Let me completely honest with you, okay? I’m not much of a rap rock guy. It’s just not a genre that I fall back upon when I want to listen to something in my spare time. So when I was sent a Deluxe copy of Hollywood Undead’s Notes From The Underground, I was a little hesitant. But I figured, what the hell? Let’s do something a little different and see what happens. After all, isn’t that how people grow and expand? So I put on my headphones, plugged in, and hit ‘Play’. Read on for my thoughts.
The album opens up with “Dead Bite”, which begins with a somewhat eerie scratchy voice stating, “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bite” before a funky, heavy riff comes crashing in. It’s a mid-tempo track that has some hypnotic vocals, which drew me in.
The second track, “From The Ground”, started off with a piano and soft drums. I fully expected it to be a ballad, which confused me. “A ballad? This soon in the album?” Nope. I was dead wrong. Twelve seconds in and I’m hit with a thrash metal blitzkrieg before the guitars drop out and the drums and bass bring a snappy, catchy funk. Then the metal comes back in before a gentle chorus flows out. It’s a very scattered track that somehow flows very well together.
This stark difference between the first and second track became the theme of the album. Each track was different from the previous, making this one of those albums where you never know what’s coming next. For instance, after the first five tracks, which were very guitar heavy, there was “Pigskin”, which is a straight up rap song that I would expect to hear on most popular radio stations.
The production of the album is spot on. With so many different musical styles scattered throughout the album, you’d expect some tracks to suffer while others shine. Not so at all. Each track is multi-layered with interesting and fun mixes including great use of panning.
But not everything is puppies and sunshine. The chorus lyrics to “One More Bottle” (which appears on the Deluxe edition) are entirely juvenile, consisting almost entirely of “We got one more bottle of Jack, what the fuck we gonna do with it?/Let’s get fucked up!” followed by “So if you’ve got a little problem/there’s one easy way we can stop this/It starts with my dick in your mouth.” These aren’t lyrics that I’m going to sing aloud to any time soon. However, the music of the song is catchy enough that I simply focused on that and overlooked the lyrics.
To be honest, the lyrics throughout the album aren’t what I would call “poetry” and they certainly aren’t deep or meaningful. However, they are catchy, they are memorable and they will certainly get fans singing along at shows.
The Final Word: Color me surprised, but I really, really enjoyed Notes From The Underground. It suffers a bit from musical ADHD, but each track is very strong on its own. Hollywood Undead have kicked off 2013 with one hell of a bang.