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One Way Ticket to Hell & Back

3.9 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 29, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Darkness return with their second album, One Way Ticket To Hell...And Back. Everything you've heard is true. All of it. The exhaustion and the fear, the pressure, paranoia and pan pipes, the breakdowns and break-ups, the sackings, sitar solos and endless studio sessions and now ultimately-with this, their second album-the rebirth and redemption of The Darkness. Atlantic. 2005.

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More than 3.5 million debut records sold are enough to stuff any band from Lowestoft, UK, with a follow up full of bohemian rhapsody, and with one-time Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker in tow, the Darkness has managed to parcel its sophomore effort with notoriously ogress riffs and (Freddie) Mercurial bravado. Led by audacious (and high-octave) singer Justin Hawkins, the foursome channels the pompous arena rock of the late-seventies with flaunting glam bands like Slade and T-Rex, parading mellotrons, flugelhorns, sitars and saxophones into a bawdy mix already conquered by double-barrel Gibsons and layered vocals. While the assemblage of power ballads ("Dinner Lady Arms," "Hazel Eyes") hearkens back to mid-eighties MTv, the Darkness brightens the play list with hook-heavy rockers like "Is It Just Me," "Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time" and "Girlfriend." And with a sarcastic spirit and stretch-limo approach, there's no telling whom the band might round up to produce its third record. Is George Martin available? --Scott Holter
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 29, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000BP86OG
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,994 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Great Sweet Queen, wipe the Slade clean. Justin Hawkins and his bandmates in The Darkness have given us an exuberant reminder of why - when it was really great - the kind of arena rock that you loved in the 70's was fabulous. In fact, even the syrup-stringed ballad ("Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time") isn't a total embarrassment. There's even a couple of hilarious one-offs to make sure you never forget that The Darkness can make light. You get "Knockers" (complete with the most outrageously funny second verse I've heard in years) and the ode to that middle-age scourge of crotch-rockers everywhere, "Bald." (Hey, is this a knock at Rush? Remember "I Think I'm Going Bald"?)

That is the beauty of The Darkness and "One Way Ticket To Hell...And Back." This is serious rock by a bunch of guys who have no problem NOT taking themselves all that seriously. My main quibble with The Darkness remains that their voice is still not gone beyond a too-easily identified composite of other bands. You'll hear an awful lot of Sweet and Queen here, and dabs of Slade, Boston, AC/DC, Def Lep etc, and the final third of the CD loses momentum. But then, if you can muster up the charisma of Freddie Mercury and the harmonies of the mighty Sweet, as The Darkness does on the title cut and "English Country Garden," I'm not going to be the one to tell you it's a bad thing. Add to the mix Roy Thomas Baker's usual kitchen sink approach to the production (sitar, bagpipes, pan flute, tubular bells and a pitch-perfect Brian May sound-alike opening guitar on "Hazel Eyes") and you can't help but get swept up in the ride. Besides, would any of the cocaine-cowboy bands of the seventies even dared to open their album with an anti-drug song AND the sounds of line-snorting?

Best Songs" "One Way Ticket," "Knockers," "Hazel Eyes."
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Format: Audio CD
Ah, the dreaded second album, the album that will separate the one-album-wonders and the bands with staying power. Having to have your second album be as good as your debut is hard enough, but it's going to be particularly challenging for The Darkness. With their ultra falsetto singer and screeching guitars, The Darkness are a complete throwback to the pre-Nirvana 70/80s. Some view The Darkness as a novelty act, and see the success of their debut album as an anomaly. So needless to say, The Darkness have a lot riding on their second album, it's either going to make them or break them.

Much to the relief of the band and their fans, "One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back" (2005) totally rocks. It has all the ingredients of a great old-school rock album: in-your-face head-banging arena rockers with kick-ass solos, a touch of the theatrics, and a balled or two that isn't to too corny. The Darkness have avoided the pitfalls of many sophomore slumps which include re-making the debut or letting creative aspirations run wild. "One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back" is cut, more or less, from the same cloth as the debut. It's the same retro style of AC/DC meets Queen, but Roy Thomas Baker's production has given the songs an authentic touch of the theatrical operatic aspirations from which the band first strived for on their debut. The mellotrons, flugelhorns, sitars and saxophones added to the mix work well. At times, the channeling of Queen and the added orchestration may be a little overdone, but the album is still a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

The critics have given "One Way Ticket to Hell and Back" fair reviews. But much like Queen, The Darkness could very well turn out to be a band of the people, rather than the critics. Fans of the debut, old-school metal, and Queen should be very pleased with this album.
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Format: Audio CD
Great! It's like when KISS made Destroyer. Critics and fans

didn't appreciate it. This is a great effort and shows these

guys are no one hit wonders. Slick production and keyboards

and backing vocals make this a classic rock album. The Thin

Lizzy celtic "hazel eyes" is my favorite. "Dinner Lady Arms"

sounds like a rocking Raspberries song. The title track and

"Is it just me?" are good rockers like the first album. It's

like Queen meets AC/DC. It's got everything a true fan of rock

n' roll would love. Give it a chance. These guys are for real

and I hope stay around a long time. Rock n Roll needs them!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
I love this album, but don't really know why. The Darkness once again takes their Sweet meets Queen sound and comes up with an album of songs that simply will not leave your head. The Queen comparisons are even stronger on this disc as long time Queen Producer Roy Thomas Baker does the production chores on the album. Instrumentally these guys are nothing spectacular, but put all of the parts in the right places in order to come up with a winning formula. The band never takes itself too seriously and some of the songs, such as "Knockers" and "Bald" are hilarious. The title track rocks with a song about cocaine (band leader Justin Hawkins recently entered rehab for his problem with it. "English Country Garden", "Hazel Eyes", "Blind Man" "Is It Just Me", "Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time" are all solid rock songs. Justin Hawkins uses his upper register falsetto more on this album than on the first, and your mileage will vary as to whether you find it annoying or enduring. Overall I really enjoy this disc, and it is a great one to crank up in your car.
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