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The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – “Lonely Road” (2009) February 5, 2009

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2009, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

Written by Andrew Hart

As a man who doesn’t often claim to be a big fan of the alternative pop punk stylings of bands such as The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, it should come as a surprise that their debut album rocked my world. Don’t You Fake It was a wonderful blend of impassioned vocals, catchy riffs, and lyrics that went a little beyond “I love her so much, I want to marry her.” A legit contender for album of the year 2006 was made from this very band, so logically I expected the same from their 2009 follow-up, Lonely Road. I only wish I could have been right.

Now wait, I don’t want to crucify this band, I’m getting carried away early. I do kind of like this Lonely Road that The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus have spit out after three years in the studio. Lead track and single “You Better Pray” is an explosive derivation from their style of previous years but suits them well. The tempo increase once the chorus hits is a wonderfully played by vocalist Ronnie Winter, who’s vocal melodies and screams were one of the highlights of Don’t You Fake It. Most response to this track by fans of the band was fairly negative, and I can get why. It’s a big change in style for the band, but it’s hard-rocking nature is just a candy coat to something The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus did so well, make a really catchy song. At this point, I was expecting a change in style, but not the one I got.

“Pen and Paper” is just about the only song with immediate throwback to the Don’t You Fake It days, but just about everything else this CD contains is a mixed bag of mediocre tunes, so-so vocals, and an overall lack of passion. Nothing on Lonely Road comes close to the emotional vocal performances of “Justify,” “Face Down,” or “My Guardian Angel.” In fact, even with a few more slow songs than the one on Don’t You Fake It, none of them can hold a candle to the latter love song.

I usually am more than eager to talk about as many of the CDs tracks as possible, and delve into what makes them good or bad, but the majority of this album falls into the same boat. The common theme is an overall lack of memorability. I’ve listened to the album more than enough times to write a proper review for it, yet I still have yet to fall in love with any of these songs, and only seem to have caught the lyrics to one or two of the slightly more remarkable tracks. Only one or two tracks truly have any amount of standout quality. “Represent” has a solid opening sound, “Pull Me Back” has a fairly catchy chorus, and “Lonely Road” should be noted for it’s lyrical nuances. Overall however, each of these tracks suffers from other problems which drag down this endeavor.

I have found myself growing fonder of “No Spell” and “Step Right Up” the more I listen to the album, at long last. “Step Right Up” in particular has the best chance at regaining any kind of radio attention for the band that’s now trying to avoid being a one-hit wonder. The tune is a real toe-tapping kind of melody, and the chorus will get the rest of your body moving in it’s simple rhythm. It’s very remniscent of The All-American Rejects’s “Gives You Hell” in it’s simplicity and catchiness. All in all, short of the lead single which is hit for me, but a miss for most loyalists, “Step Right Up” is probably your best chance to fall in love on this Lonely Road.

The best word I come up with as I listen to this album again and again is unremarkable. It’s not bad by any stretch, in fact lyrically it’s a step up from their stellar debut. But maybe that’s it, fans of the band’s first CD will likely find this to be a big step down from a very promising start. Those just stumbling on The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus may find this more enjoyable than I did, but it certainly doesn’t sound as good to me when I know there’s just so much more potential there.

5 out of 10

The Point – Average, mediocre, unmemorable, and unremarkable are the best words for Lonely Road. The beats are too simple, the vocals not emotional enough, the songs simply not catchy enough. For a band with a huge breakout single, they didn’t put a lot of meat on these bones to try a repeat attempt. Lonely Road won’t have any tracks that you’ll skip on shuffle, but you won’t remember their names when they come up either.

Download This – “Step Right Up”



1. K.G.G.Pennington - February 6, 2009

Ah, that’s sad. Good job doing a fair and still critical review, Grav. 😀

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