Sound — 8
In their fourth album, Hollywood Undead has clearly evolved. I mean, you have songs that range from music you'd hear off of Hits 1 ("War Child" and "Party By Myself") to spaghetti western ("Take Me Home"), gangster rap ("How We Roll") to some heavy stuff ("Day of the Dead" and "Disease"). It sounds absolutely amazing, as you would expect from a group four albums into their career. You have an amazing blend of overdrive guitars with synthesizers, and their already known mixture of both electronic drums and real drums.
Lyrics — 9
For the lyrics I'm going to go track-by-track.
1. "Usual Suspects" - this is about subject matter that the boys definitely aren't afraid to speak of. It is literally about a person going around, getting high and drunk ("I think I've lost my mind, but I'm feelin' so alive"), and eventually thrown in jail ("Lookin' through the bars and I see my city"). It is one of a few songs on this album that is familiar ground for Hollywood Undead.
2. "How We Roll" - again, this song is about having a night on the town. However, this one seems to be from the point of view of the band. We start with J-Dog and Funny Man trading rhymes back and forth, followed by Danny, and Johnny 3 Tears and Charlie Scene trading rhymes. The song is a very fun song to listen to and everything, but as we saw in "Usual Suspects," the boys take it a bit too far with a line that seems to refer to rape ("Our victim, forced into a six-some, and ain't nobody leavin' 'till all of our dicks cum"). But it's all made up for with the catchy chorus and even catchier bridge.
3. "Day of the Dead" - the first song we heard from the boys at HU, this is one of the heavier songs on the album. It combines overdrive guitars with some Spanish-style acoustic guitar, most prominently heard in the bridge. Danny and Charlie Scene appear the most in this song, with them both sharing singing duties and Charlie getting a verse. This song is for the fans of Hollywood Undead, about them. I believe this is probably one of the better songs on the album, mostly because I enjoy the mixture of both genres of music.
4. "War Child" - when I first heard the synthesized brass at the beginning of this song, I instantly thought it was Pitbull or something. I checked my phone, and it was Hollywood Undead. This song is obviously one of their well-known party songs. The pre-verse is great and catchy, with Funny Man making some more of his famous pop-culture references ("She like big dick and she cannot lie") and jokes. I figured this would be one of those songs where it'd get old after a few listens but I could not get enough of it. It's funny, and it's one of the last less-serious songs on the disc.
5. "Dark Places" - now we're getting serious. This song opens with Danny whispering "dark places" as a music box runs in the background. It's a fairly minimalist song, in terms of instruments, focused more on what J-Dog, Johnny 3 Tears, and Charlie Scene are saying. Much like the first track on "Swan Songs," "Undead," "Dark Places" is an attack song on their old label and people who thought they couldn't make it. J-Dog and Charlie focus more on the latter, where they say that they're gonna step on all of the haters on their way to the top, while Johnny talks more on the industry. J-Dog disses the industry as well ("This industry's a bitch and she'll rip your dick off") and Charlie seems to even make fun of himself, where he makes a joke about how he can't stop saying dick.
6. "Take Me Home" - one of my least favourite songs, "Take Me Home" has a vibe that kinda screams "Old West" yet still feels modern. Charlie Scene said that this song is based on spaghetti westerns, and they didn't think they could make a song like that. I do think this is a good song, but the story behind it turns me away from it. After hearing it, it seems more like they put it on there for the sake of having it on there.
7. "Gravity" - another serious song, this one's meaning is very obvious. It talks about how it was when they were still trying to make it in the music world, and how they wish they could go back. The video for this shows it very well. The band is inside a room performing without their well-known masks, with Charlie singing his bits at a bar, while some members are going around offering people these CDs that could very easily be demos.
8. "Does Everybody in the World Have to Die" - this is another song focused more on the lyrics, with a heavy "chorus." I have it quotes because there technically isn't a chorus, just two verses, a pre-chorus, and a bridge. It's very obviously about all the terrible atrocities people commit each day, from terrorism to school shootings. Johnny 3 Tears and J-Dog are sharing vocal duties on this song. There's not much else to say, other than the fact that it is great at getting it's message across.
