Zebrahead
Broadcast To The World


4.0
excellent

Review

by Fox83 USER (9 Reviews)
March 1st, 2006 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


Zebrahead is yet another one of those "I-can't-believe-they-haven't-hit-it-big" bands that have consistent staying power in the music industry. For those who haven't heard of them, they formed in 1996 in Orange County, CA. By 1997, producers and labels were fighting over a band who had the ideal SoCal sound - punk/pop/rap/and a pinch of ska/reggae influence. Waste of Mind was released in 1998 under Columbia records. Two years later, the more humorous and pop effort, Playmate of the Year was released. In 2003, MFZB was released - a much more serious/straightforward punk rock effort which garnered new fans and lost some core fans, but the biggest controversy in the fan community was the eventual leave of lead singer, Justin a year after MFZB's release. In a year and one month, Zebrahead acquired a new singer (Matty), wrote 3 1/2 albums worth of material, recorded 2 1/2 albums worth of material, and released an album (only in Japan at this point) in early 2006 which made #1 on Japan's international charts. Their new album is entitled, "Broadcast to the World."

Zebrahead is:
Matty - Lead Vocals
Greg Bergdorf - Guitar
Ali Tabatabee - Lead Vocals
Ed Udhus - Drums
Ben Osmundson - Bass


01. Broadcast to the World - A song about going all out in society and accepting wanting everything right now in life. The title track opens with unique guitar effects. Anyone who knows guitar effects may know how to define the sound. It's almost like elongated harmonics. Regardless, Greg (guitarist) is expanding his sound a bit since Zebrahead's previous efforts, and he's setting it out on the table from the get go. The bridge is especially notable - just pure raw energy as they erupt into the final chorus. In fact, I think the bridge is a bigger payoff than the verses or the chorus - a guitar chug/lyric spewed effort which grabs your attention at first listen. This song seems to be placed as the first track not because it's the catchiest offering or attention getter, but because it's harder and edgier than ZH's usual work, and it aids in the mindset this album has which will be discussed as the review goes on. A great way to light the fuse. ****

02. Rated "U" For Ugly - A track about a superficial girl, this song really showcases every aspect of what this album offers collectively. It's the subtleties that ZH have picked up for the better on this album. In the past, catchy riffs invaded the intro, buildups, choruses, and the bridges. Now the band is breaking into the verses - something not too often approached at because the majority of ZH's verses involve Ali rapping. On this track, however, Ali's lyrics aren't as isolated as Matty and Greg harmonize their guitars as they flow from one note to another. Unlike their last album, Zebrahead have injected some humor into their songs. This isn't too big of a departure considering Playmate of the Year was extremely relaxed and fun lyrically. Ultimately, as already mentioned, this song highlights the greatest aspects of this album - more fills, memorable riffs, catchy payoff chorus, and great vocal delivery from a singer who had to fill the void left by a well established member of the band. ****1/2

3. Anthem - Anthem begins with Ali rapping, "I got a girlfriend/ Only she don't know it yet/I got a six string best friend/ Who sleeps with a broken neck." 'Anthem' is a fun and extremely catchy effort - garnering its selection as the albums first single. The lyrics are all about letting the "good times roll" and shout out to all the misfits who feel they don't belong. Nothing too groundbreaking in the lyrical department, but Ali provides some interesting verses, and the bridge is a memorable chant-fest which could be one of the biggest crowd pleasers at any of their concerts. This song sticks to ZH's tried and true formula better than any of the songs on this album and it is one of the most accessible efforts you’ll find here. ****

4. Enemy – ZH gets shades darker and it pays off. While the chorus isn’t as catchy or memorable as the album has proven to be so far, the verses are as catchy and hard-hitting as ever. The beginning of this track features the band faded in the background as Matty asks, “If I died, would you notice" Would you even care"” This is weakest part of the album due to Matty’s feigned SoCal accent (think Tom DeLonge saying the same lyrics). It takes away from the overall punch this song delivers, but fortunately it’s just the opening five seconds of the track and you never hear spoken word again. This song is an example of how paying attention to the bass work really pays off – as the song wouldn’t be the same without it. Ben goes from one note to another and enjoys the view along the way with fills and riffs which set the tone for this raw effort. Great track, great new sound! ***1/2

5. Back to Normal – ZH adds different production to their sound as ‘Back to Normal’ opens with Matty singing along with simple guitar chords and interesting keyboard effects which soften the sound of the song. As the rest of the band kicks in however, more energy consumes the song. It’s a mid-tempo pop effort by the band. The chorus almost sounds as if it were taken straight from Mike Herrera’s songbook – for those who are into MxPx; this may be the perfect song for you to access into ZH’s sound. The chord progression of the verses reminds me a bit of “Lady” by Lenny Kravitz. The tempo is almost identical, and the sound is very similar. Overall, this is a track that shouldn’t be missed as it slows down an otherwise high strung album. ****

