Notes From The Underground review by Hollywood Undead

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  • Released: Jan 8, 2013
  • Sound: 4
  • Lyrics: 5
  • Overall Impression: 3
  • Reviewer's score: 4 Poor
  • Users' score: 6.4 (126 votes)
Hollywood Undead: Notes From The Underground
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Sound — 4
The Hollywood Undead is a relatively new band in the grand scheme of things. Theoretically, Hollywood Undead is a mash-up of alternative rock with rap and hip-hop. Their first album was released in 2008 and it sold well as did its follow up, "American Tragedy". This album, their third, is the first since the departure of Hollywood Undead's lead singer, Deuce, in 2010.

First off, let me just say that I have never heard the music of the Hollywood Undead before. Second, I am not a fan of computer created tracks or rap and hip-hop music in general because of this. When I looked up the instruments played by each band member, two of them were listed as their instrument being "screaming" while another was in charge of keyboards, synthesizers, and PROGRAMMING. Along with this, the band only began using a bass player in 2011, not a crime, but you can see where this is going. So, some might say I am biased. I will try to be unbiased, though as a guitarist, especially on this website, I hope you see where I'm coming from.

As to the review, the album starts out with "Dead Bite", a semi-interesting starter that attempts to blend rock and rap melodies. The rapping here makes sense and a sense of rock breaks through, so I don't immediately dislike the album after this song. Heavy guitar is there, just playing power chords, but it's still somewhat interesting.

The second song, "From The Ground", is where the sh** hits the fan. It starts with a kindred piano part, almost poppy. Without warning, the song turns into thrash metal, and then just as quickly changes into a synth powered verse and back again. The refrain after the chorus is soft, back to a mainstream feel. But, then it breaks back into thrash and the cycle continues over again. There's innovative and then there's this attempt. This song is all over the place.

"Another Way Out" starts with a techno-like beat and then turns into the hip-hop/rap/mainstream/dance music that I spend my whole day trying to avoid on the radio. For that type of crowd, this might seem fairly fun and entertaining. But, for me and for many of the users on UG, it decidedly isn't.

"Lion" begins with the same type of piano part as "From The Ground". To the contrary of that song, there is a nice transition into an average alternative rock rhythm that continues on without rapping and would actually please me if there was a little more of it on the album.

There's the variety of the songs I mentioned above and then there's stuff like "Pigskin" which is solely rap and hip-hop with hardly any guitar parts. This song is the type of stuff that has already saturated the market and is probably not meant for an audience like us. If you're honestly looking for music like this, turn to the professionals of this genre or the many rap artists mentioned in puns in UG comment sections. Many of the songs on the album feature prominent sections like those featured in this song, usually preceded by the same type of piano into from "From The Ground", sometimes with a guitar instead of a piano.

The only exceptions are "Dead Bite" and "Kill Everyone", my favorite song from the album. It is actually far less metal-core than the certain parts from "From The Ground" and is based more fully on the alternative rock sound that creeps around this album. The hip-hop influences are still visible, but they mesh well with the guitars and the transition to the chorus is great. I don't know why, but I like the drums on this song the best because, like the hip-hop parts, it meshes extremely well.

Production wise, this album is strong, one of the only strong parts of it. The producer is able to balance this smorgasbord (in a negative way) of material and give it some taste that can apply to all listeners.

Lyrics — 5
While I don't necessarily enjoy the rap and hip-hop vocal presentation, I can't quite fault them for it. They did manage to get a vocal slot for every member of the group at one point or another and the raps themselves didn't seem any worse than the regular mainstream stuff I hear. One place where the Hollywood Undead did excel was the overdubbing of the vocals, though I can't tell if they're auto tuned or not. Odds are they aren't. The harmonies worked fairly well and the effects used on the vocals, while I detest them in principle, do fit the music well. Still, the vocal performance is average at best.

Again, it's probably not meant for an audience like us, though while I'm reviewing it, I will reiterate that the users of this website will have heard it before at best and hate it with a growing passion at worst.

