Hollywood Undead

Day of the Dead

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The fifth studio long-player from the ghoulish, non-Faygo-drinking, Los Angeles-based rap-rock crew, Day of the Dead is the follow-up to 2002's chart-topping Notes from the Underground -- it's also the group's first outing for Interscope. Darker and a tad more defiant than previous outings (calling out the band's "haters" is a frequent theme) but still stocked with enough good-time, in-your-face, but largely innocuous party-rap anthems to successfully soundtrack multiple lost weekends, the 12-track set offers up a wide array of rock, electropop, and hip-hop with a newfound emphasis on the pop side of things. Festooned with enough well-worn hooks, stadium-ready gang vocals, and seismic orchestral bursts to be briefly mistaken for a Katy Perry superbowl halftime show rehearsal, Charlie Scene, Da Kurlzz, Danny, Funny Man, J-Dog, and Johnny 3 Tears clearly have their sights set on the mainstream, but they pollute the water with too many cheap slurs and lazy, sexist non sequiturs to really break free from the WWE/UFC promo/highlight reel graveyard, even though singles like "Gravity," "How We Roll," "Usual Suspects," and the beefy title track, at least sonically, suggest very obvious commercial aspirations. That said, overthinking Hollywood Undead causes brain freeze, and taking the album at face value results in a far better listening experience. How many masked, horror-themed rap-rock crews the world needs is still up for debate, but Day of the Dead is easily the group's most accessible and instantly gratifying outing, and what it lacks in nuance it more than makes up for with (schlocky) audacity.

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