Fashionably Late (Epitaph Records)
release date: 6/18/2013
by Scott Hefflon
Ronnie Radke has many skills, but making smart musical choices is not among them. While able to layer his voice beautifully, and write catchy choruses most pop metal and pop punk bands would kill for, he writes some of the worst lyrics you’ll ever try to scrub from memory, and he believes in his statements so earnestly, it’s really embarrassing. His “death roars” have always been laughable, and most every review ever written has said so, yet he soldiers on with them. He’s tried rap and a little country twang to terrible results, yet somehow, he strives on, wiggling his artistic soul into various styles he doesn’t even known the basics of. It’d be insulting if it wasn’t so, ya know, clueless. I feel bad for him most of the time. Then again, he feels so sorry for himself, I probably shouldn’t even bother. He feels so misunderstood and martyred, so under-appreciated and under intense scrutiny, with so many mean people lashing out at him at every turn, I really hate to tell him he really doesn’t matter much in the big picture, and most of the criticism is kinda valid cuz he’s kind of an idiot. The good news is, “Keep Holding On” is one of the least bad songs he’s ever written. The lyrics make will make you cringe, and it is, after all, a cheesy lighter, er, cell phone-waving ballad, filled with piano-tinklings that make “Home Sweet Home” sound like Chopin, and “stringed orchestration” that surely made the professional musicians wonder why they showed up to play the few notes this clown actually knows. But the machine gun riff during the minute-long fade-out (the guy can’t even wind down his whining without milking it for a minute) is a keeper. You almost have to cheer him on and he keep repeating that despite all the criticism and abuse, man, he’s gonna keep going, he’s gonna keep holding on. Almost.