Review Summary: In one swift movement, Finger Eleven ditches everything that once made them (sort of) unique.
There was a time when Finger Eleven stood out amongst the other mainstream dribble that plagued the rock scene. Their debut was anything but groundbreaking, but, hell
, it at least knew how to shake things up. From their self-titled LP, songs like “One Thing” and “Therapy” were just unique and personal enough to place the band above your Nickelbacks and Hinders. One could certainly argue that the band’s last effort, Them vs. You vs. Me
ditched any remaining vital signs of life within Finger Eleven, but if that wasn’t the case, Life Turns Electric
is the final nail in the coffin.
The main issue with Life Turns Electric
is that it is anything but lively or electric. No matter how you twist and contort your hearing, this is just Finger Eleven doing the same thing they always do with the same tepid results. It is overproduced and as poorly written as ever, trading in substance for studio gimmicks and a darker edge for a happy-go-lucky feel that suits the band like Jesse Lacey covering the Barney & Friends
theme song. Songs like “Whatever Doesn’t Kill Me” and “Living in a Dream” make Finger Eleven come across as a band forcing the issue, with supposedly uplifting lines like “Whatever doesn’t kill me doesn’t make me stronger / but I’m not gonna give up yet
.” A nice sentiment, sure. A huge cliché? Well, yeah, it is that too…but then again if clichéd ideas are a pet peeve, you have another thing coming.
Life Turns Electric
, to be blunt, is a collection of safe, grab-the-money-and-run chart hit hopefuls. It is clear by their watered down sound and recycled creativity that the band has thrown in the towel. The album’s opener “Any Moment Now” follows a very basic chord progression, reaching a predictable chorus that is not very memorable. The album’s big single, “Living in a Dream”, sounds eerily similar to “Paralyzer”, and it comes as no surprise that the band would try to recapture the success of that song with their first single. I only wish that they would have tried
to stray from the same formulaic approach, because “Living in a Dream” is not catchy enough to stand on its own. Obviously, clichés are clichés for a reason…they worked well enough for other bands to emulate. In that sense, there is some
worthwhile material here if you are truly willing to suppress your inner critic. It’s just that by the nth
time hearing it, it has lost whatever appeal it had to begin with...and that is the fate that the lead single, along with the rest of the record, suffers from. Finger Eleven attempts to slow things down with two soul searching ballads, “Ordinary Life” and “Love’s What You Left Me With.” Unsurprisingly positioned towards the end of the album, they are not heart-warming, they are not tragic, and they certainly are no different from your run of the mill mainstream rock power ballads. In essence, all these songs manage to do is provide a resounding thud that echoes the uninspired personality of the album as a whole. Life Turns Electric
suffers from a lack of originality and a lack of catchiness, two flaws that no mainstream rock album can survive when mixed together.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Life Turns Electric
has its place. Like some of the terrible albums of my own past listening history, it could perhaps wean some poor soul off of Ke$ha or Radio Disney. Maybe it will show the light to someone who is just getting into music, or someone who hasn’t heard enough mainstream rock to be put off by the album’s mind boggling unoriginality. It might also pass the time as background music while grocery shopping or getting your teeth pulled at the dentist. But for anyone who has had the pleasure of listening to…oh, how to put this delicately…real
music, Life Turns Electric
is another shameless money grabber that would be best to just ignore.