Whatever It Takes
Label: BMG Rights Management (US) LLC
Five is yet another hard-hitting collision of hip-hop, rock and metal from Los Angeles' Hollywood Undead. But where previous records emphasize their crushing riffs and venomous rhymes, this time around the group show off an elevated sense of pop savvy. "California Dreaming," for example, may open with punk-infused guitar crunch, yet it eventually shifts into big, infectiously soaring harmonies. Even more telling is the smooth, reggae-flavored "Ghost Beach," a wistful examination of 21st-century L.A. and how it barely resembles the city of their youth. What these songs are capturing is a Hollywood Undead that's outgrowing the gang-banging reputation of their early days. Maybe no song better illustrates this than the closing "Your life," a tough slab of rap-rock that embraces optimism and resiliency ("The sun may never rise again, so be the light, the vision.") in ways that will stun even the most hardcore of Hollywood Undead fans.