Review Summary: They're gonna need a lot more than a golden tricycle to hook me.
There's nothing wrong with silly music.
Heck, I listened to Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" a gazillion times more than the serious original by that one rapper no one listens to anymore.
With nicknames like "Phatty", "Chapstique", and "Crouton", you can tell which side of the fence Family Force 5 falls into. Family Force 5 has always been about partying, dancing, and screaming about pointless things. It's been hit or miss, with some songs being so ridiculous they come off as actually good. "Kountry Gentlemen" from their first album is a prime example. What the heck is a country...er...”kountry” gentleman? What does that have to do with blitzkrieg rapping about mama's fried chicken and having a dance off? Why am I still listening? Well, because it's surprisingly entertaining. It’s not like S.O.D.’s Speak English or Die funny, but it’s still comical.
The music style for the first two albums was called "crunk" by the band. Interpreted into non-ghetto terms, this means a mix of screamo punk, techno, hard rock, and hip hop. Fairly original, actually. Only a handful of bands have attempted to put that many contradictory genres together. To top it off, they have a slightly Christian undertone to their songs. "Love Addict" states "It's better than drugs, in fact it's sent from above." This has inexplicably landed them tours with Christian artists from Tobymac to Mercy Me along with more understandable alternative acts such as 3OH!3.
With lll, Family Force 5 seem to pine for mainstream pop airplay. Ditching the genre hopping in favor of straight up synth pop, Family Force 5 butcher every good attribute the band had, leaving you with an obnoxious set of songs that aren't even funny.
Surprisingly, the albums highlight, “Paycheck”, is a more serious song about living in hard economic times. Though Family Force 5 have managed to release a couple decent serious songs in the past like the focused “D-I-E 4 Y-O-U” and the mellow “How in the World” both off Dance or Die, it still reflects poorly on a band known for their wackiness. “Not Alone” is another more serious number, though this ballad falls flat after pulling off every mainstream rock cliche worthy of Nickelback’s new album.
Album opener "Can You Feel It" couldn't be more ironic. Though it is the closest musically to the bands back catalog with its heavy guitar/synth riffing and punky screams, it sounds like a bland rehash of their previous batch of successful songs. The lyrics hit on the same tried and true theme of club dancing, only sounding more generic and uninspired than usual. This song was also used for a trailer of the Hasbro Battleship movie. Like movie like song.
All the other tracks fall into two categories: teenage “love” (crushes) and dancing at the club. Inspirational. As one might expect from an album with ten songs that clock barely over thirty minutes, the music rarely drifts from predictable synth pop. Just what we this world needs most!
Is Family Force 5’s third album a charm? No.
III strikes, and it’s out.