- Chemical Prisoner: While I thought this was an interesting title, to be honest this made me nervous. I only later remembered why, in part. I knew I didn't expect it to be as good as what it's [the album] the sequel to, but you never know. The reason for the title, I don't know *cough* Chemical Love. After a few listens to this track I still get the same feeling I got it the first time. I thought it sounded cool but I had this type of "unsure feeling" I would lose interest over time. That or I would dig the track and eventually find it wasn't as good as it sounded the first time. So basically I figured it wasn't as good as the initial listen gave me and sound. And I was right. But I do like the intro, and I think its a good track if is looked as a sort or trying to recapture what was once there. Do I like when People back track, not really. I think this isn't terrible, and after just finishing the review for Hate Me I can say this (this is the far superior).
- God, If You Are Above...: This is the first single from the album. You know, to be honest, this really sounds like a song off DIYLF. Damn, even the solo on this song sounds like something Montey would play. The only thing that doesn't really sound like it would be the electronic breakdown. Though that's only because it's more updated and current sounding here. With this as the lead single, I thought this has potential to be a great album. I do like how he is getting back to a more, insightful or deep thoughtful person. This track is about a topic that is rather serious vs him talking about "Gucci Shoes" or whatever he was talking about Alone. I still think this is a solid track, it hasn't lost any of it's punch or power for me. I mean it isn't like heart breaking or genius, but there is a little more here than just, as mentioned earlier, stupid shallow bull shit. Point to Ronnie. This is how the other guy should be writting. Not making Let Me Be.... it hurts to even think of that track.
- Sexy Drug: This is a dumb name for a song. This song is also kind of stupid. I mean after that last track this just kind of seems pointless. But you know what... fuck it. I can give him a free pass, at least there was something of substance. Let him indulge himself a bit. I do hope their next record is all God, If You Are Aboves and what not.
- Just Like You: This track is well...... I really don't know. I mean yes while it isn't a Game Over its still planets apart from Drug In Me Is You or even the more superior Dragging Bodies Up A Hill. I think the best possible description of this song I can give you is the not good mid 2000's Weezer meets Ronnie. Enough said I think, though it should be noted if this is a "make fun of the audience I'm self aware" or a "I'll do what style of music you want but your an asshole" I'm not laughing. Sorry but those jokes don't work on me unless your from the 60s or 70s or Zappa. If I could forget this I'd be happy. Also I doubt its the later in the what the song is supposed to be. It's not often you come out and say someone is an asshole when trying to outsmart or out whit someone. In reality its more of a redemption by way of justifying his actions by pointing out your just as capable or just as shitty a person.... Because your a person. While, if that is the "deeper meaning", I think he's did a terrible job at it. It ended up sounding like an angry 15 year old wrote this making fun of people because he was so cleaver. The only take away is maybe the fact that he doesn't care is true and he'll go back to doing what he want, not stupid fucking fan service.
- Guillotine IV (The Final Chapter): This is possibly the angriest song I've heard by Ronnie. The thing I don't like is the electronic part during the chorus. Do artists in Post-Hardcore have a pre-rec where it says, use trendy sounds in electronic music. It's kinda buried but you can still hear it. I mean it may grow on me but who knows. I can honestly say now no it hasn't gotten better. I mean there are parts that I still am not nuts about, the vocals in the "chorus" or "hook" but it's not terrible. It's kind of grown on me. But that could be because of the whole... What am I comparing it too.
- Stay Away: I like the vocals in beat with the rhythm. While it's not straight up, I can't think of the word, I like how it's more beat vs a over the rhythm. Kind of like The Jazz Party Hat Discharge, that type of singing. This song is okay, but not amazing.
- Wait and See: This intro reminds me of Imagine Dragon's one song that was big. And you know to be honest, I'll just skip this if I ever revisit this track. This sounds like it was left off the last album. I do have to laugh a bit, there are parts that sound kind of dumb, but I'm sure the message is more than what I"m just hearing. But parts remind me a bit of Weird Al.
- The Bitter End: off the bat not digging the title. It reminds me of one of my old favorite up and coming bands lackBay ideTay. The ending of that last song and this one kind of blended together. But really, this song is to similar to that other song to like (the other bands song). This is a pretty generic song for the band (the old band). I do like the strings in the song though, they add something to it.
- My Hearts to Blame: When they segued into each other I thought at first this was a remix of the last track. I guess Ronnie is doing what he likes, the electronic stuff, but I don't really feel that. I mean really, there isn't anything here for me to take away. It's not terrible, but I really feel indifferent. It's not bad, but it's not good to my ears.
- Get Me Out: Oh my gosh, what is this. This sounds like an song written with I'm Not A Vampire state of mind. But where that song wasn't terrible, but not really great, this is kind of dumb. I mean at least he's writing pop.... right? Skip. This is very much one of those, or maybe a mix of that and Goodbye Grateful.
- Die For You: "Darling only for you, I Would". This is more of a Goodbye Graceful re-write. I mean it's okay, but I'm not insane about it or in love with it. I like the As I Lay Dying section towards the middle but yeah, I mean outside of that there isn't much I'd want to return to.
