Hollywood Undead brings us their fifth album simply titled Five or V. The band is a fantastic mix of Hip Hop and Metal. They don’t limit themselves to either genre as the album also mixes in some nice Pop and R&B sounds to bring a wide variety of styles and sounds in what might be there most infectious album.
The band members go by the monikers of Danny, Charlie Scene, J-Dog, Johnny 3 Tears and Funny Man. They wear masks and the music is usually filled with anger and angst that is sure to draw you into a crazy, fun-filled ride. This album does just that, but also is a departure from their previous efforts.
The CD for me is broken in to two halves. The first half starts off with their normal heavy effort but turns into the more softer side of the band while the second half is straight up Hollywood Dead that we know and love. The hip-hop rapping and heavy metal aggression dominates the second half.
The album kicks off like you would expect it. Heavy and celebrating California. “California Dreaming” is the first single and first track and comes at you like a bullet from a gun. They seamlessly go into “Whatever It Takes” which keeps the party moving. This is one of the highlights with the vocals and intensity of the song mimicking Eminem.
The album turns into a softer side after this with the band’s most radio friendly effort ever in my book “Bad Moon”. The heavy on the pop song brings you a chorus that is so contagious you will catch it and keep singing. Like all pop radio songs, there is a great rap piece towards the end of the song. The band then goes into a song with a heavy R&B feel that is also on the softer side called “Ghost Beach”. It is such a nice departure from their normal style and is also very radio friendly. The band loves to sing about California and this one does just that.
“Broken Record” is up next and for me is the first misstep on the album. The song brings a little of the aggression back in the delivery of the lyrics but is lacking in chorus that draws you in. It is not very memorable for me. “Nobody’s Watching” comes in with another softer, slower song, but what “Broken Record” was lacking in the chorus, this song has it. A repetitive, catchy chorus that is a nice addition to fill in between the rap verses. The first half even ends on a high note with the aggressive “Renegade” and is the start of a much heavier side of the album. It is the heaviest song so far, but won’t be for long.
The second half of the album kicks off with “Black Cadillac” featuring Cypress Hill frontman, B-Real. Some smooth, sexy deliver on the lyrics for the chorus. A darker edge to the song that works perfectly and one of the best songs of the album. The jump into the heavier song “Pray (Put ‘Em in the Dirt)”. This is the aggression that I remember from Hollywood Undead and what I have loved about all their albums. A wonderful one-two punch with these two songs. Sadly, the second misstep comes with “Cashed Out”. It is more Hip Hop less rock and for me is not as memorable or catchy.
With “Riot”, we get some electronica mixed in with the hip hop to give us a very rocking, party song (if partying for you is having a riot – maybe a rave). “We Own the Night” is another great rocker and heavier on guitar. Do I hear a little Linkin Park styling in the song? I think so. “Bang, Bang” keeps the rock going and is another on the heavier side. This one will get the crowd jumping and singing loud during a show. It is a great little rock anthem. The album sadly comes to an end after 14 songs with “Your Life”. It starts off with what could be a lullaby, but comes quickly to and end with the first lyric “Fuck It”. The song is screamer with their rock roots and is a powerful song to end the album. It is one that makes you want to keep going and hear more and that is all I ask for in a final song.
- “California Dreaming” – Keeper
- “Whatever It Takes” – Keeper
- “Bad Moon” – Keeper
- “Ghost Beach” – Keeper
- “Broken Record” – Delete
- “Nobody’s Watching” – Keeper
- “Renegade” – Keeper
- “Black Cadillac (Feat. B-Real)” – Keeper
- “Pray (Put Em in the Dirt)” – Keeper
- “Cashed Out” – Delete
- “Riot” – Keeper
- “We Own the Night” – Keeper
- “Bang Bang” – Keeper
- “Your Life” – Keeper
12 keepers out 14 songs – 86% (4.3 out 5 stars) I am definitely not in this bands demographic, but I don’t care. I love the mixture of hip hop and hard rock, the aggression at times and the overall style and tone of the album. It is a fun and energetic listen that leaves you feeling great and wanting more. They have found a way to keep it fresh and haven’t lost themselves in trying new things. I have enjoyed all their albums and with this release it looks like I will be a fan for years to come if not for life.