Hollywood Undead - Notes from the Underground
Record Label: A&M/Octone
Release Date: January 8, 2013
This will be kind of an obvious negative review, even coming from someone that can stand the band. There are quite a few songs I actually like, even if there are significantly more that I cannot stand. For example, "Black Dahlia" and "Hear me Now" I really like. Conversely, "Gangsta Sexy" and "Undead" are some of the most ear-grating pieces of noise I've ever heard. That all being said, I never quite understood the hate for this band... that is, until the newest record. The sound doesn't change much, the lyrics are still moronically stupid, still the same song structures, but wow I'm just in awe at how they could record some of these.
For the record, I'm pretty sure Hollywood Undead is aware that their lyrics aren't the most intelligent, but there's a line between that and becoming self-parody. A good example of this would be "Pigskin," which follows a track that I enjoy, "We Are." It's annoying that when I just sit there playing on my DS, doing work, or whatever it is my iTunes is on shuffle and "Pigskin" comes on. I then have to reach over to my laptop and skip it. There are songs I don't like, but I can understand why people would like them; I don't mind expending the energy skipping those. In this case, though, it doesn't even seem worth the time. I find myself just putting in earplugs till the song is over and removing them till iTunes decides to play a better song for me. The sexist lyrics have always been there, but once someone starts bragging about his "weenie," then I stop taking it seriously and stop finding it catchy.
HU's strength has always been finding catchy hooks or (despite the questionable wordplay) intriguing rap verses. "Pigskin" isn't the only example of this though; "Kill Everyone" and "Up in Smoke" have the exact same problem. The content of the lyrics are different with these three songs, but it doesn't make it any stupider. It's not like all lyrics all lyrics have to be thought-provoking in order for me to appreciate them; trust me, I listen to enough idiotic lyrics to make people question my music tastes. The difference is, while some of these songs can be catchy, I feel as though in this new album very few can qualify as such.
There are some good tunes though. "Dead Bite," the opener, has a dark beat and tone throughout and it's probably my favorite on the record. "From the Ground" is nothing special, but I like that they at least tried to experiment with a new style (there's screaming in the pre-chorus. It's weird and awkward, but it's something new at least). "Lion" has the same style as "Dead Bite," and is one of stronger tracks. Lead single "We Are" is very similar to "Hear me Now" (from the American Tragedy album), but it's not really an issue. The two slower songs, "Rain" and "Believer" are quite boring, and make me fall asleep almost as much as Drake's "Started from the Bottom." Yeah, I went there.
The album isn't certainly ALL bad, but wow it's just gotten worse for these guys. I'll just go ahead and give a rating for each song:
Dead Bite: 9/10 (great opener)
From the Ground: 7/10 (decent)
Another Way Out: 5/10 (depending on the day it's catchy or it's a skippable track)
Lion: 8/10 (could have been better, but still good)
We Are: 7/10 (good choice for a lead single)
Pigskin: 0/10 (ugh)
Rain: 2/10 (travelling in the rain is a bitch, so I really do mind the rain)
Kill Everyone: 3/10 (sounds like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum after his parents ground him)
Believe: 5/10 (it's boring, but earnest enough)
Up in Smoke: 1/10 (I'm just so tired of generic blunt smoking songs)
Outside: 8/10 (not a bad closer, actually)
I won't waste my time with the three bonus tracks; they all suck. Usually, when I am writing a review, whether or not it's publicly received well (my review, that is) I still spend quite amount of time preparing and trying to justify why I like or dislike something. Since most of you hate HU already, I didn't need to bother with it. It's an awful record, and it's probably going to spell the end for them.
It's almost as if this review was.... unnecessary. Why did I take 15 minutes out of my time reviewing this garbage, then? I don't know, probably because it's 7:30 in the morning and I need something to wake me up. Terrible music it is.