Review Summary: Swan Songs part 2: A constant rollercoaster between really good, and really bad.
Aron Erlichman (aka Deuce) is an American rapper from Los Angeles, California. He gained critical acclaim as the lead singer of the rap rock group Hollywood Undead and their hits such as “Everywhere I Go”, “Undead” and “Young”. In early 2010, it was announced that Deuce was no longer a part of Hollywood Undead, siting musical differences as the reason for his departure. Ever since his departure however, there has been a constant feud between the two sides where Deuce accused them for kicking him out unfairly and claimed to have written all the songs from “Swan Songs”, their debut album.
“Nine Lives” is Deuce’s debut album and it clearly carries on the sound Hollywood Undead created for themselves on their debut featuring lyrics about being intoxicated, sexual encounters, screamed vocals and mixing between the genres rock, hip hop, emo and metal.
As much as I thought I’d hate this album with all of my guts, I don’t. I find it really catchy and the first tree tracks “Let’s Get It Cracking”, “America” and “Help Me” are really enjoyable. Musically there’s nothing really impressive on “Nine Lives”, it features the same elements of “Swan Songs” with a solid mix of “party songs” and “rocks songs”. The songs are repetitive and all follow the same chorus-verse-bridge-formula. If this was a rock album by a full band, this would really set me off, but seeing how this is a rap album I don’t mind it being repetitive. It is meant to be fun and enjoyable, it’s not meant in any way to be an impressive piece of art.
There is one thing however that really sets me off about this album; it’s a constant rollercoaster between really good, and really bad. Each song features parts that are well written and catchy (mostly the choruses), while others are simply dreadful, most of them being so because of the quest artist, Jeffree Star in particular. I am normally not a person to criticize musicians and how they decide to go on with their business, but the case of Jeffree Star makes me a bit curious… I believe Deuce and Jeffree Star must be long time friends or something, because I can’t possibly imagine that when Deuce heard through Jeffree Star’s parts on the album that he thought it was anything above average. I like being open minded about musicians, which works for the other guest artists Truth, Ronnie Radke, Gadget, Veze Skante, Travie McCoy and Skee-Lo whom all adds to the songs quality, especially Ronnie Radke. I enjoy his work with Escape the Fate and Falling in Reverse, but I never in my wildest dreams imagined that he would actually RAP on “Nobody Likes Me”. To be fair, he’s the only thing I really enjoy about that track. But back to Jeffree Star… I really cannot look at him as a serious musician, especially with lyrics like these:
Second verse from “Feaky Now”
Pull my hair, scratch my back, beat me like Rihanna
I love ass to mouth & black cock like Obama
What? We showed you how to turn off the lights
So give me some ***in' Twilight neck bites
The album isn’t all bad though, and credit should be given where credit is due, and Deuce is a mastermind when it comes to writing catchy hooks, which are mostly the highpoint of every song. As for Deuce skills as a rapper… let me put it like this, there is a reason why he didn’t rap too much on “Swan Songs”. I won’t accuse him for being bad rapper, because he certainly has his moments to shine in the verses throughout the records, but there’s are also some really awful moments as well, like “Let’s Get it Crackin’” and his rapping parts on it.
As for the lyrics: given that Hollywood Undead were never ones to care about whom liked their lyrics or not… with “Nine Lives” Deuce has gone off the hook! The lyrics are hilariously bad: Half of them center round him being intoxicated and having sexual encounters (like most Hollywood Undead songs), but the other half featured whiney lyrics about his self-pity and how (actual song title) “Nobody Likes Me”. On tracks like “Nobody Likes Me” it is really hard to know either to take him serious or not, while on tracks like the cheerful third single “Help Me” even though it’s about him criticizing the criticism, you can have a good laugh about it. Especially with the video for the song which features Deuce wearing a mask resembling the face of former American president, George W. Bush. On “Swan Songs” it felt like Hollywood Undead still had some king of restriction as to how far and how direct they wanted to be with their lyrics. His lyrics are insulting and vulgar, and as much as I enjoyed the lyrics on “Swan Songs”, I am simply not able to enjoy them on “Nine Lives”, which is a really bad thing for a rap album.
First verse of “Let’s Get It Crackin’”
Here I come rubbin' on your girl's clit and on her bum
Oops, look what I found, a nice little wonder bra
She must be young, cuz I barely get on her rum
Next we turn the hips
So I can keep on rubbin' 'em
Broke a hole in her butt while I'm suckin' on her titties
That's fun, cuz I can do all three at once
Bust a nut, let it drip, drip from her tongue
Slut, I just gave you anal, you still licked it up
Deuce might be an ass that’s too damn full of himself, but he has managed to create and enjoyable debut, to some degree at least… If you enjoyed “Swan Songs” and doesn’t mind Deuce being a self-scented a-hole throughout the whole album, then you’ll probably like this. If you’ve never heard of him before, give the three first tracks a listen, if you don’t like them the rest won’t convince you either, but remember to keep an open mind for vulgar lyrics and such. If you didn’t like “Swan Songs” and thought it was too vulgar then wow, stay far away from this album!
The official release date of “Nine Lives” is April 21st, but the album is currently streaming ahead of its release date on Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/album/4BcR6RtLD3LQ5xee4gaxJv#