In a few weeks, Falling In Reverse will release their third album ‘Just Like You’ via Epitaph Records. If 2013's 'Fashionably Late' is a point of reference, anything could happen within its 45 minutes. Chris Chandler sat down to find out what's under the hood of 'Just Like You'.
1. Chemical Prison
With a synth-heavy, bass-driven intro that really swaggers its way into the room, everything about the opening track screams a massive "Welcome to the latest Falling In Reverse extravaganza". The quick-fire verses build up to one of the oh-so-many singalong choruses that 'Just Like You' has to offer. Ronnie’s over-pronounced vocals hit hard in the chorus with the line, “It’s so hard to be together / and I try and I try / but it won’t get better,”, before everything's rounded off with a quick thunder shock of a guitar solo. 'Chemical Prison' is a neat little introduction of what to expect throughout the course of the next half-hour-and-a-bit.
2. God, If You Are Above...
Released as the album's first single, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they had taken an old Escape The Fate track and jazzed it up for 2015. A pounding, tribal intro riff kicks into the up-tempo build-up, before launching into the power chord-driven verse as Radke announces, "God cannot save my soul / It’s straight to hell for me I know.” It's a throwback to the early days of Ronnie’s career, even moreso than the actual Escape The Fate throwback three tracks later.
3. Sexy Drug
This is more like what we've come to expect from Falling In Reverse in recent years. Launching with a colossal, dick-swinging Southern rock riff, it's full of subtle-as-a-brick lyrics sure to make anyone's mother a little uncomfortable ("Like O-M-G you make me come, come, com-plete", anyone?). Ronnie’s rap-rock stylings appear (albeit briefly), and it's all topped off with a club-pop end to the chorus. It's right about now we start to learn how varied 'Just Like You' can be.
4. Just Like You
Kicking off with a catchy "na-na-na" chant, it's the chorus that takes the headlines here as Ronnie bellows, “I am aware, that I am an asshole / I really don't care about all of that though”. The track launches into a very upbeat, bouncy, almost pop-punk middle-finger anthem, with a catchy chorus and some seriously self-aware lyrical content like “I’ve got a fucked up brain and a really bad attitude / I blame it on the drug abuse”. This will be HUGE live.
5. Guillotine IV (The Final Chapter)
If you were wondering whether Radke would return to the theme he started back on Escape The Fate's 2006 debut 'Dying Is Your Latest Fashion' here it is, and it definitely serves as a fitting conclusion to the ETF three-parter. Ronnie flexes his screaming vocal muscles for the first time, and they dominate every part but the chorus. As well as all the shoutiness, there's some hardcore riffing throughout and another blistering solo courtesy of Jacky Vincent. This is one for the pit people.
6. Stay Away
Bouncy, up-stroked riffs take centre-stage in the verses here, before see-sawing into a chuggy beatdown pre-chorus. Ronnie's really piling on the post-hardcore stylings in spades for this one, with his classic elongated vocal style and angsty lyrics like “What have I done? / Who can I trust? I don’t belong here, and I have lost my way again”. You can almost imagine the battle for the crowd-pointed mic on this one.
7. Wait And See
We were never going to make it all the way through 'Just Like You' without a proper bit of Radke rapping, were we? A faded intro chock-full of "woah-oh"s decays into some synth-riff heaviness, before quickly doubling back on itself when Ronnie spits his first bar, “Calling all cars, this is an emergency, listen / ladies and gentlemen we are at the end of existence”.
8. The Bitter End
By far the heavist track here, 'The Bitter End' kicks off with one hell of a groove, before descending into shredding, sweepy runs from lead guitarist Jacky Vincent. Ronnie busts out some serious variety with his harsh vocals, snapping from screeching highs to his classic throaty lows, with the verses overshadowing the choruses somewhat. Vincent's solo is a staggering technical achievement and they follow it up with another dive-bomb breakdown. Lovely stuff.
9. My Heart's To Blame
This one goes all-out in the synth-pop department. The first verse plays out like a club anthem, while the chorus offers up a bit more standard FIR fare with a club-pop twist. 'My Heart's To Blame' throws a really satisfying chorale solo into the mix, with Ronnie once again showing us what he can do.
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10. Get Me Out
It's on 'Get Me Out' that ‘Just Like You’ starts to wind down with a My Chemical Romance-inspired pop-rock anthem that features lively, almost cabaret-like verses and a dangerously catchy chorus. The lyrics follow the themes of following your hopes and dreams while also documenting Radke's own growing up experiences. It features one of the single most jarring breakdowns, too - not for its heaviness - but for the sheer fact that it comes out of completely fucking nowhere.
11. Die For You
In amongst all the poppy, melodic pleasantness we had going on in the past few tracks, the penultimate track certainly isn’t out to make friends. Balls-to-the-wall riffs attack from the get go, and pull in some thrashy elements to the metalcore mix. The chorus is one of the more sombre here, but there's an intense and rapid build-up to a chugging breakdown before it's all over. This one is a game-changer for the live show.
If you'd have told us two years ago that Falling In Reverse would close out their third album with a piano and string-led ballad about the loss of Ronnie's brother, we probably wouldn't have believed you. It’s strange to have such a heartfelt song wrap things up but it works; the scintillating piano tones waft over his most honest and fragile vocal performance to date. It's a beautiful, gentle end to all the madness that came before.
If you like the sound of what's going on in 'Just Like You', make sure to pre-order it from www.fallinginreverse.com before it's released on February 24. In other news, RONNIE'S ON THE COVER OF OUR NEW MAG! LOOK!
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