It’s time for a little honesty from me. When I was first asked to have a look at this album, I didn’t want to. I knew nothing about the Escape The Fate other than I might’ve listened to one of their songs a few years back and seemed to have a vague recollection of not liking it? Yet, I found myself going into this record with an open mind, so let’s see that ‘I Am Human’ brings to the table.
The album’s opening track, ‘Beautifully Tragic’ is incredibly reminiscent of Black Veil Brides, with soaring guitars and dramatic musical composition, and I was listening to it for the first time, I found myself pleasantly surprised. Though the chorus here is a little too on the nose (‘here’s to the secrets we can’t keep’), it offers an interesting narrative in terms of what we can expect for themes of this album. It’s a bittersweet anthem about letting go of things that aren’t good for you, and yet still yearning for them. The guitars near the halfway point of the song are beautiful—the bass running throughout the chorus is intricate and helps to carry the song forward not just through lyricism alone.
This record’s positives continue with ‘Broken Heart’ and further follow the theme of letting go. Though it’s instantly faster than the opening track, it’s a lot more introspective. The shift in this song between melancholy guitars to slightly more aggressive bass line shift perfectly to suit the tone o the song; and as someone who recently went through a break-up, this song served as a hand to hold through the healing process. Next up, we have ‘Four Letter Word’—and here was where I found my first problem with the album. In terms of musical composition, the operatic rock doesn’t seem to suit the tone of the song. It’s a mix between classic rock and a more modern sound, but despite that, it’s still a lot of fun to listen to. The lyricism here is also quite interesting as even though it’s slander towards the person who did them wrong, it’s not angry. It’s more disappointed and curious as to why they can’t move on. Thematically, the album felt a little flat, straight from the opening track. ‘Beautifully Tragic’ focused on a nostalgic feel, yet the songs that follow it are two break-up songs and they don’t really seem to fit what we’ve come to expect from the album.
Following on from this we have the catchy, ‘I Will Make It Up To You’. Immediately the drums here make one think of All American Reject’s, ‘Dirty Little Secret’. One of the more notable, positive things about this album is that it peaks and drips, and despite the more thoughtful message of the songs, you don’t stop having fun listening to it, as the instrumentation and vocals work together seamlessly. This song is much faster than the tracks that preceded it, with a pacy insistent guitar—the sound here veers almost off into punk territory, which is not a direction I would have expected this band to go in, especially given the sound of the rest of the album. This was one of the weaker songs on the album (especially in the first half) and though the guitars are wonderful—the instruments sound a bit too chaotic.
From ‘I Am Human’ onwards, I really struggle to find positive elements within this album. That isn’t to say that they don’t exist, but it’s that they’re very rare. ‘I Am Human’ opens up with an electronic keyboard, which needless to say, sticks out a lot in terms of composition, especially when comparing it to the sound of the rest of the album. Lyrically, it’s one of the worst songs on this album, as it’s everything that we’ve heard a million times before. Rather than following a natural progression of a narrative, this song feels far too forced and tacked on.
However, ‘If Only’ is a slow acoustic guitar driven song that’s one of the better tracks on the latter half of the record. Much like Neck Deep’s ‘Wish You Were Here’, the song deals with losing someone dear to them—and picturing a future where things are different. It’s certainly one of my favourite songs on the record and the bass that kicks in adds an extra element of excitement to the song.
From ‘Empire’ onwards, the album spirals and only seems to disappear on a downward slope of disappointment. Empire was another song with electronic influences, but again, it was too jarring of a sound from the rest of the album. My problem with this song in particular, and with the last four songs is that the perpetuation of the rock’n’roll lifestyle doesn’t work and feels too try hard, as the rest of the album has almost exclusively been about break-ups and emotions—so this idea of partying black out drunk doesn’t really fit anywhere.
‘Riot’ was without a doubt one of the worst songs on the record. It’s far too generic, too general and didn’t have any of the charm that even the weakest songs had on the beginning half of the album.
I was so very disappointed in this album. The first half was so much fun to listen to, the guitars were confident—and the lyricism, despite being a little too forward at times was still enjoyable. Despite the lack of coherent theme, the album was strong enough to carry its own weight. However, from the half way marker onwards—this album disintegrates, and in fact, it doesn’t even sound like it was made by the same band. The songs become messy, generic and painful to listen to and album spirals into a hot mess of a disaster.
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