Review Summary: As long as Ronnie Radke is the ringleader, it’s hard to imagine Falling in Reverse getting much better than this.
Falling in Reverse has all the ingredients necessary to make a truly detestable band. Self-aware douchebag of a frontman" Check. Abominable sophomore slump rivaled only by the likes of Midheaven
and its ilk" Check. Generic instrumentation topped with an amateur vocal performance and laughably childish lyrics" Check, check, check. After a promising debut, Fashionably Late
failed to deliver on so many levels and suggested that Falling in Reverse were little more than a superficial, tactless group doing its damnedest to piss off its listeners. A quick glance at Just Like You
’s album art would reinforce that opinion. However, the band’s third album isn’t nearly as brazen (read: stupid) as its art suggests – bar a few songs – and, in fact, sees the band reach the mature realization that there’s a time to be silly and a time to be serious. Tracks are easily dividable into distinct categories, “catchy post-hardcore” and “hormonal electro-pop angst,” almost by their names alone. The lines between the nonsensical and the genuine are far more distinguished on Just Like You
, which makes for an unpredictable yet consistent(ly bizarre) listen.
There’s no doubt that Falling in Reverse can write enjoyable, poppy ear candy when they want to. The first two tracks demonstrate this immediately with their accessible leads and infectious choruses, while cuts like ‘Guillotine IV (The Final Chapter)’ and ‘Die for You’ show off the band’s aggressive side. Guitar chugs are mimicked on the bass drums resulting in machine gun-like riffs and breakdowns. The guitar work as a whole is admirable and draws comparisons to Avenged Sevenfold
’s heavier days, with a healthy balance between harmonized leads, power chord driven choruses and wild shredding solos.
The key element here is Ronnie Radke: He has the same hollow screams and whiny cleans as before, but as obnoxious as he may be, the man knows how to get a chorus stuck in your head. It’s this skill that allows the good tracks to shine and the bad tracks to reek of self-absorbed drivel. ‘Sexy Drug’ and ‘Just Like You’ have about as much substance and subtlety as the album cover does, the latter containing these deplorable lyrics: “I am aware that I am an asshole, I really don’t care about all of that though, I got nothing to prove, but honestly I’m just like you.”
Terrible; and for someone who really doesn’t care about his image, Ronnie sure brings it up a lot.
The stretch of tracks near the end is where things get confusing. After the cheeky ‘Get Me Out’ and the abrasive ‘Die for You’, the band slows things down with ‘Brother’ – a piano ballad dedicated to Ronnie’s brother Anthony Radke who was taken in a tragic car accident. It contains tender and sincere lyrics for a change, which provides stark contrast to the frivolousness of its preceding tracks and brings a welcome sense of humanity to the album.
So aside from the odd cringe-inducing rap passage and the odious “O – M – G”s, Just Like You
remains a largely listenable album. It polishes the novelty factor of the band’s debut and the silliness of Fashionably Late
and draws a clear line between the two styles, resulting in some of their most focused and fun songs to date. Regardless, Ronnie Radke still serves as the band’s erratic puppeteer, basking in his own insecurities and angst, forcing the other members to dance to his tune. As long as he’s the ringleader, it’s hard to imagine Falling in Reverse getting much better than this.
God, If You Are Above…
Guillotine IV (The Final Chapter)
Die for You