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Hey X Series...what happened?!
on April 25, 2011
Right off the bat I should say I've loved every X disc up to this point. X2011 set new lows for the series. Sorry to be harsh, but this is not the X representation we've come to expect in past years from this disc. The songs are all light, airy, poppy nonsense (except maybe the Letter Black and Underoath tracks)...but there's little to differentiate this from a slightly ambitious version of the WOW series, something this particular series should never aspire to. This isn't to say the individual tracks are all bad, but some of them definitely are. The selection is just lousy. So, without further ado, here are the tracks:
1) Crazy Love - Hawk Nelson (1/5) X is in love with Hawk Nelson. And that's fine when they're in their element. Fluffy pop-punk that requires no brain power. However, this track sounds like all the junk I hear on pop radio right now. Too much synth, too much auto-correct, WAY too mainstream pop. I'm pretty sure that's not what X originally set out to do. Just because there's a guitar solo, doesn't make it rock. Not a good song. At all.
2) My Brain Says Stop, But My Heart Says Go - FM Static (2/5) As a HUGE Thousand Foot Krutch fan, I try hard to love FM Static (they're two-thirds of TFK anyway), but I often fail. This track isn't too bad. It's catchy, but it also represents what I don't like about this disk. It's too poppy. It's better than the last one, but I'm gonna say I just don't like it.
3) Take Over Me - Sanctus Real (3/5) I confess that going into this review, I'd never heard this one. I based my frustration on my belief that Sanctus Real doesn't really belong on here anymore. With the legacy of the first two offerings, however, I'll take it. Decent song. In an ideal mix, they wouldn't really fit, however.
4) We Were Made For You - Aaron Gillespie (4/5) I loved Aaron Gillespie's worship project. I bought it maybe two days after it came out and was not disappointed. This would not, however, have been my first choice. There were plenty of 5-star songs on this disc other than this one. I think his adaptation of "Earnestly I Seek Thee" was phenomenal; I also particularly liked "I Am Your Cup". Overall, not a terrible choice, but could've been better.
5) Fix Me - Emery (5/5) I give this 5 stars because I love the song. However, why was this one chosen? It is by far their slowest song and showed up on a collection of "Rock Hits". This was one hard-hitting album, but the song that was picked is the slow worship piece at the end? That's not Emery's legacy and picking this song just adds to the slow, mundane pace of this collection. Emery is a hard band, give them a hard song on here.
6) Believe - The Letter Black (5/5) Finally, 6 songs in, we get a hard-hitting rock song! Hallelujah! This is a great song and The Letter Black put out some really cool stuff on this album. This is one choice I'm happy with.
7) Driving Nails - Demon Hunter (5/5) So once again we come to a song that's all-too-convenient for this disc's agenda. I LOVE Demon Hunter...a ton. And this is another great song, but I also love a bunch of other, harder songs from The World is a Thorn. So I ask again...why do you put the hardcore bands on here and give them a slow song? The whold point is to vary the pace and put something heavy to counterbalance and appeal to the metal fans, and this disc tried really hard not to do so.
8) The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues) - Switchfoot (5/5) OK there we go. A song that fits. I'm totally OK with this. It's more heavy for Switchfoot and incredibly catchy. No problems here. Good choice from a great disc.
9) Avalanche - Manafest (3/5) I like Manafest, and this song is OK. Don't love it, but I don't hate it. I suppose it works. The theme is alright, but not quite the caliber of a couple of his other hits. Again, a bit poppy, but also fairly catchy.
10) New Fire - Sent By Ravens (5/5) This is an X disc worthy song, an X disc worthy band in fact. The guy has an incredible balance between a killer singing voice and a pretty awesome scream as well. Great guitar work, great vocals, great subject matter. One of the few appropriate choices.
11) Hero - Abandon (3/5) Inspiring song. Would've been great for a WOW disc. A bit reminiscent of Leeland, who coincidentally another band that doesn't really belong on the X series. Sorry, but with the previously mentioned worship tunes dominating this disc, this song is HARDLY necessary. Very good song, but it gets 3 stars for reinforcing the boring nature of this disc. Save this stuff for WOW or another X Worship if you must.
12) Forward Motion - Thousand Foot Krutch (4/5) I'm not sure I need to explain why this song doesn't fit (or fits all too well). Of all the songs to pick from Welcome to the Masquerade, X has successfully picked two on the last two discs that would be last on my list. At least "Fire It Up" on last year's disc fit the X mantre. "Forward Motion" just makes this disc more like another X Worship. That's fine if that's the intent, but let's not call it something it's not.
13) No I Don't - The Almost (3/5) This song could've fit on Aaron's worship project. Once again, not bad. Just slow. And worship-y. That seems to be the desired effect for this disc. This song is alright, but it's only remotely hard because Aaron Gillespie is such an intense vocalist. The tone and the lyrics are that of a worship tune, not a rock song. And yes, there is a difference. Once again, if you're going to make this a worship disc, just call it X Worship like the two other X Worship discs.
14) Rememer Me - Kutless (3/5) I saw Kutless at Winter Jam playing largely from their new release, "It Is Well", and I have to say that when I saw them at Spirit Song two years before, just before the release of "To Know That You're Alive", they were much more in their element. This slow direction takes away the sting they used to have when Kutless was strictly a rock band. There are ways to incorporate worshipful lyrics into heavy music, as they had no problem doing before. Let's go back to what we're good at, eh Kutless? Once again (I feel like a broken record) this song drags this disc out WAY too much...
15) In Division - Underoath (4/5) Whoa...what just happened?! I think I just got whiplash from the transition through slow song after slow song after...who's that screaming at me?? Perfectly fine choice, but the rude awakening it caused points out exactly what's wrong. There was no warning, little hint of anything nearly this hard, and therefore, Underoath hit me like a ton of bricks. It doesn't fit, but that's the problem with this disc. Underoath should ALWAYS fit on the X franchise. Great song, not my first choice from the new post-Aaron Gillespie album, but good choice nonetheless. Just...shocking in comparison.
This disc was slow and uninspiring. Also, I believe House of Heroes' "God Save the Foolish Kings" was cut from the original track list. Why on earth would you do that? It would've been one of the few rock selections on here, not to mention a great representation of the music industry. House of Heroes is incredible. This disc is full of bad choices. It's the first disc I haven't bought in a long time. Also, stop cheaping out with the 15 tracks. Anybody else remember X 2003 with TWO DISCS and 17 songs a piece? At least attempt to get back to that. The point here is this. Anyone who remembers the start of this franchise remembers the original subtitle of the disc...X 2003: EXPERIENCE THE ALTERNATIVE...well? This year, X franchise, I'm waiting to experience that. All I heard was poppy junk that I could get anywhere else. Sorry, but this disc failed as a part of a great series. Good luck next year!