Review Summary: Day of the Dead is a solid group album which brings back the uniqueness of Hollywood Undead, but the second half draws out the album.
Post-Swan Songs, Hollywood Undead has slowly fragmented into a collective of individual songwriters complemented by other band members. Both American Tradegy and Notes From the Underground were mediocre releases, lacking the flavor of what made Hollywood Undead unique. Even the band members admit that their songwriting during these time periods were not focused as a group. On Day of the Dead, however, the band holds strong unification and brings back the theme of their unchanging Hollywood lifestyles which originally propelled their success.
The first half of the album is the epitome of good-time Hollywood Undead and packs a strong punch. "Usual Suspects" and "How We Roll" open up the album with hellishly enjoyable instrumentals and lyrics. Each member sounds a little different from the previous albums and they all possess strong a strong energy and drive. Danny's choruses complement the verses a lot more and Funny Man takes on a larger role. Johnny also goes a lot harder on the album, especially in "Usual Suspects." The 3 verses in "Usual Suspects" and the duo-rapping followed by an all-group chant in "How We Roll" proclaim what Hollywood Undead is about- simply having an obnoxiously fun time with each other. The group cracks overblown and lovable jokes such as: -"Huffing on some paint and I think that I'm half black." -"I got some low-lifes that I call my friends." and -"I flex nuts cause my arms are swoll." Speaking about the songwriting of these two tracks, Rapper JDog says, "We were literally walking around Sunset Boulevard. . . We started writing lyrics about the Sunset Strip." The resulting songs provide that sense of community and craziness that only Hollywood Undead can deliever. The following track, "Day of the Dead," furthermore reflects that unification but with more seriousness; JDog comments on the track, "We wanted to do something that represented our unity and the fans together." The same applies to the following two tracks. Each song has it's own subject matters and are diversified from the other tracks yet glued by the band's unity.
The second half of the albums backs away from that unity, with tracks composing of fewer band members, notably, "Take Me Home," "Does Everybody in the World Have to Die," and "Party By Myself." These tracks do add to the freshness to the album, but they draw out the album a bit too much. All the tracks are fast paced, and it is simply not possible for the listener's energy to be fully sustained by the end of all 12 tracks(even more on the deluxe version). The songs during this half also tend to be more ambiguous and do not possess as much fun references. For example, lyrics in "Take Me Home," and "Disease" are so amorphous in comparison to the first half of the album that it is kind of boring to hear abstract phrases that drone on such as: -"I see the truth through crimson eyes" and -"This is the moment that we won't be held down" because they do not showcase anything unique about Hollywood Undead and it's interacting members. The majority of the album's second half weighs the it down because of it's divisions and flaccid lyrics.
The band members themselves do not record instruments for their studio albums with the exceptions of a few songs. The instrumentations, however, fit well with the band members and are excellently mixed and produced. In fact, one of the songs, "Dark Places," is produced by band member JDog himself. The album has more of an electronic feel, notably in songs like "Usual Suspects," "War Child," "Does Everybody in the World Have to Die," "Party by Myself," and "Live Forever." Some fans enjoy it, some fans don't. However, one thing about this album and previous albums that more people are dissatisfied with is the over-production of songs. The problem with the over-polishing is that it retracts from the personal-vibe which some songs are supposed to reflect. Despite this, the songs generally deliever what they are supposed to deliever.
Overall, Hollywood Undead's "Day of the Dead" packs a unifying punch but gets drawn out during the second half. While all their albums are generally as long as this one, those ones are drawn-out too. Hollywood Undead should focus more on frequent releases and EPs rather than on tiresome, long, and serious records.