He Is Legend
I Am Hollywood


5.0
classic

Review

by Matt Harrison CONTRIBUTOR (20 Reviews)
March 8th, 2014 | 76 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I don't believe in miracles, but I believe in you.

Call me a curmudgeon, scrooge, or even a fascist, but there aren't a lot of albums out there I truly consider "fun." Or at least not in a way that doesn’t force the critic in me to step aside for a moment. It's just not the way I generally approach music. That critic in me, full of unforgiving standards and cold, calculated scrutiny takes over when I press play, and he doesn’t easily drop the iron facade. Yet that’s not to say I don’t enjoy music; I wouldn’t write about it if I didn’t. I just personally don’t equate enjoying music to finding it “fun” because to me “fun” intrinsically implies a level of delight impervious to exterior feelings; it’s uncompromising ecstasy by definition. Yet all of this is simply to say that when I actually do find a record delightfully fun, and one that holds up under critical inspection, it’s something special.

He is Legend’s debut post-hardcore masterpiece I Am Hollywood is a record that remains, from beginning to end, tremendously entertaining, and even after ten years. Creative in the most refreshing sense, the album radiates talent during the course of its ten tracks with each member shining in equal portions. “The Walls have Teeth” fades in with a leading bass melody, providing the foundation for the entire song, and “Dinner with a Gypsy” flows as almost one continuous guitar solo, paying tribute to both the jazz and psychedelic eras. Truly, during the entire course of I Am Hollywood, the bass and guitar riffs are dynamic and catchy, the drum work imaginative and varied, and frontman Schuylar Croom’s vocals tirelessly ricochet between multi-octave spanning screams to some of the best cleans in the scene. It’s really quite astounding to find a record exhibiting so much color. To further iterate just how vibrant and unconventional the album is, opening song “The Seduction,” although one of the heavier tracks on the album, propels along with an energy and up-tempo that would even complement swing dancing.

Truly, the entire album beckons the listener to completely lose themself, and it’s incredibly easy to do so. “Eating a Book,” with its lively tone and playful lyrics like “there’s a monster in my room, we discuss movies over coffee, and I think it’s quite absurd,” is the album's closest thing to a post-hardcore Foo Fighters song, which is about as awesome as it sounds. “China White,” probably the best track on the record, drives forward at a similarly rapid pace until descending into a reflective break of heavy reverb guitars and Croom’s quiet crooning. The song then promptly ascends into one of the best chorus’ I’ve ever heard. It’s I Am Hollywood’s version of OK Computer’s ending to “Exit Music (For a Film),” “Let Down,” or “Karma Police.” Croom explodes with “I don’t believe in miracles, but I believe in you!” before soaring even higher into “I can’t wait till I can sleep in late, maybe I’ll miss you then with no garden to tend” that flies over equally reaching guitars. The song never fails to shake me to the core with just how triumphant it is, and moments like this are far-reaching and frequent.

The simple fact remains that I’ve yet to come across a record more entertaining in the post-hardcore genre than I Am Hollywood. Its energy is insuppressible, its lyrics clever and playful--ranging from fairy tale references, to Shakespeare, to the stereotypical girl problems almost every band sings about, yet with wittier quips and more intelligent insights than most of their contemporaries--and its songwriting exudes remarkable variance. If anything about I Am Hollywood is unfortunate it's that the record set the bar too ridiculously high for anything He is Legend has done since, or likely will ever do. Their two follow ups, while good in their own right, hardly hold a candle to their debut record that introduced me to the genre nearly nine years ago. It may be that I never find a post-hardcore record that blends such critical excellence and fun again, but that’s okay; I Am Hollywood is more than sufficient.



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user ratings (823)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
El. Psy. Congroo. (4.5)
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...


Comments:Add a Comment 
YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2014


1687 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Here's "China White." Check it out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSLBkc4a7hE

Futures
March 8th 2014


12425 Comments


Fuck yeah one of my favorite post-hardcore albums ever.

Digging: The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave

Scoot
March 8th 2014


17914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

they never came close to this again

Digging: Renounced - The Melancholy We Ache

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2014


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fucking love this album. The breakdown in the title track is one of my favorites of all time.

Azn.
March 8th 2014


5618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

they never came close to this again [2]

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2014


1687 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah, that song goes hard. I didn't mention it in the review, but it's a great closer.

Futures
March 8th 2014


12425 Comments


China White is one of my all time favorite songs

Recspecs
March 8th 2014


9831 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

You're goddamnfucking right

Recspecs
March 8th 2014


9831 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I can't tell you how many times I've belted out China White in the shower

Futures
March 8th 2014


12425 Comments


Same here

OwMySnauze
March 8th 2014


1110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

1st China White blows all the other sequels out of the water. Wish this was on vinyl.

Digging: White Arms of Athena - White Arms of Athena

Futures
March 8th 2014


12425 Comments


I would kill for this on vinyl

Pheromone
March 8th 2014


3862 Comments


Four 5/5 reviews in a row, like a pattern going on.

Digging: Jeremy Enigk - Return of the Frog Queen

Calc
March 8th 2014


12370 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

funny that I have this at a 4.5 yet consider it mad overrated, at least in comparison with their other stuff

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2014


3543 Comments


sweet-ass review fuck yea

Digging: Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

Green Baron
March 8th 2014


20327 Comments


I just realized we have four 5 reviews in a row on the homepage

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2014


1687 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Haha thanks brostep. It's been a record I've been meaning to review for a long time.

Masochist
March 8th 2014


8084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

they never came close to this again


Disagree, Scotty; 'It Hates You' is pretty boss. But 'I Am Hollywood' does hold a special place in the pantheon of my most revered albums.

Spec
March 8th 2014


27298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No love for Suck Out The Poison :[

Emim
March 8th 2014


26675 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Because Suck Out the Poison isn't as good.



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