Falling In Reverse

Just Like You

Written by: TL on 09/03/2015 14:30:09

To music fans above the age of sixteen, Ronnie Radke's Falling In Reverse is a joke. Since his release from the stitch in prison following the infamous shooting incident (look it up, plenty have been written about it elsewhere), the former Escape The Fate frontman has been a lightning rod for bad publicity, which you suspect is not entirely unintentional, as it has at least drawn attention of some sort to his "band" - A term that should be applied loosely as the Falling In Reverse roster has been a carousel of members coming and going, with sixteen members credited on Wikipedia for doing various stretches with the band. None of these facts have prevented the band from consistently drawing interest from young, rebellious, entry-level music fans, giving them plenty of opportunities to perform both in the states and in Europe, and you figure there has to be considerable demand for them, with their third album being released just recently on Epitaph.

Stylistically, the band plays a light weight brand of metalcore, where guitars, clean vocals and growls trade blows in completely conventional song patterns. The guitars are the clear victors in this battle, highlighting the album via solid servings of leads and solos that sound like heavy inspiration has been drawn from bands like Metallica, Queen and Iron Maiden. As a clean singer Ronnie Radke is expressive and full of attitude, yet extremely limited in what he can do melody-wise, though not as comically awful as the growling on the record, provided by both him and drummer Ryan Seaman. Curiously, there are hints of pop and club music ideas in the production of the songs, but compared to a band like ISSUES, who are arguably the current top dogs at meshing such elements with metalcore, these often seem withdrawn and completely void of the brazen energy you would expect of an alledged "No fucks given" type like Radke.

In terms of song structures and production value, "Just Like You" is serviceable enough though, and after all Radke is far from the first frontman in rock & roll to be a pretty unimpressive singer. If the songs were relatable or entertaining enough, it's not unthinkable then, that Falling In Reverse would not continue to be considered the sewage of the industry. Regrettably, of his many flaws, Radke's effort at lyricism is his worst musically speaking by some distance, which is where things do get comical, because the words are clearly central in Falling In Reverse's expression.

Lyrically there are basically two approaches taken on "Just Like You". Songs like "Sexy Drug" and "Get Me Out" are transparent crowd pleasers. The latter ruins its Queen-ish harmonies with trite lines about transforming from feeling like a nobody in school and into "[...] a late winner, take yo sister to dinner, and I may kiss her, but I won't even miss her! I'm a bad boy, big dreams, headin' to the top!", while the former attempts to be provocative with sex lyrics and cheap puns alá "Like OMG you make me come..! Come..! Come..! Clean!" Other songs seem to hint that the haters are starting to get to Radke at least a little bit because he goes to some lengths to open up and explain himself. "Just Like You" thus takes a poppy sound that Avril Lavigne would feel good about and proclaims "I'm aware that I am an asshole. I really don't care about all of that though! I got nothing to prove, but honestly I'm just like you".

And so it goes, back and forth between metalcore-lite and arrangements recycled from corporate pop-rock. The "Guillotine" song series, which up until now had been carried onwards by Escape The Fate since their divorce from Radke, get's a fourth and "Final Chapter" on here, and quite unnecessarily, as it far from lives up to the fun of the first two Escape The Fate versions, instead making you want to put your hand through your face in response to the overly long breakdown part. The most interesting song on the album, for better and worse, is "Wait And See", where Timbaland-ish pop tricks are finally brought up to the surface for an almost ISSUES-level result. Except for Radke's rapping, which still sounds like poor Eminem impression, the song at least messes with the boundaries between metalcore and club music in a way that for once puts the controversy in the music, making it worth discussing even if you find yourself on the hating side of the end product.

Ultimately though, there is no upset in sight while listening through "Just Like You". Musically it is a patchwork of recycled ideas pieced together in completely predictable, calculated song structures - complete with silly breakdowns of course - and its content can be described using the single word "immature". Even at his most vulnerable and intimate, Radke's songs are as juvenile as a look at Falling In Reverse's obvious target audience would make you expect, and for the rare near-relateable bits there are exponentially more where this grown man's unbelievable crassness will cause eyes to roll with anyone who is old enough to drive themselves to shows. So dear teenagers, everyone is not an asshole and nor should you be: You can start by doing some good by listening to something else and hence diminishing Epitaph's interest in more Falling In Reverse records. Music journalists worldwide will owe you a favour.


Download: Wait And See, Sexy Drug
For The Fans Of: Escape The Fate, Avenged Sevenfold, Black Veil Brides
Listen: facebook.com/fallinginreverseofficial

Release date 24.02.2015

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