What the hell is this? I'm listening to the song "Friends" and I'm trying to reconcile it with the band who made rap-metal into their own unique, interesting Southern-fried beast on "Rising" and "Declaration of a Headhunter". "Friends" has a chorus right out of a Nickelodeon kids' show theme, and sports irritating female guest vocals seemingly aimed at 12-year-old girls who like BLACK EYED PEAS. The raps in the verse are insipid and trite, and there's a goofy trailer-park vibe to the whole groove, like a bad KID ROCK ersatz summertime hit gone wrong. This alone would be enough to make me throw the record in the trash — it's seriously one of the worst songs I've heard in years — but we owe it to the band's past legacy, at least, to venture further into "The Great Revival" and see what's going on.While nothing else on "The Great Revival" tops that feat of suckitude, "Invincible" comes close — why is Rich Ward singing like Justin Timberlake through a mouthful of auto-tune? In what universe did he think this was going to become a surprise radio hit? And does the tacked-on "rockin'" part with the Hammond organ at the end make any sense at all? It doesn't help when the band gets heavier, either — "The Flood" drowns in a sea of cheesy eastern guitar effects and Lord Nelson's stuck-in-1991 rap vocals, not to mention some bad death metal growling in the chorus. The reworked cover of JOHN DENVER's insufferable "Country Roads" gets turned into a shlocky, heart-on-the-sleeve weeper that's almost physically uncomfortable to listen to. And did we need two tracks of testifying from the same old recording of a revival preacher, two tracks apart, to kill any momentum the first half of the record might have generated? And why, why, why, are three of this album's nine proper tracks self-righteous lectures about the evils of superstardom? I think I liked Ward better when he dissed Bill Clinton — this lyrical tack borders on the nonsensical, especially from a band that has yet to crack the Billboard Top 200. I wouldn't care if Ward wasn't doing at least half of the vocalizing these days, singing these deep and meaningful life lessons in an overly-earnest, plaintive voice while Lord Nelson, presumably, fetches drinks and towels. I'm not quite sure why he's even in the band, except maybe to get through the old songs live; his style is blindingly average and it's hard to imagine anyone else getting a word in edgewise anyway when it comes to songwriting for this band. The whole rap-metal genre probably belongs entombed in the 1990's anyway, but if anyone was gonna make it evolve into something new and vital, STUCK MOJO shoulda been it. But "The Great Revival" is a fucking mess, a career-killing disaster of uninspired performances, corny songs, misguided choices and clumsy, overwrought vocals. It's so bad it's bewildering, because somewhere along the line shoulda known better. Download, laugh, delete.
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