Lyrically, the album is average, the lyrics aren't incredibly simple or I'll fitted, but they certainly aren't excellent. Here are some examples:

  • "Kill Everyone" - "Somebody's dyin', so come say goodbye, kids. Don't even try to take this weapon from me. I like you more and more the less that you breathe. I've come undone, I think I'll kill everyone. My, what have I done? Fu** you, let's kill everyone. I've come undone, I think I'll kill everyone. My, what have I done? Fu** you, let's kill everyone."

  • "Dead Bite" - "What would you do if I told you I hate you? What would you do if your life's on the line? What would you say if I told you I hate you? I've got something that'll blow your mind, mind."

  • "Lion" - "Here's a story of everything we'll ever be. You can hide but some of us can never leave. And if you go I don't need those little things. They remind me of all our little dreams. Can you hear the words? All I can say. We can watch the world, even if they walk away. Forget about tomorrow, tomorrow is today. You were born a lion and a lion you will stay."

Overall Impression — 3
Overall, "Notes From The Underground" is less of a fusion of genres, but more of a take different genres and put them in the same song/album attitude. Each song is a total hit or miss affair depending on your musical sensibilities. Certain songs are total rap and hip-hop like "Rain" and "Pigskin" while others are more rock oriented like "Dead Bite" and "Kill Everyone" and others are just a total crapshoot, combining genres with no oversight or transitions, like "From The Ground". While a select few may find this style groundbreaking and a breath of fresh air, I think that is all bubkiss.

Again, maybe to a different audience, the result would be different, but for the gigging rock guitarists that I and many of us are, I just don't see it. This album isn't all bad. It has its highlights in "Dead Bite", "Kill Everyone", and overall production quality, but in total, "Notes From The Underground" is a folly attempt, in my opinion, not just in style, but also in taste and feel.

Still, I encourage the casual listener to; try a few songs to see if this is your style though it certainly wasn't mine.

