Gym Class Heroes fall short


On their fifth record, the Gym Class Heroes succeed only when they follow the crossover pop path lead vocalist Travie McCoy successfully used on his solo single, “Billionaire.’’ This is a short, 11-song set driven by hooks rather than songs. The band soars when it comes up with memorable riffs or fine cameos as on “Stereo Hearts,’’ with Adam Levine, or the melodic “Life Goes On,’’ featuring an irresistible chorus led by the terrific Oh Land. A lot of this, though, is mired in generic rock/hip-hop fusion that feels dated and forgettable. McCoy is, at best, a rudimentary MC, and he descends to bottom-drawer rhymes on the witless “Solo Discotheque (Whiskey Bitness)’’ and “Nil-Nil-Draw,’’ a love revenge track in which Midol unfortunately comes into play. The band’s artistic confusion hits its apex on “The Fighter,’’ which purports to be about defiance but is undermined by its dance-pop beat and a hook supplied by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, whose bland voice has about as much bite as a toddler. The disc ends with “Kid Nothing and the Never-Ending Naked Nightmare,’’ a metallic screamfest with more posturing than menace. (Out today)

ESSENTIAL “Stereo Hearts’’

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