Hollywood Undead – Notes From The Underground

Charlie Scene Still Drinks Mickey 4-0’s And Danny Still Knows You Ladies Want Him To Beat Your Cheeks…Um, yeah

hu_notes_originalRelease Date: January 8th, 2013
Label: A&M/Octone/Polydor/Universal Music Group
Rocks Like: Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Korn
Recommended Track(s): Up in Smoke
Rating: **

Hollywood Undead was born of the Myspace age; a golden time consisting of ‘coon tails, scene queens and Live Journal. Now here we are in 2013, 8 years after J-Dog and Deuce posted their track “The Kids”, and a Deuce-less Hollywood Undead is now releasing their third studio album – and surprisingly they are still a thing. Notes from the Underground is an attempted coming of age album, though the efforts were futile, as Charlie Scene (albeit, stating that he is indeed pushing 30) still admits to drinking “Mickey 4-0’s” and uses the word weenie. Um, yeah.

“True to their nature, the album features horror inspired songs and pseudo-offensive lyrics about the things Hollywood Undead is going to do to your booty, whilst the other tracks serve as evidence of their attempt at musical evolution.”

There are a lot of the same antics as seen on their previous albums, the party tracks are womanizing and filled with typical “haters-gunna-hate” lyrics which act as fodder to their egos. The slower, more “emotional songs” seem as though the line between being inspired by and straight up covering Linkin Park has gotten so thin that they seem to unknowingly cross it from time to time.

The album starts with an ominous yet over-the-top nursery rhyme, before the Korn-esque guitars and the rest of Hollywood Undead stumble in on “Dead Bite”. It wouldn’t be a Hollywood Undead intro track if it didn’t include hate lyrics and roofie laced drinks (wait, were roofie lyrics ever badass in the first place? Pretty sure they weren’t.) A couple tracks later we’re given “Another Way Out”, a “whoa” filled track with a catchy cut-and-paste melody that ruthlessly invades your head, sticking for days. I have to admit, those “whoas” are kind of endearing.

The tracks then lead in to “Lion” which (intentional or not) has all the makings of a Linkin Park tribute, with a juxtaposition of a soft, piano backed hook with massive smashing guitars, and aggressive verses. Then typical Hollywood Undead shenanigans return with “Pig Skin”, and I can guarantee you this party-track is definitely NOT about football.

Hollywood Undead strips down emotionally (you were hoping I was going somewhere else with that, weren’t you?) on “Rain”, an acoustic track with a soft, gentle hook. They also show their softer side on the track “Believe”. Danny’s clean vocals have a more generic R&B feel on these songs giving the tracks a more ready-made radio-friendly sound. An “A” for effort attempt at growing with their fans. “Medicine” and “Outside” both reach for their metal roots with heavier riffs and Danny’s experimentation with his vocal range and style – though sadly their sound has evolved into generic radio-rock-rap which threatens a very Kid Rock ending for Hollywood Undead.

Perhaps I’m blinded by nostalgia, jaded by the sheer audacity of the first Hollywood Undead tracks I ever heard, or maybe, just maybe Hollywood Undead really have matured and are looking for a real paycheck this time round. The album title is misleading, Notes from the Underground sounds a little more like a playbook for entering the mainstream.

1. Deadbite
2. From the Ground
3. Another Way Out
4. Lion
5. We Are
6. Pigskin
7. Rain
8. Kill Everyone
9. Believe
10. Up in Smoke
11. Outside
12. Medicine
13. One More Bottle
14. Delish

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