6. Postcards from Hell – Great guitar riff to open up this one (don’t worry, drums are going to have their moment further in the album). Greg taps his way into band accompaniment. Ali spits out lyrics faster than any other track this album has offered and it pays off. Break-neck speed from the verses is met with an extremely catchy and lyrically memorable chorus. Matty sings, “Tonight I wash my hands of you/ You set the bar I could not live up to/ Tonight the light is breaking through/ So thank you very little/ And send me postcards from hell.” Take a close listen as you hear Ed providing some outstanding high hat fills. This song really lightens the mood before falling deep into the dark territory of the following track… ****

7. Karma Flavored Whisky – A melancholy acoustic introduction isolates Matty’s vocals as he sings several verses, such as “If this is it, then I've given all I can/ The road that leads to nowhere has fallen in my hands.” As much as Matty has proven himself a capable lead singer, his power lies in the songs which are hit on higher notes and strength behind his delivery. When performing somber vocals, Matty just can’t pull it off. You could blame poor production, but the production of the album has been consistently great up until this moment. It’s as if this segment found its way into the song from the cutting room floor without any tailoring to the fact it sounds like someone recorded it on their home PC with a ten dollar microphone and SoundRecorder32. Regardless, it’s only an intro – as the rest of the song is a metal-influenced effort which punches right into Matty’s half hearted effort. Bass drums are rattling, guitar solos shred halfway into the song, and the chorus almost redeems Matty for his sub par effort at the beginning of this song. This is hands down the hardest song on the entire album. It definitely stands out, and is highly recommended if you’re looking into the harder side of Zebrahead. ****1/2 (would’ve been 5 without the introduction)

8. Here’s to You – While ‘Anthem’ is catchy, this was the song that had it beat. ‘Here’s to You’ is a toast to the girls who have screwed you over in life, and it’s delivered in the catchiest way possible. It’s very reminiscent of ‘Hello Tomorrow’ off of their last album, MFZB in terms of tempo and overall structure. The song wouldn’t be the same without Ali’s small contribution, and Matty’s vocals are layered with harmonies as the rhythm of the song bounces throughout. Although the overall chord progression is fairly commonplace particularly in the pop/punk category, it’s executed in outstanding fashion, and several lyrical pitfalls are overwhelmed by energy and enthusiasm. Any fan of pop/punk or powerpop should look into this song, it beats a lot of other efforts in the genre. This album couldn’t go without this song to lift its mood. *****

9. Wake Me Up – The attention getter of this song breaks through from the start as Ed pounds through several measures of high-speed drumming which aptly transcends into the song itself. Greg uses a tone much similar to Playmate of the Year as he riffs into Ali’s staccato lyrics, “I want a wrecking ball/ I want to break it all/ I want to jump the track/ Fade the day to black.” – certainly not the most profound and unique lyrics, but this song provides a better realization of Ali’s attempt to draw listeners into this album more by incorporating chant-like buildups and verses. This makes the songs more memorable and accessible, which has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Back on track, however, ‘Wake Me Up’ isn’t a standout track by any means, yet it transcends above filler status by not overstaying its welcome and providing yet another crowd pleaser in their already thick set list. ****

10. Lobotomy for Dummies – Having a much similar tempo to ‘Wake Me Up,” this song a potential track to overlook. It is a great song with chant-like buildups and a catchy chorus that you’ll have stuck in your head for days – but it’s unfortunate that Zebrahead chose to place it directly after a song like “Wake Me Up,” which slightly outdoes this one. Certainly a great offering to an album like this – don’t pass it up, but you just might want to set your player on ‘random’ so you can appreciate it a little more… ***1/2

11. The Walking Dead – With the exception of the instrumental bridge, ‘The Walking Dead’ fails to take a hold of such a strong album. It lacks catch in sound, and it is too midtempo to be either a ballad (which this CD has lacked so far) or a harder-edged song such as ‘Karma Flavored Whisky.’ I could go into further detail about the song and it’s overall structure and whatnot, but to put it simply, this song is the one song I have found to be closest to filler. It’s blends fairly well with the overall album’s sound, but can’t break much further past that mold. A stunning B-side, yet slightly lackluster in any other context. ***

12. Your New Boyfriend Wears Girl Pants – This one throws you for a loop because it has a humorous title, and it turns out this song is the ONLY (power)ballad on the album. While some would compare this song to a New Found Glory or Simple Plan ballad, it’s a fairly blatant Zebrahead ballad attempt that offers up much of what ‘Dear You’ off of MFZB did. Ali raps between verses and choruses sang by Matty, and the various pop essentials are added into the mix – Synth strings, echoed harmonies, etc. So far, it may seem the opinion on this song is a little split, and in a way it is. For those who are fans of bands like NFG and Simple Plan, you will most likely cry to this song as you think of your latest high school crush (or even grade school, who knows). To those of you who appreciate unique high octane punk rock that Zebrahead has so far successfully delivered, it takes an open mind to appreciate this encore-begging effect this song has on the listener. I personally find it an impressive track and more importantly a great album closer. ****