- Brother: The only real surprise on the album after I heard the singles. I mean those didn't surprise me, but I had an idea of what to expect after those. This track, while all three records have ended with a ballad thus far, including the ETF debut, this still took me by surprise. This is a different type of ballad. Where Drifter was country, The Day I Left The Womb was kinda acoustic rocky and emo, and The Westerner is the angry grown up version of TDILTW. This track is a piano ballad. And to be completely honest I think it's by far the best track on the entire album. This also seems honest.
Now on to the deluxe edition tracks, two tracks which I had to wait to hear because they weren't uploaded to Spotify and I didn't feel like buying the album (considering how I feel). And while I didn't mind the wait, I miss not hearing it.
- My Apocalypse II: I was slightly irritated that there was Guillotine IV and then the lazily titled My Apocalypse II. If it was G4 and the G5 as a bonus maybe its OK but regardless its like he's trying to make this a sequel but it just isn't as good. But now that I'm done being pissy, I have to say this is a sequel. This is part two of a track, one of my favorites, of one of my favorite albums of the 2000's. Possibly the best album in the whole ETF/FIR cannon and any other projects that anyone in the groups have touched ever. And where the original still kicks ass after a few dozen listens, this sequel immediately doesn't pull me in. The thing that killed it is an over use of auto-tune, and also the programming. It's way to electronic, where the original I don't even think has any electronics. I mean I remember being blown away as a 15/16 year old hearing how awesome he utilized auto tune on The Westerner and how it just added to his voice. Made it resonate and helped sound better. There is sounds like he isn't using it to add, but instead he is relying on it. The first few listens that really got to me. But after hearing this and revisiting it I was like.... the real problem is not the vocals, though they do bug me at parts in the chorus, it's the lack of a memorable solo. That is a huge part of this songs equation, and instead of making something memorable it sounds like a mix of the others solos. It's almost like if you were to make a Star Wars 7. And this is your version of the sequel to Jedi. And in doing so you take and add and mix a bunch of elements from the Phantom Menace to Revenge of the Sith cannon (or incorporate those movies in to your movie). Ronnie didn't write G2 or G3 but he still basically uses all three as his template for the song. And while I like Jar-Jar, it's like he replaced Boba Fett's sick ass voice that's bad ass as fuck, with a Jar-Jar......... or a lame guy who tried to do that voice but couldn't. I hope that makes sense, it does in my head. I mean Jacky does a great job at copy and pasting parts of the solos into his solo, it's just it's copy and pasted.
- Pray: I feel like this sounds like an outtake from the last album reworked to fit on this album. Also this literally sounds like the boring rock music that you'd hear on the radio. I know I'll never return to the bonus tracks, also I know that the only decent part is that there is like a water drop sound. It's a lesser version of Brother, I guess. It's like a ballad of sorts, but misses that mark in it touching me. I mean moments sound like old ETF, but the magic is just missing you know. And even after revisiting this after a few months I was still like... what the fuck ever.
Overall I have to give this a 5/10. You know, to be honest, this isn't that great of a sequel to DIYLF. That was obviously the best thing that Ronnie has, well the There's No Sympathy For The Dead Ep was pretty great and that's excluding the tracks the reappeared on the album, oh and thee demo is great too..... what was I saying? I'm kidding, but the point is I don't think that trying to redo the past is a good thing. While I didn't like a lot of the sophomore effort I still respect him for doing what he wanted to do. And to be honest at least that album was more engaging. While I remember cringing, at least it was a style change. This album while it's better in terms of enjoyablilty, it's not better in terms of musicality. There was only one left hook and that was the closer. Why you gotta do this to me. The sad truth is why relive the glory days. Why not accept them and move forward. Needless to say its still better than Ungrateful and ETF combine. Also he seems to be turning into Kanye in that instead of looking in for inspiration or looking out, he wants to be funny or cool and fucks it up along the way. The thing really after spending time thinking about it Ronnie Radke can't recapture the past. He needs to move forward and maybe find a happy middle ground in between the style, and lyrics, of Dying and TNSFTD and mix it with the madcap experiments of Fashionably Late. While people reading this next sentence will most likely disagree I want to say this. Even though just about every experiment didn't click with my ears I bet there is a young boy who heard that record and went "shit, I need to push the boundaries of what's possible" or "you can do this?". And .maybe he can open the minds of people who will become this generations Paul & John or Tyler & Perry and so on. This album can't quite claim any trophy, other than sounding bland. It's just so irritating that there is so much potential with what he does, it's just he doesn't reach it. I think my cousin put it best, while Jacky can shred he just doesn't have the melodies that Monty had (Thought his 2013 solo record isn't half bad). I think each year I'll devote a month to finishing up old reviews I need to complete. I kinda did that with that 2015 month in September and that Halloween Month the other month.
If some how Ronnie would ever see this I want to say, please keep making music the way you want (or your band). Don't let people and criticism put you down. Don't back track. In a world where ETF is long gone and lots of music is becoming uninteresting (not all, just some) the world needs people to continue on with what they like believe and love. Music is art, art is an expression, don't let others cloud your vision. Maybe one day Fashionably Late will be a classic, maybe it won't. But I sure as hell know this album won't be.