By ADMIR DURAKOVIC
Hollywood Undead are more alive than ever with the release of their fifth studio album “Five.” The album debuted at the number four spot on the iTunes top album chart, and has also peaked at the number one spot for the iTunes rock chart. “Five” is a diverse record disguised as a primarily rock album.
The rap-rock group from Hollywood is famous for energetic performances on stage while the members all wear hockey styled masks or bandanas. The group currently consists of five members, Charlie Scene, Danny, Funny Man, J-Dog and Johnny 3 Tears. The name of the album, “Five,” may seem like a simple name for a band’s fifth studio album, but to the group, the number five holds a lot more weight to it.
“We’re five brothers, and this is our fifth record,” band member Johnny 3 Tears said in an interview with Scene for Dummies. “Nothing gets to the essence of the music like this number does. Numerology has a lot of power. When we said ‘Five,’ it just made sense. The fact that we could all agree on one word codifies who we are. It also nods back to ‘No. 5’ from our first album, because it was our fifth song.”
The group first made headlines with their 2008 debut, platinum-certified album “Swan Songs.” At the time, the band consisted of six members, but vocalists Deuce and Da Kurlzz who were both featured on “Swan Songs” are no longer associated with the group and have moved on to pursue solo careers. Deuce was the lead singer of the band but was replaced by Danny in 2010.“Five” is the first studio album to not feature Da Kurlzz in its production.
Despite the success of their three studio albums following “Swan Songs,” fans haven’t had their expectations met since Deuce left the group. Their sophomore album “American Tragedy” went gold and reached #4 on the Billboard Top 200. Their third album, “Notes From The Underground,” managed to reach #2 on the Billboard Top 200. But their fourth album, “Day Of The Dead,” did not have had the same chart success, despite featuring popular tracks such as “Day Of The Dead” and “Gravity.”
Hollywood Undead is a unique band in the sense that their sound is heavily influenced by artists from multiple genres. The band isn’t de ned by one genre, having been labeled as a nu metal, rap-rock, hip hop and alternative rock. All of their albums feature a variety of different styled tracks, and
their newest album is no different.
The first track on the album, “California Dreaming,” features vocals from all five members and describes how the members feel as outsiders in Hollywood, despite growing up in the area. The lyrics are accompanied by dynamic guitars and fast rapping, culminating into a chorus from lead singer Danny backed by a children’s choir.
The third track, “Bad Moon,” is a more ominous track that focus on the shady activities that take place at night. “Nobody’s Watching” is another track that takes a more mellow approach, and fans of My Chemical Romance’s, “SING,” will appreciate the similarities between the songs. J-Dog’s verses describe the struggles he and many people face in their everyday lives. When the chorus comes along, Danny delivers the message of doing what you believe in despite the circumstances surrounding your situation.
Hollywood Undead also tend to include about two or three songs on every album that can be considered trap or party songs. The two tracks that ll that role on this album are “Cashed Out” and “Riot.” The lyrics on “Cashed Out” follow a similar style to lyrics from popular hip-hop artists today. Funny Man’s verses highlight the amount of money he makes, with bars like “making moves, cashing checks, And I’m out the door/couple bottles, fifteen hundred yeah, it’s on the floor.” The chorus of the song rehashes a modern hip-hop trope of repeating the name of the track several times over.
Hollywood Undead parted ways with the major record label system in 2016. That freedom from a major label allowed them to take full creative control and release an album with diverse styles all while staying true to their original sound. Any long-time fans hoping for an album on the same caliber of “Swan Songs” will be pleased with Hollywood Undead’s fifth album. And for anyone looking for a new and unique mesh of styles and genres, “Five” would please them as well. “Five” is out now on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and Google Play.