Review Summary: An overall tiring and inconsistent sophomore album that falls short of its goals, both musically and commercially.1 of 2 thought this review was well written
Crossfade’s hit 2004 debut rocketed them into mainstream radio an overextended amount of time. Their presence in the mainstream was mostly due to their infectiously catchy and energetic hit single, “Cold”. “Cold” showed a radio-friendly, yet aggressive sound coming from a band with great potential. Crossfade showed more potential commercially than musically, naturally, but they appeared as one of the forefronts of the post-grunge scene at the time. It only seemed natural that their next album would improve upon the previous.
Unfortunately, Crossfade degraded.
Call it selling out, call it maturing, call it progressing, call it what you will. There usually is a fine line between the four, but in this context, it’s just a quarrel over vocabulary. The album is unorganized, uninspired, inconsistent, and most of all, premature. The album can be thought of as a pearl, but sand in an oyster, and after a while, you get a precious pearl. Take the sand out too early, and the pearl is imperfect, exactly what this album is.
Album starts out with “Washing the World Away, a generic, mildly-heavy track that utilizes Ed Sloan’s almost obnoxiously raspy vocals before leading up into a fairly disappointing and unorganized chorus. It’s catchy enough to draw in new listeners, catchy enough to be a single, raspy and heavy enough to blend in with other hit post-grunge tracks, but fails to bring anything new.
Songs like “Already Gone”, “Someday”, and the lead single “Invincible” are the only strong tracks in the album. The three just mentioned are solid, consistent, and somewhat well-written tracks. “Already Gone” subdues its generically acoustic verses with an equally generic electric-guitar backed chorus filled with trademark anguish. “Someday” redeems itself slightly with an uplifting (not lyrically, but melodically) chorus, while “Invincible” has a stronger prechorus than actual chorus, complemented by overly simplistic broken guitar chords.
Filler ballads run amok on this album. Songs like “Breathing Slowly” bring in a clear Nickelback influence, which, granted Nickelback, is a bad thing. Fairly tedious verses backed by crunchy repetitive guitar lead up to an annoying and power-filled chorus, utilizing an already overused grunge ballad melody. The final track, “Never Coming Home” is a cheesy piano ballad with no real motivation behind the track, neither lyrically nor musically. The same distinction can be applied to the faux-aggressive tone of “Falling Away”, and to the sloppy structure of “Everything’s Wrong”.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to control the ballads, and to add to the disorganization, heavier filler tracks are added in such as “Why”, “Anchor”, and “Drown You Out”, with the latter having a clear Papa Roach influence. Once again, these tracks would appeal to a diehard (existent?) mainstream rock fan, but to everyone else, those songs are cringeable.
Lyrically, the tracks are mostly filled with ever-so-sad and original tracks of break up. You can’t blame the cliché lyric topics on the band considering the typical lyrics found in both its scene and in the music industry in general. Ed Sloan overuses his vocals on more than one occasion, such as on “Falling Away”, where a listener can easily giggle at his attempts to sound more candid than ever before, in case listeners had trouble understanding the truly sophisticated lyrics of the earlier tracks (cue laugh track). Ed Sloan juggles his voice, adding in occasional dabs of influence from similarly sounding artists, which makes you wonder if altering his voice in any sense was really necessary at all.
To wrap it all up, Falling Away is a diamond in the rough, with occasional strong points, but overwhelmed by the negative aspects. It’s cliché, the songs hardly fit together, and the lyrics feel ever so dull. You wanted Crossfade, you got this: an overall weak album that ultimately suffers from the sophomore curse.