Review Summary: There are some occasionally great moments on this CD, but it's pretty much hit and miss... that is, if you're willing to give it a chance.
It’s something that’s almost impossible to do… to look beyond Crazy Town’s one hit “Butterfly” as a representation of Crazy Town in general. Crazy Town is a reviled band, generally agreed to be a musical joke.
I was walking downtown one day, when I stumbled on a vendor who was selling CDs for 2 bucks a pop on the street. I already owned most of the CDs on that tray, but Crazy Town’s second album, “Darkhorse”, caught my eye. At 2 dollars, how could you go wrong" Plus I already had a coffee in my hand, so I figured I could blow 2 bucks on something that’s either going to be easy to laugh at, or at least contain 1 or 2 good songs.
I must say, this disc surprised me. I had no expectations, which may have helped, but this is a solid, if fairly average modern rock release. Crazy Town is known to play rap-rock/nu-metal, but this album tones down (though not completely abolishes) the rap side of the band.
“Decorated” opens the album up and gives the listener an idea of what’s in store for them. There’s a nice, big chunky riff, some rapid fire vocals, and a decent hook (“De-de-de-de-de-de-decorated!”). “Hurt You So Bad” is a pop/rock tune and features a solo by Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, and was the 2nd single off the album and it shows. It’s a very light rock song, and the title alone should give you an idea of what it’s about. This wouldn't sound out of place on modern rock radio, alongside, dare I say Nickelback, or Fuel.
“Drowning” was the first single and is the strongest song here. Again, the guitars are big, loud, and down tuned and there are some pretty angry lyrics. The hook in the chorus will reel you in, to be sure, and this song shows passion from the two singers. The same goes for the following track “Change”, which is one of the most prominent rap oriented songs here. The strong lyrics and delivery of the singers helps the song transcend the genre it belongs too, thus turning it into a fairly memorable track.
The problem with the album is when it sucks, it seriously blows. I’m trying to be nice here, but the tough-guy posturing of “Waste Of My Time” is almost unlistenable. The yelling in the chorus doesn’t come across as angry or passionate, it sounds more like a kid that didn’t get to rent a videogame on the weekend and is throwing a tantrum, not to mention the terribly composed riffs.
The token ballad “Sorry” is also pretty bad… the land of the wimpy ballad is one this band should never venture again.
The album picks up steam after these missteps with “Battle Cry”, one of the hardest songs here and one that wouldn’t sound out of place on something like a Powerman 5000 album, but then it falters again on “Skulls And Stars”, which sounds like an even worse version of “Butterfly”, as if that were possible.
So my overall thoughts on this album is when it sticks to being a straight up rock CD with occasional rap touches, it works fairly well for this genre, and even surprises with some occasional bursts of really hooky songwriting, especially with the first five songs on this album. When it tries to step away from this basic formula and attempts to be something its not, such as act like a bunch of misogynistic tough guys on “Waste Of My Time”, or do a straight faced The Calling-esque ballad attempt on “Sorry”, it utterly fails and it becomes almost laughable.
If you’re curious, I would say give it a whirl, you’re either going to dig it or have already made up your mind on it. I can safely say, with my lowered expectations, I have heard some way worse albums. Your call!