Fight Or Flight

Written by: PP on 10/01/2013 23:21:42

So I'm listening to "Fight Or Flight", the fifth studio album by the nu metal relic Hoobastank, and I'm thinking: this sounds halfway decent, probably their best material since their self-titled album, but does anybody seriously care anymore? How many people over the age of 18 can honestly become excited about a band that crashed and burned spectacularly into irrelevancy almost a decade ago? They've been grasping at straws since then, trying to return to a heavier, nu-metal reminiscent style on "For(n)ever" after the awfully boring "Every Man For Himself" in 2006, and now it seems they're changing style yet again in a hopeless quest of re-creating the mainstream success brought by their balladic hit single "The Reason" back in 2003.

Realistically, "Fight Or Flight" is probably their final shot at relevancy before it's time to call it a day. They now sound a bit like Papa Roach, going for a pop/hard rock hybrid sound with plenty of elements drawn in from alternative rock as well, and much to my surprise, actually do pretty well with the style. Where previous album "For(n)ever" displayed the band as somewhat awkward and unsure as to what to do with themselves, "Fight Or Flight" seems to be the product of a realization that they're no longer the band they used to be, and therefore there's no pressure to put out a big hit type of album anymore. There's a sense of relief to the hook-laden choruses and pop rock verses here, an understanding that there's neither a need for crunchy nu-metal guitars nor the overtly poppy ballads of "The Reason" to write decent music. Whenever a band writes without pressure like that, the result is usually good, and that's also the case here. Lots of catchy tracks that you don't mind having on the background or on the radio when you're in the car or something.

But that's also the end of the road for Hoobastank. Any serious music fan will immediately see through the superficial mainstream rock offered on this album and dismiss it as formulaic, simplistic, and in the end, bland and boring. That's a result of a dated sound that exposes the limitations of Hoobastank as creative songwriters. They have that one, verse-chorus-verse sound that they've varied for a decade now, but it's too simple to carry them in the long run.


Download: Incomplete, This Is Gonna Hurt, The Fallen
For the fans of: P.O.D, Trapt, Papa Roach, Finger Eleven
Listen: Facebook

Release date 11.09.2012
Open E Entertainment

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