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Review – Hollywood Undead "Swan Songs" (2008) September 16, 2008

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2008, Hollywood Undead.

Written by Andrew

What once started as a tiny little blogging community has evolved into so much more it would seem. The famous social network known has Myspace suddenly has itself some music credentials and no one would be more fit to vouch for this Hollywood Undead, the latest product to emerge from lowly garage band to major label phenomenon thanks to a little playlist and Top 8. Their debut product Swan Songs recently debuted at number 22 on the Billboard charts.

Hollywood Undead reeks of a modern day Insane Clown Posse, a six piece of masked madmen rapping about chicks and booze. Still, this sextet seems less erratic than ICP in the sense that every song is structured as a traditional rap song with lyrical verses and a chorus with few lines and a catchy backbeat. Undead is true to form as far as the rap game goes, but the balance of metal elements as the backdrop serves to make the experience far more interesting than it should be.

“Undead” serves as the best possible lead-off track for a project like this as the group bursts out on each round through the song “You’d better get up out the way….you know I don’t give a fuck what you have to say,” lyrics that would make those Insane Clowns proud. No, Hollywood Undead doesn’t find their lost maturity as the album progresses. They swear a lot, and even dodges swears with words like “weenie” to describe Charlie Scene’s nether-regions (“Everywhere I Go”). Yes, this band is the very epitome of class.

Still, it feels like they’re doing something right. The aformentioned first track and the following act “Sell My Soul” are early album standouts that prove that this band’s territory should be in the harder, darker music. “Everywhere I Go” dashes this theme with an Eminem-esque (speaking of, one of these guys sound a lot like him) anthem that never picks up any kind of momentum to make you forget the lyrical mess that is this song. “No Other Place” doesn’t do a lot to fix the sins of the previous but is slightly better, and “No. 5” is another disgrace to music.

Just when you think all hope is gone for these masked men (did you catch that?), “Young” and “Black Dahlia” rebound the album in a huge way. “Black Dahlia” in particular is perfect for the angry break-up that everyone at some point. The line “I used to be lovestruck, now I’m just fucked up,” reminds us how foul-mouthed these little punks are, but also that there is some emotion under those hockey masks.

And then, of course, Hollywood Undead ruins the vibe again. “This Love, This Hate” sounds like Candyland got attacked by Satan’s minions until the chorus attempts futiley to save it, and “Bottle and a Gun” starts with arguably the worst intro of all time, followed by mediocre music all the way through. I’d forget the track was there if not for that god-awful beginning. “California” follows and washes the bad taste out, but doesn’t do much to put a good one in.

If I could say one positive thing about this album that lacks any kind of good/bad continuity, it’s that with “City” and “Paradise Lost” as two of the closers for the disc, Hollywood Undead at least leaves as pleasurable a taste in your mouth as the one they gave at the beginning. Oddly enough, I highly recommend getting the bonus track version should you invest in the album, as “Pain” and “Knife Called Lust” would have been more than welcome to replace the terrible tracks on this one. As it stands, Hollywood Undead’s debut has a very erratic quality to it. Some tracks will have you rapping along acting like a gangsta in the privacy of your own home, others will have you wishing your walkman (does anyone still have those?) would burst into flame.

The Point – There’s more good songs than bad on Swan Songs, but there’s enough bad to make a big difference. Hollywood Undead has potential to be a major rap-rock mainstay, but they have to lose the Eminem vibe and find a little bit of maturity.

6 out of 10

Download This – “Black Dahlia”



1. Anonymous - September 16, 2008

yay! first comment. I liked this review. read over it a couple more times first, though.
anyway. good job. you rock. I’ma marry you.

2. kat - November 4, 2008

okay, idk if this song is on the album, but their song “Bitches” is freakin’ awesome, sorry if you don’t appreciate the tone of it, but its suupposed to be FUNNY. some people can’t get that, and if you can’t then you obviously are missing out on the hilarityt of the most stupiod and juvinile of things ever.
i might be biased, see i am 14. but, i am a girl, so i should be ome of the people offended by the content.

3. Gravity - November 6, 2008

I have heard that song and do enjoy it actually. It was left off the album for reasons unknown to me.

4. Hollywood Undead HYPE - January 3, 2009

“Undead” is a solid track, but don’t you think they sound a bit contrived? and outdated for taht matter?

I hyped Hollywood Undead on Everhype.com and gave them 64% which I think is fairly accurate.

You can read the hype at the title link above.


5. Nicholas - January 17, 2009

Interesting to say the least. I was introduced to Hollywood Undead by a friend a few months ago and I just got their whole song list, but haven’t had a chance to listen.

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