Review Summary: Maybe the final nail in the coffin for The Rasmus.
The Rasmus were never known for their musical prowess, but rather the catchiness of the tracks that made up some of their poppy yet fun records. It took them a while to find their feet, but with 2001's Into they crafted an interesting record with a lot of mainstream appeal. Their most successful albums, 2003's Dead Letters and follow-up Hide From The Sun saw them following the path of fellow Finnish act HIM, becoming a bit heavier and darker, suiting them most. After dropping a lackluster record, Black Roses which was a diluted version of their previous two albums, The Rasmus lost the attention received in the previous years. Now, in a middle of an identity crisis, they chose to forward the over polished sound in an attempt to recover the already diminished fame. Going for the self titled album trickery, this isn't a reborn of any sorts, but more of an exchange of guitars with synthesizers.
The restrained heaviness previous albums held is gone here, turning up one of their most bland and radio friendly record. There is nothing here to keep the listener interested. Also, while the other albums had some key tracks that kept the audience interested by putting the album on repeat several times, here they will just be turned off by the flatness and simplicity of the instrumentation and the superficiality of the lyrics. Lead single, "I'm A Mess", might be the most representative track, fusing the synth-led riffing with the basic electronic drum pattern over which lead singer croons some teenager targeted lyrics like "I don't know who I am/ Am I even human?/[...]I forgot your birthday" etc. Maybe for a 14-year old this might mean the world but for everyone else is pretty much shtick. And "I'm A Mess" of the most solid tracks here, along with opener "Stranger". The two tracks sound pretty much alike, the drumming being the same, only the guitar on the latter has some presence. These two pale in comparison with previous songs, but here they stand out as solid.
Another annoying thing about The Rasmus is the big number of ballads or power ballads found here. Half of their eponymous album is dedicated to them, each one being worse than the other. "Save Me Once Again" tries to duplicate their okay (not good, just okay) single off Black Roses, "Justify", while "Somewhere" is a sunny day pop song going over five minutes without going anywhere. The sad thing is the band doesn't even try to do something different with any of them, they only go for radio appeal not even caring for replay value or at least coming up with something worthy. Hell, the songs aren't even distinguishable in between them. Spinning The Rasmus once is enough to hear everything it has to offer. Even the so called rockers here are stripped of most of the guitar power to follow the trend of going for as much disco appeal as you can without losing it. There is nothing here as heavy (in their own terms) as "In My Life" (which might be their hardest hitting song), as interesting as "Still Standing", "The One I Love", etc. or even as catchy as "In The Shadows", "Chill" or "Immortal".
As a conclusion, this might be the final nail in the coffin for The Rasmus, at least for those who are still following the band. Black Roses was a rather weak record, but this is turgid compared to it. Don't waste your money or time on this, just give the aforementioned albums a spin, it's a lot more fun, at least for nostalgia.
Not sure if I will bother with reviewing it tho, but I felt that it had a lot of charm to it. True, the album is repedative as hell, and there's no reall build up. But I found myself enjoying it quite a bunch. It's a really relaxed album and it sounds like you're annoyed by the fact that this album doesn't sound like Dead Letters? Agreed, this is not a rock out album, but if you just want to put on a overall not bad album a late night after work or something, I think this will be appealing to someone.
I'm annoyed because after listening to those albums, this feels like a step back. I think their most relaxed album is Into, which again is poppier, but showcases some really cool songs. This album just feels uninspired.
Of course this will be appealing to some people, but put in line with their previous work is disappointing. Thanks anyway, you could try and write down your opinion. This is the way I feel about this, maybe I'm too harsh.
Thanks Paperback! They're a lighter version of HIM if you've heard of them. They have some great songs and albums. For example, if you wanna check out, listen to Dead Letters. It's their most solid work.
This album shows that The Rasmus are evolving yet staying true to their original sound. The image is up to date and so is the introduction of some electronic effects. Pauli's guitar skill have gone up a notch and he has made a Remix for the CD available in Japan which I hope will be available on itunes! Stranger is one of the best tracks and I'm a mess is an official song for the Athletics Championship held in Helsinki - already a hit in Finland! They have a very strong "Fan Base" who have given all tracks their seal of approval. It should do very well especially as they have many Sold Out Concerts on their upcoming tour!
Great, but leaving aside their success (which is still there because everybody loves electronic music nowadays), they haven't upped their previous albums that remain their opuses (Dead Letters, Hide From The Sun). Musically, they just follow the trend, which is worse than going your own way and try to do something different. Of course if you are a big fan, you'll dismiss anything I'd say.
If you wanna talk about selling out stadium it's because they have gathered fans along the years, not necessarily new fans, man. I can't tell in all honesty how Pauli's guitar skills have gone up a notch since most of the record he is playing some power chords and some finger picking there for the ballads. Then for the most part he is muted or absent. But then again, if you are a huge Rasmus fan, I'm talking for myself. I like them too, but the direction they took lately is indulgent. I'm curious though to listen to that remix cd to see what you're saying.
I believe the guitar skills have gone up a notch because they are more relevant. As I said in my review, the guitars on Dead Letters were dull and made only to be catchy, here the guitars adds to the atmosphere of the whole album especially on Stranger which in my opion is as good as it is because of the guitars. I am an The Rasmus fan, but I don't dimiss your opinions, this is just what I believe. Black Roses however, THAT was a bad album in my opinion.
Yes, maybe they are more subdued, but moving towards such a radio friendly sound is what kills this. Black Roses was a bad album, but even there they had more muscle, musically speaking. That's how I saw this record and this is the opinion I made after listening to it. I respect your opinion and yes, Stranger is the best song here.