Review Summary: Falling in Reverse stop moving in reverse and take a step forward in their songwriting abilities
Ronnie Radke is a name that for most conjures images of mic-stand injuries and spousal abuse, rather than a musician. The infamous frontman has taken the douchebag rockstar image to heart, and credit where credit is due, it's thrust him into stardom. No matter how bad his musical endeavors are, people will forever know his name for his often illegal, always disgraceful actions, both onstage and off. “Coming Home” has been advertised for the longest time, as being the bands “mature” record, Falling In Reverse's “Deja Entendu” if you will, right down to an astronaut on the cover. And does it live up to the hype?
From start to finish, “Coming Home” stylistically is the band's tightest effort thus far, sticking to the, ahem, “space rock” style, at least musically. The instrumentation on this album is incredibly clean, with very heavy layers production. There isn't a single second on this album that isn't shiny and processed, with pretty synths hovering over the top of the crunchy, loud guitars. The production quality is very reminiscent of Thirty Seconds to Mars' debut album, which also featured incredibly polished guitars and synths. Another album this LP could be compared to, is Crown the Empires latest offering, “Retrograde”, both of them featuring pop/metalcore song structures with synths draped over the top. They are so similar in fact that it's shocking Falling in Reverse aren't signed to Rise Records yet.
However, this space-rock vibe does not carry over into the lyrics, which is the album's biggest issue. Despite the fact this album was sold as a pseudo-concept album, the albums lyrical rarely show anything of the sort. There is evidence here and there that this album may at one point have been intended to be a story-driven album, specifically the opening track, but whatever that could have been clearly was gradually given up on.
The album's lyrical highlight is definitely “I Don't Mind”. Whilst it's chorus lets it down massively, the verses are some of Ronnies most vulnerable, talking about how his fears of becoming someone like his mother have come true, with his addictions likened to hers, at one point blatantly pointing out his understanding that he is not a morally just person, accepting that people are going to remember him for his discretions rather than the positive actions he makes. The bland, contrived, downright vapid chorus however, completely ruin the emotional vulnerability of the track.
Of course, some of the lyrical content is intended as tongue-in-cheek, which is taken further by the bonus track “Right Now”, which is much more akin to their older material, even including the line “is Ronnie gonna have to smack a bitch? Too soon?”, and the track “Paparazzi”, the content of which is pretty self-explanatory. Had these tracks been on the main tracklisting, they would be much less forgivable, but as b-sides, they're pretty entertaining.
So, whilst “Coming Home” might be the bands' most mature effort thus far, it still has a lot of flaws which really prevent it from being the album that could have changed people's stances on the band. Here and there are glimmers of integrity and maturity, but a lot of it is weighed down by the album's lesser moments, which for the most part lie in the lyrical content. If Ronnie were to ditch the anthemic sing-a-long choruses and non-poetic approach to “I hate all my fake friends, I hate the world, woe is me” (if he literally sang those exact lines on this album, it would hardly be surprising) then they might get somewhere. This album shows the first hint of potential in the bands' discography and the first of their albums that deserves a chance to be heard.