9. "Disease" - the song starts off very familiar to most people. It sounds almost exactly like Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People," with the exception of the chorus and bridge. It's another serious song, but unlike "Dark Places," "Gravity," and "Does Everybody in the World Have to Die," it takes a bit more looking into. My interpretation of it is that it's an anti-authority song. The disease is the fact that we will do what we're told without question, and this is one of those songs that says to do the opposite, and stand up for your rights.
10. "Party by Myself" - this song couldn't have been placed anywhere else. It's right after 3 super serious songs, so we kinda need this to take our minds off of this large dose of reality we've just been given. Another song with only 2 vocalists, Charlie Scene and Funny Man share vocals on this song. They both have verses full of jokes and there's not one lick of anything serious in this song. Yet another song we'd expect to hear on the radio, it's Hollywood Undead up to their usual partying antics, but now they're keeping it going. Funny Man raps about how everyone's going home early, but the way he sees it, the party's just starting. He gets high and "grinds on the wall just to get some action." Charlie does the same, he "picks himself up" and goes out after the party's over to show everyone that he's still ready to party. This one's probably my personal favourite to try to sing along to, or attempt to, given Charlie's fast rapping halfway through his verse.
11. "Live Forever" - we're getting kinda serious again. This subject is tackled pretty often in music, the subject of living life to the fullest, because you don't live forever. They get that it can be bad, but that's what we're supposed to do ("It fucks me up, but it feels so good"). And like Charlie says, "Live right now, it doesn't matter if you're heaven or hell bound."
12. "Save Me" - the last track on the standard edition, this song is a more melancholy song. A song about lost love and what happens after, it's pretty dark. Think "Bullet" with more backstory and less happy instruments. J-Dog says that he's addicted to love, he can't get enough, but there's none left, and Johnny says that there's nobody left to love because there's too much hate. He ends his verse by saying that he's about to end everything for him, by jumping off of a building ("Standing on top of a building so, staring down now with the world below, halfway to heaven with nowhere to go, can anybody out there help me? No."). Along with Danny's plead of "don't even try to save me tonight," we can see that this guy's gone too far, and he believes there is no saving him from this end.
13. "Guzzle, Guzzle" - now onto the bonus tracks. "Guzzle Guzzle" is another party song, but unlike the others ("War Child," "Party by Myself"), this is a fairly minimal song. Funny Man and J-Dog sound like they're pretty beat out, which takes us to the serious side of this song. They do seem like this party is fun, but it's gone on too long, and they want it to keep going, because they're still buzzed. J-Dog says he's trying to get laid, while Funny raps about his constant attempts to stay high.
14. "I'll Be There" - the "sequel" to "Bullet" (off of "American Tragedy"), this song is told from the point of view of the suicide victim's friend. The choruses are widely believed to be the suicide victim somehow communicating with his friend, while the verses are the main character attempting to deal with his friend's death. It's another melancholy song, but it's very much like "Bullet" in the fact that it seems strangely upbeat.
15. "Let Go" - this is the "Paradise Lost" of the album. It is super heavy, and is the grand finale of the album. Like "Paradise Lost," it does have a serious meaning, but not as dark as its predecessor. It's more of an angry song towards a past lover, hinting at an unfaithful relationship ("What's love? It's true."). The main character takes a different route than the one in "Save Me," where instead of finding someone else, they give up on love forever. Now looking at that, it seems that maybe "Let Go" could possibly be a "prequel" of some sorts to "Save Me."
Overall Impression — 9
In conclusion, there is nothing that wrong with the album. If I would change it, I'd switch "Take Me Home" and "Let Go," since "Take Me Home" seems more B-side material, and "Let Go" relates more to the other songs it'd be surrounded by. But besides that, there's nothing I don't like. I would definitely buy it again if it got stolen or lost, and I strongly suggest that you do the same. There is a song for a wide variety of genres, whether it's gangster rap, rap-metal, or Hits 1 material. I'd suggest getting the Deluxe Edition, because those 3 extra tracks (4 if you get it on iTunes, 5 for Best Buy) are absolutely amazing. I didn't cover those in this simply because they are a bit harder to buy, especially the Best Buy songs.