Release Date: July 26, 2011
Las Vegas based, post-hardcore band Falling in Reverse released its debut CD earlier this summer. The CD was produced by Michael “Elvis” Baskette (Cold, Chevelle, Alter Bridge) and entered the charts at a respectable 19 on the Billboard 200. The band is led by charismatic frontman Ronnie Radke (formerly of Escape the Fate) with Jacky Vincent and Derek Jones on lead and rhythm guitars respectively, Mika Horiuchi (formerly of Cellador) on bass and Ryan Seaman (formerly of I Am Ghost; Aiden) on drums. During the process of checking out this band in cyberspace I found that people either really love or totally hate them. I saw discussions about their sound, their attitudes, who is better–this singer or that singer, comments about their style, their hair, their general look, because guy liner and hair styles have a lot to do with the level of talent a person or a band possesses. I personally don’t give a flying fuck about any of it and if their style bothers you, try looking past it.
Whichever side and/or category you fall into, whether your feelings are good or bad about Falling in Reverse, chatter is still chatter and there is significant chatter out there about them. But wait there’s more, let’s not forget that there has been some controversy with Radke and his relationship with his former band Escape the Fate, along with the fact that Radke did a stint in prison for a probation violation on a battery charge. All of this is pretty well laid out to you through Radke’s lyrics. So let’s get this perfectly clear, I am not going to discuss any of these subjects more than what I have just written. The information is out there, it happened, I know about it, you may know about it, but completely irrelevant to the subject at hand, which is a damn entertaining debut CD. So why don’t we just talk about the music, that is what it is all about anyway, right?
The Drug in Me is You is like stepping into the mind of Ronnie Radke. He poured his essence into the lyrics of this CD and each word seems to have significant meaning. Radke tells you exactly how he feels and what he has experienced and is not apologetic about it. This is him at his most raw, and the deepest darkest depths of life, both good and bad and it translates into one hell of a great CD. It opens with the perfect song to introduce you to Falling in Reverse. “Raised by Wolves” which was also the band’s first single and it has a nice mixture of what I find their sound to be, outstanding melodies, great choruses, relatable well put together lyrics that is intertwined with a seamless mix of straight vocals and just the right amount of hard growling vocals when needed. You also notice right away that Falling in Reverse as a whole has a great amount of overall musicality by the entire band; including Jacky Vincent who is masterful in his guitar solos, very reminiscent of the style of Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold in my opinion. But each member holds their own musically and they certainly know how to wield their instruments, there is no doubt about that.
“I’m back…” I can’t think of a more appropriate way to flow into the second track “Tragic Magic.” Ronnie Radke is most definitely back and he is not afraid to tell you so. This fairly slow tempo song obviously takes a few jabs at Radke’s former band Escape the Fate, but overall is a solid melodic song, The third track “The Drug in Me is You” was the second single and the band’s first video and might I add a very entertaining video. “The Drug in Me is You,” is a nicely constructed musical performance that is just flat out catchy. To me the song is about something most people can relate to, the battle you have with yourself, with your morality, with your demons. We all know that we can be our own worst enemy and the only person that you truly have to blame in many instances is yourself. “Trying to consume, the drug in me is you and I’m so high on misery can’t you see,” evokes the feeling that you are your own drug, the creator of your misery and if you need to point fingers at someone try looking in the mirror first. “If we are born to die and we all die to live, then what’s the point of living life if life just contradicts?” Questions we all ask when we pick ourselves up off the floor and do the only thing we can do, try again. Life is what you make of it, if you have lost yourself, it is up to you to find your way again. I got all profound there for a second, it happens.
Next we have a completely engaging song that is perfect for radio, “I’m Not a Vampire.” The beat and lyrics are contagious and you can’t help but sing along and have one good time doing it. Why this song isn’t in heavy rotation on rock stations is beyond me, I could listen to this 20 times a day and still enjoy it. The thumping bass, the rhythmic drumming with some nice double-bass action, great guitars including a kick ass solo and the excellent delivery by Radke, seriously who can’t appreciate this song? Radke sings “God bless all of you now, ’cause I’m going straight to hell and I’m taking you down with me…” come on, don’t you kind of want to go, because if songs like this are there, it would be one hell of a time. Although the song touches on a serious topic, addiction, it is put together in such a way that even though the subject matter is serious it has a sense of levity that in my opinion is nice alternative way to relay heavy subjects sometimes. “I’m Not a Vampire” is a throwback to the days when songs may have had a message, but were also entertaining to listen too. There is no woe is me I’m so sad, let’s sit around and be depressed and talk about it. Fuck being depressed, life can be shit sometimes, but let’s make the most of it. This song is also the second video for the band. I have to say that I like Falling in Reverse’s videos. We have the straight forward performance sections, but it also has story portions that convey the feeling that the band doesn’t take itself too seriously. I don’t understand why some bands always have to be so hard ass and serious. A fun video is something you want to watch over and over and is definitely proves Radke is comfortable in his skin, knows who he is and doesn’t care whether you like it or not.
