Woe, Is Me
- Number[s] re-issue
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: July 17, 2012
As a carefully-crafted product, Woe, Is Me have always excelled. The band is a marketer's dream, flagrantly playing to their fanbase's stereotypes with the sound, merch, and hair to move units. It's that strategic thinking that makes the Number[s]
re-issue so baffling. Though they'll likely sell some extra copies, this release is a complete side-step for a band that needs to be proving their future.
Rather than watching the band move forward, we're asked to revisit their sole album, two years and five members removed. If the strategy was to remind us that this version of Woe no longer exists, they've succeeded - 14 of the 16 tracks feature the departed Tyler Carter, and all but one have Michael Bohn screaming along. The band that created Number[s]
is effectively deceased, replaced by capable, but different musicians - why the band and label choose to rub that in our face, I'll never understand. Even after discarding the original ten tracks, "Fame > Demise" pours salt in the wound, followed by two more Carter-era remixes that are somewhat interesting, though unnecessary. These thirteen inclusions are fairly standard for a re-release, though again suffer from incredibly poor timing.
That leaves three tracks showcasing new vocalist Hance Alligood, which have absolutely nothing to do with the Number[s]
era. Already 10 months old, "Vengeance" seems as dated as the old record, especially with the laughable "we will live forever" lyrics delivered from a guy who then left the band. Branching into all-too-familiar territory, we receive another pop cover via "We R Who We R," which isn't even as good as their version of Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night" from Punk Goes Pop. They don't match the original record, and they offer no peek at the future, making them as uninteresting as the other songs.
That leaves the only notable listen, an acoustic version of "Fame > Demise" with Hance on the mic. Alligood sounds fantastic here, showing a gorgeous tone and great power despite some overproduction on his vocals. Purists will bemoan slight changes in melody and lyrics, though they are completely unwarranted; this is a respectable arrangement. I would have preferred a completely stripped version a la their live session
, though this rendition should please fans mature enough to look past the slight differences from the original.
Go spend the dollar to grab the acoustic version, then completely forget this thing was ever released.