46 comments sorted by best / new / date

    JB95
    UG team review? Really? Completely biased, and it even sounds sound stupid to me as a person who dislike Hollywood Undead. And for god's sake, is it that hard to keep out the adbots? There is loads of them everywhere.
    crazysam23_Atax
    The UG Team reviews have 1) always been bad AND 2) still professional. This review is both bad and unprofessional. I wouldn't let this guy write another review for quite awhile. That said, it's still an abysmal album.
    Logan_B
    How can you say this is an abysmal album? I used to hate this type of music, but this album has some amazing lyrics that really hit me, like their softer songs you know? I would love to know if you have actually listened to the whole thing and what kind of music you listen to, because your sole purpose in the comments of this review seems to me like you're trying to dilute all the positive feedback on this album.
    mitchgosche2011
    Damn, Hollywood Undead should have thought more about what UG would think of them when they were making this album.
    TunerAddict
    "First off, let me just say that I have never heard the music of the Hollywood Undead before. Second, I am not a fan of computer created tracks or rap and hip-hop music in general because of this." wut I don't even like Hollywood Undead, but I know that you should not be writing reviews.
    jtallen0496
    if hu would ve been around when nu metal had its heyday, no one would be complaining...
    K!!LsWiTcH
    ok so the problem is theyre nearly 20 years late on a dying genre of mostly crap? youre right, thats true...
    tdklimek
    1st. This is the SECOND album since Deuce left. 2nd. The so-called "reviewers" here need to realize that they shouldn't be reviewing the album based on all the readers being against this type of music. Biased review. 3rd. You don't even delve deep enough into the album to find the lyrics within the more meaningful songs. For instance, Another Way Out is a song talking about the horror's of rape, coming from the point of view of the rapist. There is a lot of dark and conceptual lyrics within this album.
    Logan_B
    The reviewer really didn't do his homework. Charlie Scene and JDog often play the guitar in certain songs, as well as sharing vocal duties. I feel like this review is so biased it doesn't really give fair credit where it's due. To me it feels like getting someone who HATES Nickelback the keys to review their newest album...
    KentHawkings
    This is honestly the worst review I have ever seen on UG. Completely biased and nevermind the fact that every other review I have seen of this album is practically glowing.
    crazysam23_Atax
    So...while I agree it's completely biased, I've one bone to pick with you. Why does it matter that every other review you've seen is glowing? It doesn't.
    RosenCurse
    The bias is so heavy I can't even look at one word without feeling like "They're Hollywood Undead, AUTOHATE"
    Logan_B
    This album for me is a pleasant surprise. The song Outside is a rollercoaster of emotion for me when I listen to it. Personally I think this is a great release that actually features John5 who I believe likely contributed some cool guitar work to not only Dead Bite but probably some other areas of the album like Outside for example. I've always liked Deuce's singing on the first album but now that I have adjusted to Danny I see so much growth in HU as a whole. I seriously recommend this album to anyone looking for something a little different in the music scene. Album is full of pleasant surprises and a couple signature HU party type songs, mixed with the dark stuff lyrically that has always been present as well.
    nick1227
    See you guys gotta understand. If you don't like a band the logical thing to do is go out and buy their newest album and then bitch about how much you didn't like it.
    cbabb7
    Saw these guys open for Avenged Sevenfold in Detroit and they were awful.
    Abacus11
    I'm pretty sure this "band" is a joke. They're not that funny though, more just annoying.
    LaughingWater2
    Why bother reviewing it if its going to be biased? Thats incredibly pointless. I don't see why for just once as a reviewer you can forget everything you know or care about music and just give us a honest opinion of the music. As john cage once said "If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience"
    DreamGate
    I was about to give the embeded song a try. But then I saw the thumbnail and I decided not to.
    milliorn
    Look at all the fanboys coming to the rescue which pales in comparison to the majority who voted giving this album a rating i deserves. JUNK!
    fallen881
    yeah seriously the ****ing fanboys must have a made a few accounts to give them some ups on this shit for real. it was pretty lame. half of the songs were slow/soft and for what the band is talking about drinking partying sex n what not. hard to take them seriously. go back to american tragedy
    tdklimek
    Only two songs on the album are about partying/sex. And only three songs are "slow"
    fallen881
    lol the fact to try to defend and say what you said is my point of the album/band. I enjoy their other better songs but tbh I thought that the album flowed really bad/slow and most of the songs were meh just floater songs to make them and say they had that many songs. some of the lyrics for the verses were really generic and kinda lame and couldn't get into them. For what they had made before they set the bar a little high i guess for my expectation. only songs i thought were alright were "We Are" of course and I think it's called "I don't Mind" number 7 on it. it was a slower one and liked listening. rest I deleted off my itunes.
    fallen881
    I like a handful of their other songs. NOT a fan at all but I know the band/members and what not. Nonetheless this album sucked major dick in comparison to other songs. or to put it lightly just lame songs and didn't have to be made. No complaints with the new singer hes decent just the songs not catchy and bland and wanna stop listening. R.I.P. Hollywood Undead, All That Remains, Bullet For My Valentine, Linkin Park, and kinda A7X. Sold out for general rock audiences/radio play/money.
    guillotine72
    ATTENTION EVERYONE: I like Hollywood Undead. However, that does NOT mean I don't like other bands. It also doesn't mean that I dislike people who don't like my music. It's only when you bother commenting on the music you hate instead of the stuff you love that I get pissed at the human race.
    fallen881
    Holy Shit who knew UG has a secret Hollywood Undead fanbase shit.... I'm pretty sure anyone who actually listed to this album in comparison to their other songs that this album as a whole was kinda shitty and had about 2 alright songs. I don't even dislike the band. I like them but don't need to get much credit for this album.
    tdklimek
    And yet this is their most commercially successful album, and according to most music sites (apparently not here)their most critically successful.
    fallen881
    lol who has said that or have you even listened to this and their other albums. it was very poor. I think it took them altogether 3 hours to write the main chorus' for this album and minimal effort compared to the other ones. give me links. I know a bunch of douche kids who say this is there favorite band and don't even know jack shit about the band. and conclude this album sucked also. and they like mediocre crap lol. either way tell me when you pop this cd in or actually wanna listen to this album on your ipod. which for most is never.