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The Fellowship

June 25, 2013

Rise by Skillet -- Album Review

As some of you may know, Skillet came out with a new album this year called Rise. I decided to listen through it and write down my thoughts about the songs. So here is my take on their album! Enjoy :) 

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Synopsis: John is definitely experimenting with new beats and feels. Some folks may like it, some may hate it, some may be passive about the entire thing. It seems to me like they're going for a bit more of a catchy/driving sound while experimenting with increased synth and electro...kinda reminded me of a few 80s bands that I've listened to. They deal with topics of mental illness/psychosis (or at least that's what it seems like to me) and the concept of being a freak. A couple of the songs are good...even one or two that I think could potentially (given the right conditions and vocals) make worship songs. All in all, it was an okay with album with its ups and downs. I particularly like the fact that they were successful at creating catchy tunes.

[note: a * means I really liked that song]


Rise:
Ok, reminds me a bit of TobyMac/TFK lyrics…but the music is definitely the awesome Skillet that I’ve always known. John’s voice is a bit grating as usual. I was a bit surprised by the chorus part, but hey…it sounded nice; epic bass too. Good kick off to the album; count-down, call out, tonight is the night…yep sounds preppy to me!

Sick of It:
This song started off like a Depeche Mode kinda song…but then it dropped into the thick synth and steady drums. Lyrics are a bit negative-focused, but I think the title gives that away. I like the concept that yes, if you are sick of something continuing and not changing they you should step out and make a move to alter it for the better. A bit more of a scream; my favourite part was the whispered bridge with the strong drum beat. I do think they could have done better with it though.

*Good to be Alive:
Loving the intro to this song!! Reminded me somewhat of Imagine Dragons. The lyrics are wonderful; a bit heavy on the treble sounds in some parts…but otherwise I found it beautiful (perhaps because I relate closely to the lyrics, they just resonate with me). I particularly like the repetitions of “It’s good to be alive” because it really is great to be alive :P // the last minute of the song really surprised me with the sudden transition…I didn’t really like that because I thought they were going great places with their positive lyrics, but they suddenly did a turn-around for the negative. Pity.

Not Gonna Die:
Strong music, strong lyrics, and therefore strong emotions emitted by this song. Particularly usage of the words “abuse”, “flatline”, and “chains”. The bridge was nice. All in all, I wasn’t too surprised by this song…seems like a regular Cooper tradition. I liked that there were no finale-surprises like there was with the last song.

Circus for a Psycho:
Pretty sweet intro, a bit creepy with the combined voices though. All in all I didn’t like this song at all.  It makes me wonder if everyone was fully sane while writing the music and lyrics… Also, the whole Nicki Minaj sound with the female vocals grated on my nerves. Plus: another one of those surprise endings; dislike.

American Noise:
The first soft song of the album. About time! Beautiful lyrics and beautiful music. I really like it :)

Madness in Me:
Another interesting intro that transfers into a bit of chaos, quickly cleared up by Cooper’s voice. Definitely a strong song dealing with, if I may be so bold as to suggest, mental illness. Not a song I can relate to…so I don’t have too much to say here. // another unnecessary surprise and change in the music however the reading of Scripture definitely bumped up my thoughts of this album…great choice!

*Salvation:
Haunting intro, beautiful vocals! Love the lyrics. I think it could potentially pass for a worship song if someone did a cover of it.

*Fire and Fury:
I’m loving this song. It makes me think of a really rough cover of a Starfield piece. The lyrics are amazing! Not to mention it’s a duet and it’s gorgeous! Like Salvation, it could possibly make a great acoustic worship song.

My Religion:
Catchy start. The vocals don’t quite measure up to the music. I like how the lyrics refer to the fact that we don’t need all these traditional things like priests, pews, or even a “proper” church building to be Christians. We just need to believe in Jesus and follow Him completely. However, I find there are some issues with the lyrics…Cooper focuses on what God can do for him, rather than on what he can do for God. Also, he never once mentions the word “Christian”, “God”, or “Jesus”. I have a few issues with that…but otherwise it’s a good song. I’m still getting the sensation that he’s trying to copy some of the older 80s bands (maybe that’s just me though).

