As the Hollywood debut for Chicago-based Plain White T's, Every Second Counts finds the quintet jumping to the majors and polishing up its already glossy and exuberant sound to take on the masses. They've essentially always owned a radio-ready edge despite never being played on mainstream airwaves, and this record embraces all the power pop and hooky satisfaction of their Fearless releases to basically throw the same party all over again. But thankfully, that doesn't mean these songs are tired-sounding. Throwing the big guns out right away, the stick-in-your-head exuberance of "Our Time Now" jump-starts the record with its massively bright and anthemic chorus, which fittingly leads into a semi-party breakdown midsong. The lukewarm anger of "Hate (I Really Don't Like You)" puts an amusing spin on customary breakup sentiments in the same manner that the melodic "Friends Don't Let Friends Dial Drunk" is a surefire hit thanks to its valid commentary on many a 21st century relationship. Plain White T's bring the infectious pop/rock much more than the pop-punk, their sweetly melodic cocktails going down so easy that a chaser is hardly needed. The acoustic sentimentality of "Write You a Song" has the potential of being this album's "Hey There Delilah," as the rollicking "Figure It Out" scores high marks with a probing bassline that leads into a swirling display of guitar showmanship and dance-worthy grooves. Fans who ate up 2005's All That We Needed are sure to love this album as well. And if Plain White T's are lucky, it just might be enough to finally snag them some of the TRL success that many of their Chicago peers have already been enjoying.
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AllMusic Review by Corey Apar