Have you ever bought a batch of frozen cookies? You know, the ones where you pull them out of the package and they’re all ready to be baked? The ones where they all look the same, just with slight variation in the placement of the chocolate chips?

That’s Outsider in a nutshell.

Now, does that mean that the album is bad? No … but that doesn’t mean that the album is necessarily good either. Outsider is simply average.

Average is, in my opinion, the worst thing any piece of entertainment can be. Whether a movie or album is absolutely perfect or atrociously bad, you can find enjoyment in it, in spite of its flaws, or because of them.

But if something’s average? Meh. Indifference. Apathy. I believe that the very last reaction you want to receive in regards to something you’ve created is a careless shoulder shrug.

There are things the album does do well. For instance, the instrumentation is on par for a Three Days Grace album, (though it certainly lacks memorability) and some of the songs are admittedly catchy, like the lead single “The Mountain,” or “Right Left Wrong,” the album opener.

However, that’s all that the album really has going for it.

My biggest gripe with this album is how immature the lyrics are. Three Days Grace have never been complex in their song-making, but this album sets the bar so low in comparison to earlier works.

For example, take this line from the track “I Am an Outsider:” “I am an outsider / I don’t care about the in-crowd, no / Better off on my own now.”

You would be forgiven for thinking that this was penned by a high schooler, but no, this was written by a group of middle-aged men.

Among the plethora of things I could say about this line, the song, and the album as a whole, it’s just so on the nose and shallow that it doesn’t invite any real thought into it, it isn’t engaging.

Another example: take “The Mountain.” I can guarantee that you already know what the song is about based only on the title.

Yes, it’s about climbing the ever-present “mountain,” the metaphor for all of the obstacles one faces in life.

The song itself is catchy for sure, but the lyrics and subject matter are so generic and clichéd, it’s honestly mind-boggling that this is the result of three years’ worth of work split among four people.

Those are only two examples, but on a whole, Outsider is unimaginative and generic. It lacks soul, it lacks heart—something their early works had in spades.

From its presentation (the heavy-handed artwork, for example) to its execution, it’s really just a discount One-X (Three Days Grace’s sophomore album), which handled similar topics and themes in a better, more sincere fashion.

Final Rating: C-

While it contains one or two catchy jingles, the album relies so much on clichés and immature Z grade lyrics that it’s essentially the musical equivalent of Cheez Whiz, a pre-packaged, processed, hollow substitute for the real thing.

I recommend listening to One-X instead.