By Samantha Neou Multimedia Assistant
The best thing about Hollywood Undead’s “Five” is the the album art. That’s not saying a lot.
Hollywood Undead consists of “five” members: Charlie Scene, Johnny 3 Tears, J-Dog, Funny Man and Danny. It’s impressive how they’ve managed to keep the band going despite losing their members Deuce and Da Kurizz. Still, that doesn’t mean this album is any good.
There are admittedly many songs on here that are catchy but only if you let yourself buy into what Hollywood Undead is. You’d have to let yourself be transported to a period of time when cheesy, angsty and rebellious songs were your anthems. Sadly, I’m not a part of that demographic anymore.
The first track, “California Dreaming,” is an okay progressive rock intro about the dualities Los Angeles carries. It’s a bit too dramatic, but an interesting observation. Charlie Scene sounds so much like Eminem on “Whatever It Takes” that it’s cringey, but the instrumentals are pretty cool. Danny’s vocals on “Bad Moon” are the only noteworthy aspect of this track.
“Ghost Beach” opens up nicely with light violins, acoustic guitar and R&B beats. The chorus is corny, but Danny’s vocals shine. It reminded me of the something the band The Neighbourhood would make, which isn’t a completely negative thing.
The fifth track, “Broken Record,” has one of the most laughable lyrics of the album: “It’s like I should just give up because I’m not legit.” It’d make sense to hear this on their first or second album because they’d barely be entering the music scene, but at this point in their careers, it’s sad to hear them still lamenting their (lack of a) legacy.
“Nobody’s Watching” sounds too much like My Chemical Romance’s song “SING.” There is a choir toward the end that makes the song slightly redeemable.
The electronic/hip hop-esque “Cashed Out” is reminiscent of their popular song “Comin’ in Hot” from their 2011 album “American Tragedy.” The band boasts about themselves, girls and money, which is unoriginal, but can be fun. Again, you have to buy into it.
“Riot” sounds like a typical electronic heavy jam, and the song would’ve been passable if the lyrics weren’t as nauseating as, “Fuck that shit! Let’s start a riot!” It just sounds like they want to start some anarchy for no reason at all, which, considering our political and social climate right now, sounds a bit thoughtless.
Hollywood Undead’s attempt at genre-blending and the messages they’re trying to convey is admirable. Still, their efforts overall on their fifth album aren’t enough to make it enjoyable or recommendable. It’s too corny and barely a step up from their previous work. The rapping is fine, but I would’ve liked to see more growth in lyricism and production. Instead they’re the same as ever, which might be a plus for long-time fans.
Not every fan base is necessarily looking for an artist to change their sound or provide a fresh take. When I was a teenager I liked Hollywood Undead, but personally I don’t want to hear generic ‘inspirational’ anthems over and over again on every album.