Hard to Find:
A generic song of encouragement with generic chord progressions; it’s a welcomed break from the negativity of several earlier songs. I like it, but I wouldn’t say it’s anything new or special.

What I Believe:
Typical well-loved Skillet intro with the violin. I like it, although I dislike the line that says “When I’m down on my knees you are what I believe.” I think that we should believe no matter whether times are good or bad. Other than that, it’s a good song.

*Battle Cry:
LOVE THIS SONG. You just need to listen to it to understand. It’s definitely a battle cry for the weak, weary, and lost. I love the implied reference to spiritual battles, not to mention the use of the word “prayer” and the statement of moving mountains. Great outro too!

Everything Goes Black:
Pretty intro and finally some nice male vocals! Definitely a bit of a darker song; I’d compare it to thunderclouds rolling in with a bit of sunlight glinting through the top canopy. Definitely some strongly implied themes in this song.

Freakshow:

 Curious intro. Definitely a bit more of a driving song; they seem to be experimenting with synth and electro sounds as well as taking a new approach to writing lyrics. I don’t exactly like this song very much…the term “freak” seems a bit too strong the way John is spitting it out and the vocals are definitely grating. All in all it gave me this sensation that there was a giant monster in the room covered by a nice white satin table cloth. 


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That's all folks! Leave a comment if you have any thoughts or want to add something to the discussion :D 

Signed with feathers, 

Squeaks.

8 comments:

  1. I've only listened to a few songs from this album -- Rise caught my attention the moment I heard it -- but your post has inspired me to look your "stared" songs.

    I normally don't like the slower songs, but Fire and Fury. Oh. My. Gosh. I... don't... I don't know what to say. I can't express how much I love it.

    I agree that a few of their songs were fairly negative, but, if I remember corrected, this album is supposed to follow a girl's journey through life, and there are negative parts in life. Plus, Skillet's always had that darker edge, so it makes sense they'd include at least a few tracks with such themes on them in this album.

    I'd write more by my dad just got home; I'll try to finish this comment later. :)

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  2. Thanks for the comment! I totally agree with you. And yes, I absolutely love that song too; it's very catchy and just...awesome :P

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  3. You're so welcome! :D

    Goose and I went listened to at least a third of each song on the album, and we agree that Skillet's definitely taken different approach to their sound. They still have the heavy guitar going for them, but, as you said, they've included synth, which is something they haven't done for years. It's nice to see them changing things up, even though not every single one of their songs caught my attention.

    I have to say, Fury and Fire is still my favorite. :D

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  4. Very good review! This is actually the first Skillet album I have liked. I am usually more in to rap like Lecrae, KB, and Andy Mineo, but I might just have to buy this one!

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  5. *rises from the depths of who knows where*

    I've heard loads about Skillet's new album and can't wait to actually check it out...there's something I've been meaning to thank you for that's music related and I haven't yet.

    Okay, so, Squeaks, ages ago you shared a song or two by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Like, two or three years ago. Mainly because I saw their name on your blog, I went and found all their stuff and they're pretty much my absolute favorite band and it's your fault (: I just kept forgetting to tell you and thank you. Seriously they're one of the best things that has ever happened to me musically. So just. Thanks :P

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  6. @TD Oooh my gosh!! Haha! TRJA has some good stuff :P I'm not terribly partial to the words in most cases but I love the music :D No worries at all ^_^

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  7. @Squeaks Ahahhaa see I can't actually discern the words in most cases, and I do mainly like them for their sound. However, Step Right Up is probably one of my top 3 favorite songs ever. And then there's Justify for the EPIC riff :P
    What's your favorite by them?

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  8. Nice :P Yeah I like Justify too...right after Damn Regret. Those are my two favourite songs.

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