13. Riot Girl – The Japanese import of this CD contains both this song and “Down in Flames.” I honestly don’t know why these songs are incorporated more into the album as a whole. As soon as the track opens, one of the singers (most likely Matty) screams, “Alright!” and the band blares into another high-energy piece of work. The lyrics are a bit on the cheesy side, but the overall effectiveness of the song as a hold remains intact. The chorus is particularly impressive as Matty simply harmonizes “Whoa-oh’s” as a backdrop to Ali’s sharp lyrics. ‘Riot Girl’ has a more raw/garage band appeal than most songs offered by the band in the past. It’s a testament to the band’s desire to evolve from their last album. A great track, and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. ****

14. Down in Flames – Greg opens with some wa-wa chord repetition as breaks into his verse with the occasion band involvement as they shout with certain points within his lyrics (i.e. band: “Love kills! Love kills!” Ali: “Like a vendetta left breathing so my guts will spill”). As a fan of the band, it’s hard not to notice the most remarkable similarity between former singer Justin and new singer Matty as he hits the higher notes in the chorus. ‘Down in Flames’ fails to disappoint and does not associate with filler status whatsoever. It’s a quick punch before the album’s encore is over, and like the majority of songs on Broadcast to the World, it’s memorable and makes up what this album is all about as a whole. ****



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user ratings (137)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
NEDM
March 1st 2006


1113 Comments


Pretty nice track-by-track, but I prefer overall reviews in the long run. Zebrahead have never been anything in my eyes, as you mentioned in the first paragraph. They just never had any music accessible to people that like all different genres.

Zebra
Moderator
March 1st 2006


2647 Comments


Zebrahead make decent pop/punk music, I don't own this but have heard other albums.
Nice tbt. You did a nice job giving an extremely detailed view on each track.

labonza01
March 1st 2006


546 Comments


good review, it makes the album sound great. zebrahead is one of my favorite bands and im rabidly excited to get my hands on this, too bad i have to wait, since i live in america.

Cross Out The Eyes
March 4th 2006


42 Comments


Are all the songs slow?

nirvana_gate7
March 19th 2006


19 Comments


Zebrahead is my favourite band and I totally agree with the review.

Descendent
April 28th 2006


6 Comments


This is THE BAND. Rated U for Ugly is the best song of the album and it is the best album of Zebrahead.

clownshoe
May 18th 2006


1 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

truth of the matter is, I love zebrahead but the new vocalist sucks and turned a funky punk band into emo. Emo is for sad children, no socal burnout wants to listen to you cry about how much you hate your X for 12 outta the 14 tracks. stop pandering to a changing audience and play shit your hxc fans are into. as far as i'm concerned, their albums have gotten progressively worse

labonza01
May 20th 2006


546 Comments


mfzb was awesome though, one of my favorite albums of all time.

atticus2sweet
May 30th 2006


1 Comments


i love zebrahead to death
but when i heard that they got a new singer i freaked
......

Descendent
June 6th 2006


6 Comments


Broadcast to the world Release Dates:
June 30 in Germany and July 3 in rest of Europe.


Gilly-Maloo
September 4th 2006


103 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really like this album, it's actually heavier than I thought it would be, Broadcast to the World and Anthem are my favourite songs.

Isola
October 3rd 2006


421 Comments


Is this album hard to get? Never heard of them, but they seem interesting.

labonza01
November 3rd 2006


546 Comments


i finally got this album, it's great, i love it. the if only justin were still in the band, everything is improved on. Seeing these guys with Authority Zero on the 22nd, im freakin excited.

godLike
November 3rd 2006


126 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I only like three - four songs on the record, but I think they're good in what they doing, even I don't like all of the songs.



ohcleverhansyou
January 9th 2007


885 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This band reminds me that, in my heart, I always had a thing for some pop punk.

chaostheory93
July 27th 2007


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is awesome in my opinion. I've always liked pop punk, and then they add originality by adding rap into the mix. This is the first band i've ever heard where you can rap and mosh at the same time. This is cleary shown on "Karma Flavoured Whisky". Absolutely amazing!

meliffy18
July 27th 2007


50 Comments


woah, i didn't even know zebrahead was still around. i'm gonna check this out.

lordlanky
December 7th 2007


53 Comments


zebrahead are awesome, i only heard of them a few weeks ago, i was browsing through youtube and found a video for the song 'wake me up' and i was like "holy s*** this is a wicked song"

so i searched 'zebrahead' in youtube and found 'Anthem' & 'Over The Edge' and that was enough evidence for me to assume that zebrahead weren't 1-track-wonders who sucked on everything else, so i ordered this album and i loved it, this will be played in the car for months to come!

andiamo
September 26th 2008


9 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

clownshoe, are you 11? or 12?



I really like walking dead! it's like, zebrahead tries to make every song into an anthem, and this song finally is just a song...



i thought the 2008 album reviewer said something alike?

Gerbilman
October 10th 2009


12 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I reckon Walking Dead is undoubtedly one of the best here - only second to Anthem.



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