Hot Chelle Rae will never be mistaken for serious artists. Their second album, Whatever, sports a sound slicker than Turtle Wax and is light enough to blow away in a gentle breeze. The guitars sound as real as Velveeta, the vocals are seriously smooth and grit-free, and the songs are about as deep as a kiddie pool. These sound like criticisms, and they are if you are looking for "real" music played by guys who "mean it." However, these can be considered points in HCR's favor, considering they are a band that combines the strut of Maroon 5 with the easy swagger of old-school lunkheads like Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray; adds a tiny, tiny bit of emo emotion; uses every production trick available to even the least schooled producer; and packs every song with a huge singalong hook that even the strongest pop haters might find imprinted on their brains after hearing it twice in a mall. You don't need grit or reality if that's the kind of band you are; it would just get in the way. Instead, HCR unleash an album's worth of poppy jams like "Tonight Tonight," "Radio," and "Downtown Girl" that will please the sing-into-your-hairbrush crowd, the bedroom dancers, the mall rats, and the occasional nostalgic old-timers who remember the age of "All Star" and "Every Morning" with fondness. It may not be a formula designed for critical acclaim or longevity, but pop music has always been exactly like this and HCR would make Bobby Vee, the Archies, and the New Radicals proud. ~ Tim Sendra
Entertainment Weekly (p.77) - "[F]rivolous fun...slathering studio froth over boppy melodies like so much sunblock....'Why Don't You Love Me,' with Demi Lovato, is stealthily moving." -- Grade: B
Billboard (p.40) - "[O]n WHATEVER, its sophomore disc, Hot Chelle Rae gets an assist from Demi Lovato in 'Why Don't You Love Me,' a midtempo power ballad..."