Review Summary: Lines In My Face is a record that can be enjoyed on many levels by a wide variety of listeners.
Chronic Future doesn’t exactly bring to mind a slew of successful albums. Viewed as a lesser Linkin Park from the nu-metal era, Chronic Future was just another uncelebrated rap-rock band that never really ascended beyond the success of their trademark single “Time & Time Again”, which is also the very song that brought Lines In My Face
into respectability. Six years have passed since the release of this record without any new material from the band, but it still manages to stand as one of the better rap-rock albums of its time. At the very least, it proves to be an interesting listen that embodies the musical trends of the early 2000’s with both quality songwriting and production.
Chronic Future borrowed ideas from several other influential artists in the creation of Lines In My Face
, the most notable being Rage Against The Machine, who brought the rock/hip-hop fusion into fruition back in the 90’s. Of course, there are also clear characteristics of other (more popular) rap-rock artists of the time such as Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit. Even though Chronic Future has no claim as musical experimenters or pioneers of any sort, they made excellent use of their influences and honed in on the sound that they wanted to create. This is never more evident than it is in their standout single “Time and Time Again”, which features a groovy rap introduction before the breakdown and an absurdly catchy chorus. The instrumental aspects of the song aren’t particularly impressive, but they do their job and you can really hear the band members playing with a sense of purpose. That seems to be the trend throughout Lines In My Face
, as the album relies on Chronic Future’s songwriting and sense of catchiness much more than it does on the technical aspects and instrumental skill. However, when executed with such a strong sense of direction, these minor flaws can be easily overlooked in favor of how inviting and accessible the music is.
Speaking of accessibility, one thing that separates Chronic Future from other artists of its time is the upbeat style with which each song is played. Whereas Linkin Park always had darker, edgier undertones, Chronic Future’s Lines In My Face
has a much more high-spirited tone. One clear instance would be the song “Thank You”, which is light-hearted both in sound and in lyrical content:
I want to thank you for all your time
You see you don't even know
How much you ease my mind
The song also stands as one of the highlights of Lines In My Face
, featuring a perfect balance between the bridge, chorus, and rap verses. “Memories in F Minor” follows a similar formula, but adds a sense of intensity with coarse screams that are few and far between outside of that particular track. In fact, the screaming that seems to go hand in hand with rap-rock is nearly absent on this album. Normally, this might be seen as a weakness considering the genre, but in Chronic Future’s case, it stands as yet another example of how the band managed to differentiate itself within a style of music that is/was so muddled with redundancy. Chronic Future also branches out from the rap-rock genre in a few instances, such as “Stop Pretending”, which features an urgent sounding chorus driven by heavy power chords and powerful drumming. All in all, this causes it to feel much more like a straight up rock song than a “rap-rock” song.
Although the band rarely slows things down, they do have some gentler moments on Lines In My Face
. There are no “ballads” per say, but the opening minute of “Say Goodbye” features slower, more heartfelt rap verses that seem to carry a bit of emotional weight. Also, the beginning of “Shellshocked” actually starts with some light keyboard notes and soft, clean-cut vocals before it eventually erupts into a chaotic, fast-paced chorus. The album definitely has its share of slower moments, as instances such as these are sprinkled throughout Lines In My Face
in small portions. However, if you are strictly a fan of slow gentle ballads, this album will do you no favors.
As a whole, this is without a doubt Chronic Future’s best work. It most likely won’t be anything groundbreaking to experienced listeners, but it is rap-rock executed perfectly with an added sense of the band’s unique identity. It infuses more elements/genres than just rap and rock, and it also has an overall positive aura. Each song is accessible and entertaining to hear; making it the kind of music you want to blast with your windows down while in the car. To many, it may be nothing more than just that: fun music to listen to while doing 80 MPH on the freeway. But it certainly also has the qualities to be much more than that. With personal lyrics and loads of diversity between genre experimentation, Lines In My Face
is a record that can be enjoyed on many levels by a wide variety of listeners.