Now let’s move on to “Good Girls Bad Guys” which is another terrific track. Why do good girls like bad boys? I sure as hell don’t know, but in my experience they most certainly do. “Sexy please text me I’m ready for you…I’m waiting I’m begging so please get here soon…” honestly at this point I am pretty sure it is take a number, the line is forming to the left for this band. “Good Girls Bad Guys” is not a song you have to over think, it is just something you enjoy. Now the next track is not one of my favorites “Pick Up the Phone” starts off well enough and leads into a great scream by Radke and then it loses me a bit in the verse. There is something about the verse sections of this song that just doesn’t fit with me, there are some portions where the lyric structure maybe could have been better and the tempo just doesn’t hold my attention at times. What absolutely does save this song are the chorus and the bridge which are masterfully performed. And again I must add that Jacky Vincent’s guitar work is slow clap worthy, but I am not dissing any other member of this band’s performance, Falling in Reverse as a musical unit works. The song wraps it up with the line “We’re sorry the number you have dialed is not in service at this time…fuck you…” OK, who at one time or another hasn’t wanted that message on their voicemail? Priceless!
Ok now on to one of my absolute favorite tracks on the CD, “Don’t Mess with Ouija Boards.” I love this song. It is one of the harder tracks and also one of the darker ones. It is not fun or catchy, but it is completely bad ass. I am not sure how much the song actually has to do with Ouija boards literally, but it makes me want to figuratively mess with them. The chorus of this song is beyond fantastic “I’m bound by fear of being trapped. I’m falling faster, fade to black. Something’s standing in my way, hoping for better days. I’m always searching for serenity and I’m always standing at the edge reality.” That set of lyrics is nothing short of epic and the screams during the chorus, the only way I can accurately describe them is they are from the most primal place inside and to me completely for lack of a better word, orgasmic, yes I said that. There is not one thing wrong with the song, lyrically, musically, artistically 4 minutes and 55 seconds of perfection.
I am blown away by the fluid structure of this CD; one song right after another that work and function well together, and “Sink or Swim” is just another example of how good song writing, sweet ass hooks, and the right mixing is the recipe for making good music. I enjoy the song from beginning to end, everything is just as it should be. Track 9, “Caught Like a Fly” is the second of the only two songs on this CD that I am not completely in love with. It is reminiscent of A7X’s “Little Peace of Heaven,” but falls short of the greatness that song possesses. There is really not a problem with the lyrics, as usual Radke tells you exactly how he sees it and his truth flows out of him like blood through veins. But what doesn’t work for me is the circus feel during the verse. It may just be my personal preference but in my opinion it doesn’t flow well with the best part of this song, the chorus. Again Falling in Reverse has a surprising knack of writing the most amazing choruses, song after song, solidly built choruses and the musicianship is stadium worthy. I will admit that the way they close out this song is beautiful with the slower pace and piano section, not a perfect song, but not a bad song either.
The CD closes out with the last two songs “Goodbye Graceful” another well put together, well-balanced song and then finally “The Westerner” Radke leaves no stone unturned about his life, he lays it all out there for you to digest. I admire Radke for the honesty of his lyrics. He is telling things from his point of view, the way he feels things were, the way they are and moving towards the way he wants them to be. This final song off of The Drug in Me is You is just another example of what you can do with the right people around you and the right amount of talent. Radke gets flack for his lyrics, especially when the subject matter is an opinion about his own musical talent. GASP a frontman who has an ego, a shit load of self-confidence in himself and his ability. This is unheard of. Really seriously, has there ever been a frontman like this? Come on, yes, it is a requirement of a great vocalist. I will be honest, I like my frontmen to be a little cocky and self-confident it is not a bad thing and when they can back it up with actual talent, even better.
I love new music, I love discovering new artists. Music has always been my drug of choice and the drug in me right now is Falling in Reverse. This is the first debut CD in a long time where I truly loved everything about it. I can honestly say I am a fan and I have not “lost my goddamn mind!” Falling in Reverse simply knows how to build an infectious chorus and the bridge transitions are outstanding and impressive. Radke has a talent for making the most engaging lyrics and I must add that I truly appreciate Radke’s enunciation prowess, if I can understand the lyrics without having to look them up that is a bonus in my book.
This band, in my opinion, will have a huge female following, not just teenage girls, grown ass damn women and let me tell you a little secret, marketing departments, chicks travel in packs and they spend a lot of money on what they are into. This is not to say that this band doesn’t appeal to guys as well, it will, Radke’s cockiness along with the great music will draw them to FIR. Oh and another thing booking agents and venues, if the band draws a large number of women to their shows, the guys will follow, hormones dictate it.
I have no doubt with the right focus and the right team behind and around Falling in Reverse the sky is the limit on what they could achieve. The music business is harder than ever to navigate and you have to be inventive about the marketing of the product and the product is the music, the band and the swag. I ran across this band by accident, and watched the video for “I’m Not a Vampire” on YouTube and I am so lucky I did. Because of that instance of happenstance I have listened to this CD well over 30 times continuing to think the new and shiny would wear off and I wouldn’t be so enthralled with it. That didn’t/hasn’t happened and I love this CD just as much as I did the first time I heard it. I don’t care if the band wears makeup or quite frankly what they wear at all. They can wear whatever they want and have a cocky attitude as long as they can back it all up with actual ability and Falling in Reverse does that for me. Radke sings that he is the “king of the music scene…” it could happen, with his talent, swagger and confidence, stranger things have happened.
I give this CD 9 out of 10 and I suggest you pick it up. I had a little trouble finding it at any of my local stores and after an internet search and some phone calls I finally got a copy from the local FYE music store. So if you can’t find it in your area, your best bet may be to buy it online, which is what most people do anyway. Me, I like to physically have the CD in my hand, that is just how I roll.
Falling in Reverse is doing a free live web broadcast from The Red Bull Sound Space at KROQ at 5:00 p.m. PT/8:00 p.m. ET on November 8th. You can tune in at http://www.kroq.com/soundspace if you would like to check them out.
The CD is available on iTunes at