The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus: Am I The Enemy

Let me start off this review by saying that this is going to be a tricky one. It’s tricky because this band released a huge debut record, which we’ll discuss in a moment, and then they jumped head first out of everything they stood for and headlong into the mainstream media and released an abomination of an album. Now I  feel like they’re trying to make up for what they did in the past, but the question remains, has enough time passed for us to have properly forgiven them? This review/rant will hopefully tackle that issue.

As mentioned earlier, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus clawed through the mainstream media with a debut album that was so raw and edgy, that it had the potential to turn the pop-punk, post hardcore genres on their heads and create something new and brilliant. “Don’t You Fake it” had a brilliant marriage of high range, pop vocals with a snarling scream vocal hook that could tame a wolverine. In my opinion, every song on that first record was brilliant because there was no compromising on that record. They did what they wanted to do and they created a magnificent combination All Time Low sized pop-punk songs with hardcore snarls that threatened to break the mainstream in a way that bands today only wish they could do. The problem was the song “Face Down”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song, but because it was a HUGE radio hit, the band were pushed into the sark side of the mainstream and tried to make every album a pop punk, radio friendly classic. Every song on their second album, “Lonely Road” was dogshit and is better off forgotten. The majority of the songs on that album were Mayday Parade style piano ballads (I have nothing against Mayday Pararde, but RJA are NOT Mayday Parade). I also don’t recall a single growl or snarling vocals hook at all on the album. It was so soft and safe and the complete opposite of what they stood for on their first record and thats why it charted higher than “Dont You fake It”. They’re like The Darkness in that each band released amazing debut albums but went completely against everything with the second record.

Now they have released their third album which suggests that they’re trying to slowly work back to their original sound and their hardcore fans, but still retain a level of pop sensibility and remain in the mainstream eyes. Personally, after three listens, this album hasn’t really struck  a chord with me. I don’t think they’ll ever make an album that is on the same league as “Dont You Fake it”. Tis one is close, but nowhere near close enough. i remember when the first album came out and how much my friends and i loved it…and then after four years of waiting, we heard the first single from “Lonely Road” and felt so betrayed because the band totally and completely compromised everything. I honestly don’t think that I  can forgive them for that. However I will say in the bands defense that songs like “Where are the Heroes”, “Reap” and the title track of this new album are pretty good. They have harnessed more of that edge and heaviness again, but it’s still very watered down and reigned in. Based off of the two previous albums, this one is essentially Red-Jumpsuit-Apparatus-by-numbers.

With the exception of the songs that i mentioned, the rest of the album dips significantly. They’re trying to not only redo the effect of “Face Down”, but they’re also trying to rewrite “Guardian Angel” a brilliant ballad that was featured on…you guessed it, the first album. Listen guys, you will NEVER write songs in the same league as those. Just give up or, better idea, write good songs again. New ones. Stop trying to write the same songs over and over again.

I have nothing more to say about this band really. if you like them or if you think i’m talking out my ass about this band, then PLEASE let me know. I’d LOVE to hear why you think i’m wrong on this account.

Luke Helker

 

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