- The All-American Rejects: Tyson Ritter (vocals, bass); Nick Wheeler (guitar, keyboards, drums, programming).
- Recorded at Mission Sound and Headgear Studio, Brooklyn, New York.
- Audio Mixer: Tim O'Heir.
- Recording information: Headgear Studio, Brooklyn, NY (2002); Mission Sound Studios, Brooklyn, NY (2002).
- Arranger: The All-American Rejects.
- Tyson Ritter and Nick Wheeler, the two college-age clean-cut men who form the nexus of the All-American Rejects, have a knack for driving home a pop hook. Clearly weaned on power pop's history from the Beach Boys and Big Star to the Cars and Weezer and other more modern proponents, the Oklahoma outfit serves up gentle pop radiance with a hint of Replacements-style brashness on its self-titled debut.
- The All-American Rejects' songs capture a youthful simplicity without slipping into juvenile lyrics like many bands with a similar sound. There is an endearing innocence in tunes like "My Paper Heart" with its simple opening entreaty "please just don't play with me/my paper heart will bleed" over insistent acoustic guitar before a quiet storm replete with a tympani-sounding instrument. Ornate instrumentation abounds, but it augments the music, never seeming forced or out or place, likely a combination of prescience on the pair's part and the experienced hand of producer-engineer Tim O'Heir (Sebadoh, Superdrag, Possum Dixon). In fact, the album's hallmark is a bewitching, summery, infectious pop consistency.
Spin (4/03, p.107) - "Pop professionalism meets emo's romantic amateurism..." - Grade: A-