies in the choruses. The song that truly defines the Hoobastank sound, however, is the aggro-pop anthem "Crawling in the Dark," a single that will have hard rock fans clamoring for this CD. © Doug Odell /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 8, 2006 | Mercury Records

Hoobastank once and forever banished any lingering doubts that they were a bunch of Bonnaroo hippies, à la Ekoostik Hookah, with their 2003 sophomore effort, The Reason, a strident collection of loud, angsty rockers that sounded as if it could have come out in the twilight days of post-grunge in 1997/1998. Not catchy or bratty enough to truly be pigeonholed as punk-pop and way too big and slick to be emo, they were a straight-up, hard-edged alt-rock band, only without any suggestion of being outsiders, either in their sound or intent. They were anthemic, and nowhere more so than on the power ballad title track, which became a smash in 2004, climbing all the way to number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Two years after that, Hoobastank delivered Every Man for Himself, their third album and their first as bona fide rock stars, and it sure sounds like the work of a band that's now established: it's slick and stylish, big and bright, designed for arenas and as bumper music on both MTV and VH1. Bassist Markku Lappalaninen may have left the fold, but his absence is not the reason for the slight changes in their sound; he would not be the one to polish the production, to add the strings, or to add a heavy dose of Franz Ferdinand-styled disco-rock, either. These are all things that the remaining three -- vocalist Douglas Robb, guitarist Dan Estrin, and drummer Chris Hesse -- along with returning producer Howard Benson brought to the table, and the result is a record that sounds a little more colorful and a little more appropriate than its two predecessors, which tended to be slightly monotonous and dull. The proliferation of keyboards, strings, acoustic guitars, and even horns gives this some welcome sonic variety, which helps balance the plodding sincerity of the group's grinding guitars and Robb's ham-fisted lyrics ("I am not the next of them/I am the first of me"). And since Hoobastank is about the overall sound instead of the specifics of the song or performances, it is good that there is more happening on the surface, since it makes the album coherent and easier to digest. But even if Every Man for Himself was constructed with the mainstream in mind, it likely won't win any new converts. [Every Man for Himself was released with two separate covers presenting the same artwork in different colors (à la Split Enz with True Colours: there is a green variation of the front-cover fingerprint and a red variation).] © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 25, 2018 | Napalm Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Island Def Jam

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Rock - Released January 27, 2009 | Mercury Records

The parenthetical "n" in the title of For(n)ever isn't merely a piece of clever typography, it's an indication of what Hoobastank's fourth album is all about, for For(n)ever is tied together by the notion that nothing lasts forever...or more precisely, whatever relationship singer Doug Robb just finished sure didn't last forever. For(n)ever is a breakup album at its purest, teeming with regret, anger, and recriminations but little guilt, as there's little question that Robb believes he's the wronged party. He finds incriminating letters tucked away behind the bed, discovers that "[The] more you speak/The less I care about you," wonders "Who the Hell Am I?" now that the relationship has sputtered to a halt. The funny thing about a breakup album scored to mechanical modern rock -- equal part grunge harmonies and digitally processed active rock riffs -- is that sympathy winds up shifting from the singer to his subject of scorn, since all those nasty sentiments feel directed to the listeners, not the cheating, duplicitous girl who is now long gone, gone, gone. Despite this barrage of invective, it's strangely reassuring hearing the oft-preprogrammed Hoobastank break free from their constraints. Prior to this, they seemed more concerned with airplay than emotion, so it's nice to see their human side slip through even if it isn't particularly pleasant to hear. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released July 11, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | Island Def Jam

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 9, 2002 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

With opening gigs for the newly famous (Alien Ant Farm, Incubus) and the firmly established (Live), Hoobastank have had the envious opportunity to generate buzz and anticipation for their self-titled, major-label debut. Don't be put off by the goofy name; while it might be overtly campy, it's certainly original and makes for a catchy logo, cleverly incorporating mathematician John Wallis' famous symbol for infinity. Hoobastank boasts palatable, hook-laden hard rock in the spirit of bands such as Papa Roach and 311. The band keeps it simple with guitar/bass/drum/vocals, seeing no need to add pretentious strings or synthesizers to their stage-ready sound. As for their songs, a connecting thread of broken relationships (both romantic and otherwise) permeates the lyrics, especially "Give It Back" and "Running Away." The soft then heavy "Up and Gone" speaks to innocence lost, while the ballad-worthy "To Be with You" offers a glimmer of hope in the predominant darkness and confusion. Musically, Hoobastank embodies all the elements of the post-grunge scene. "Pieces" has rap-metal verses coupled with dissonant tri-tone riffing which breaks away to piles of vocal harmonies in the choruses. The song that truly defines the Hoobastank sound, however, is the aggro-pop anthem "Crawling in the Dark," a single that will have hard rock fans clamoring for this CD. © Doug Odell /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 25, 2018 | Napalm Records

After a six-year gap between albums, California quartet Hoobastank returned with the pop-friendly Push Pull, a surprising sixth effort that traded their early nu-metal/post-grunge hurricane for a smooth, R&B- and funk-influenced rumination on love that was inspired by Duran Duran, Chic, and David Bowie. Fatherhood and marriage have changed the Doug Robb-fronted group, resulting in honest lyrics that address cooling passions, relationship tedium, and the real-life issues associated with trouble in paradise. For those expecting another "Crawling in the Dark" or "The Reason," Push Pull is jarring, to say the least, an outlier in the band's catalog that should prove divisive. Produced by Matt Wallace, Push Pull is an apt reflection of two of that producer's past collaborators: Faith No More and Maroon 5. Extracting some of Faith No More's funk-rock and weaving it with Maroon 5's smooth, blue-eyed soul-pop, Wallace reinvigorates Hoobastank's approach most blatantly on the strutting "Push Pull" and the achingly sweet "More Beautiful," one of the first examples of Robb's falsetto. These oddities of electronic disco-funk are tempered with more familiar rock tracks like the chugging "True Believer," a saucy number wherein cowbell and handclaps buffer Robb's romantic pleas to "Resurrect me, making me come/Make me come alive." While "True Believer" plays on unabashed sexuality, its counterpart, "Buzzkill (Before You Say Goodbye)," tries to recapture the same flame of desire with yearning honesty. Push Pull also includes a Muse-esque cover of Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels," which fits with the album's overall sentiment, but is ultimately unnecessary considering the number of unexpected turns to digest elsewhere. This is a Hoobastank hitherto unseen, and the results are refreshing if listeners can move beyond this abrupt sonic shift. Hook-heavy, impeccably produced, and brave, Push Pull shines a light on all the ugly and difficult issues that face a matured and seasoned relationship years down the line when reality sets in and those sparks of new love have faded. © Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Island Def Jam

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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | Island Mercury

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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Island Def Jam

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Rock - Released April 4, 2018 | Napalm Records

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Rock - Released May 2, 2018 | Napalm Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Island Def Jam

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Rock - Released January 1, 2009 | Island Def Jam