Review Summary: Sounds like a bunch of thuggish white dudes singing/rapping about bitches, brew, and fighting.
Hollywood Undead is a notoriously wild hip hop/alternative/metal group who had catapulted into the mainstream audience three years before even releasing an album. Myspace has been a key tool for a countless number of bands wanting to put their name out into the open but I don’t think anyone has reached the level of popularity that Hollywood Undead has with the exception of maybe Job For A Cowboy. My first experience with the band was in 2005 while I was strolling through pure volume( remember that?) on my high school computer. I read the bands description of seven metal heads playing hip hop and the idea sounded interesting enough to check out. Another aspect which caught on with me was the crazy masks the band employed, and much like Slipknot have this year, Hollywood have also brought out a new batch of masks to go along with a new record. It took three years but Hollywood Undead have finally produced a full length album called “Swan Songs” which features some of their older popular songs like No 5 and Black Dahlia. The album also includes several new tracks like “Every Where I Go and a rap-metal anthem in Undead which is also featured on the Madden 2009 soundtrack.
Hollywood Undead is made up of six rappers/singers with Charlie Scene, J-Dog, Da Kurlz, Deuce, Funny Man, and Johnny 3 Tears tearing up a path of egotistical destruction. It goes without saying that Hollywood hold the “live fast and die young” mentality close to their hearts because several of the tracks stray on the similar topics of hedonistic pleasures and bro-core mentality all while wrapped in profanity ridden messages. Now I know that sounds pretty bad so far, Hollywood Undead trying to pull off a mainstream version of Hed P.E. Fortunately, when the band tones down the language and thuggish bravado in favor for more alternative rock leanings is when the band is at their best. “Young” is the best song in my opinion which features driving guitars and actual singing so when the rapping comes in adds a nice dynamic instead of failing miserably. The song also features one of the catchiest choruses on the album and the layered vocals at the end just make it even stronger. Which comes to my next point. The band is great at making catchy music with real hooks, no matter how cliché or inappropriate the lyrical content may seem. Pretty much every song on the album, especially Sell Your Soul, Circles, Young, Black Dahlia, and Paradise Lost boast incredibly addicting choruses that merge perfectly to trippy synth beats and chugging riffs. The music is rather straightforward, featuring the typical rockers, somber ballads, and the occasional head-banger so the format is pretty basic but executed pretty well nonetheless. I don’t know much about hip-hop so I’m not going to rant about how much I enjoy a lot of the beats presented on Swan Songs. The hip-hop influence in Hollywood Undead’s music is quite poppy in comparison to most stuff being released these days but still really easy to appreciate not too mention danceable. So when the band throw’s in an 80’s synth pop moment like in “This Love This Hate” at least shows that they’re putting a little effort in making each track stand out on their own.
This album has some pretty good songs as well as some terrible songs. I’m talking specifically about No 5. Nauseating vocals, terrible lyrics, and overall just three minutes you wish you never spent on this song. Another con to this record comes directly from one of the masked members himself. I’m not sure who it is but one of the guys in Hollywood Undead doesn’t just emulate but completely rips off a certain famous white rapper. On one of the verses from Undead I felt as I was listening that a certain chainsaw wielding psychopath in blue overalls and a white Jason masked had made a cameo. It gets annoying to a point because if I want to listen to Eminem I’ll just listen to Eminem. Amidst all of the douchbaggery and head to toe gimmicks that Hollywood Undead are guilty of falling under they still manage to create a fun album with catchy, laid back songs to put on during a drive to Publix or whatever else kids do these days. Sure as hell beats what’s playing on the radio.
Songs to check out:
:This Love This Hate:
:Sell Your Soul:
Songs To Avoid:
:Everywhere I Go:
:Bottle And A Gun: