Hollywood Undead

Notes From the Underground

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Working again with American Tragedy producer/co-writer Griffin Boice, masked alt-metal/rap outfit Hollywood Undead returned with their testosterone-fueled signature sound for their 2012 album Notes from the Underground. The record boosts the knowing arena rock posturing with titanic contemporary production. Going for a grand scale enhances the power of their rap-metal attack, which can get tedious, but as they did on the previous year's outing, Johnny 3 Tears, Charlie Scene, Da Kurlzz, Funny Man, J-Dog, and Danny divide their songs up into club pop, rap-rock, and power ballads to break up the sameness of Hollywood suburbia. There are two lyrical themes, too, almost as if they are partying recklessly when the masks are on, and inner angst is revealed when the masks are removed. For every song that revolves around juvenile humor -- for instance, the thinly veiled sports gag "Pigskin," where Charlie Scene raps about his weenie and Danny sings "Hike up your skirt girl, let's get naughty" -- there's a seemingly heartfelt song about dejection. The party rhymes are pretty played out at this point, and knowingly so, as evidenced by a line like "Girls look at me like that guy must make pornos/Yeah, I'm pushing 30 but I still drink Mickey's four O's," but otherwise, the group shows no signs of slowing and will probably still be going strong if and when rap-rock makes a resurgence.

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