Hollywood Undead - Swan Songs
by Anthony Roman
(Denver, Colorado, U.S.A)
Hollywood Undead is a band that grew in popularity after releasing a series of songs on Myspace. They reached the tops of the charts and grew to gain several thousand fans, so they began work on their first official album; Swan Songs.
1. The first song on the album is "Undead", which went on to become one of their most famous. The song itself is a rage filled yelling rap about hatred for someone. As to who the song is directed at remains unknown. The problem with putting this song first on the album is that so many people will immediately write them off as a white boy gangster wannabe band.
When in actuality other songs on the album have much more character. I frankly love this song, despite the F-word being used around every few sentences, the sense of pure anger is satisfying to listen to.
2. "Sell your Soul" is the next song, this song is much more hard rock and less rap oriented. This is to the point that the chorus is actually a member of the band screaming. The song is less rage than "Undead" but maintains the similar sense of anger and disgust at some subject.
I absolutely love this song even though most people consider the screaming unnecessary I enjoy the guitar and sound of it.
3. "Everywhere I Go" is a rather odd change from the first two songs on the album. This song is purely about partying and getting wasted. Although a strange concept it is still a face of the band and their diverse musical talent.
I enjoyed this song to a degree, it is catchy and despite my general hatred for pop songs this was a very pleasant one to hear.
4. The next one is "No Other Place" and is a sort of party-ish song. More focused on bringing love to the band members home town L.A. in California this song is one of the less memorable but still not at all a bad song.
5. The cleverly named "No.5" is yet another party song. Geez, what happened between track 2 and 3? This song however is probably the best party song on the album. It attempts to blend guitar chords and a sort of screaming with their "get buzzed" lyrics and does so very smoothly.
I thoroughly enjoyed this song.
6. "Young" is arguably the best song on this album. Back to the serious rock/rap style full of angst and power. The subject of the song is about the youth of the world and how much they struggle and are oppressed.
A beautiful song with some real "sent chills up my spine" moments. This song is absolute art, even if the past few songs have been just partying.
7. The 7th song is "Black Dahlia" and is a song completely about heartbreak. And oh man does it do a good job at delivering. Again providing a more rock/rap style this song can truly describe the pain of heartbreak perfectly.
Albeit the song does make a reference to cutting at a point which may turn some heads, the sense of pain and drowning away sorrow is great in this song. Definitely listened to this on a few sob fests.
8. "This Love, This Hate" is an interesting song. Seems to be from the lyrics about death, it keeps the new found serious vibe of the album but really is split down the middle. The verses are accompanied by a light-hearted melody and sound relatively happy compared to most of the band's work. Yet the chorus is a much more back to form serious guitar chord with passionate singing about lies and the usual.
I enjoy the song quite a bit despite this strange split however.
9. The 9th track is "Bottle and a Gun". Just from the title sounds like a party song, however interestingly enough i would describe it more as a song one would "chill to". The sounds aren't too loud the singing isn't too intense, it frankly sounds like just a fun chill song. However on the meter from party to serious it is for sure more party derived.
I would describe this song as my secret love, because I adore listening to it even though the party songs are not my style.
10. As if "No Other Place" wasn't already a tribute to California, the song "California" surely is. This song is all about praising their home state and rapping about drinking and partying. The song does have a sort of nice guitar piece to it, however for people that can't understand the California scene it stands as one of the weaker tracks.
11. "City" for me is just as good if not better than "Young". Despite the title implying another party track this song is a complete serious rap about how humanity is destroying itself with war and violence. Absolute art again has been struck as the drums in the song perform a march pattern and is continued through the whole song.
A few good screams are used but it isn't overdone, and the passion and beauty of this track is incredible. This may be my favorite track, tied with the 14th.
12. Let's just say this is a song for the depressed. "The Diary" is a mellow rap about intense struggles with alcoholism and depression. Most people dislike it due to the whining nature of the song and it is understandable. Going on and on about how horrible life is doesn't sound like the next big single. But for one song out of the album, I feel it works.
You really have to have been through that to appreciate this song otherwise it comes off as drunken sadness. But to those who can understand where Johnny 3 Tears (The rapper in this song) is coming from it is a nice song to cry one's eyes out to.
13. Considered the weakest track on the album "Pimpin" is somewhere in between "Bottle and a Gun" and "No. 5". Relatively quite and mellow like the latter yet party oriented like the former.
It doesn't stand out at all simply because it doesn't sound nearly as passionate as the other songs. I recently gave it one more listen in hopes to save it and I can say that I like it more than I remember, but it still is the worst track on the album.
14. A tie for my favorite song right in between "Young" and "City", "Paradise Lost" is another work of art. This song is absolutely full of angst and pain describing what appears to be a man's struggle in faith.
Questioning God is something everyone will go through and it is perfectly reflected in this track. Intense and passionate this song stands as pure amazement.
It's no secret to me that most people gave Swan Song relatively poor reviews, but I personally believe that it is because no one has given the songs a good enough listen. Claiming that the entire album is rapping about nothing at all is false, with beauties like "Sell your Soul" "Young" "Black Dahlia" "This Love, This Hate" "City" "The Diary" and "Paradise Lost" all having deep meaning to them.
Yes, some songs don't stand out as well as others, and if the listener is not into the party scene then those tracks will be purely ignored, but they are good for what they are.
This may sound absolutely horrifying to some but I would give this album 4.5 stars out of five. It speaks to me in a way no album ever has and I love it, even though "Pimpin" really was a crappy song.
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About The Writer
My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.
If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.
Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot.
I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.