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I felt like doing something different for a change, and so I went a little out of my comfort zone by trying a review on the new Gym Class Heroes release, "The Quilt". It came out in September, and since having them blow up in popularity in 2006 with "As Cruel As School Children", the group has gone on to appeal to so many different audiences, as the Emo (controversial) Alternative Hip Hop band has gained interest from those who are into the Fall out Boys, and other acts like that, as well as some Hip Hop groups which are open-minded in accepting music which differs from what is expected from them. As a result, this features production from Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz as well as the crew associated with The Game, Cool & Dre.
1. "Guilty as Charged"
I was pleasantly surprised by bthe opening here as it immediately drew them into their music, and I was able to see more potentila in the grou. Here Gym Class Heroes managed to attract me by using alternate routes, they went about it here by going for a tune which utilised horn in an extensive way, and the collaboration with the UK's Estelle made it all the exceitng and unexpected.
2. "Drnk Txt Rmeo"
Here is a track produced by Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump, and it has the group blending various styles of music. I found that at first Stump was strong at going for the alternative Hip Hop sound which Gym Class Heroes are sometims classified as, but during the chorus it switches from this into some Dub. I found that the shift was far too dramatic to be considered effective, and the rest of it from this point sounded to be rather chaotic.
3. "Peace Sign/Index Down"
Here is the first signle off the album and it displays the journey the group have taken in terms of their exposure, and so by having a top Hip Hop act in the form of Busta Rhymes performing with them, it gives them some added appeal to a genre which they haven't quite broken into as of yet. I found that this was a strong piece from them as they get into some stronger raps with the theme of breaking expectations by others.
4. "Like Father, Like Son"
I found myslef thinking in various differnt ways towards this as they try so many things, but all together I don't think that it worked that well. The Hip Hop beat which acts as the backing is very strong, but the way the Patrick Stump undermines it with clean piano work prevented me from taking it as it was meant to be. I felt such a way because the lyrics were so important, but without relevant beats, it wasn't easy to see it as they were meant to be, in the frame of mind Travis McCoy woudl have been as he wrote it
5. "Blinded By The Sun"
I just didn't think anything was workig with this one as Gym Class Heroes go for some more Reggae and Dub in their music, but as so little of it was directed towards this genre of music, only the instruments, it didn't really create the correct atmosphere for the song. The raps completely threw me off, because it would have been perfect for singing to, as they did in other songs in the record.
6. "Catch Me If You Can"
Patrick Stump features in and produces this one, and although I've heard very limited amounts of what Fall Out Boy do I could tell that he tried o take it over to their form of makign msuic, but it didn't suit Gym Class Heroes at all, and the amoutn of Pop in it put me off.
7. "Cookie Jar"
In recent times, on various occassions it has been commented on that Tricky Stewart is a genius at producing, and as is the same for The-Dream for writing. The pair have come together in the past to create such works as Usher's "Moving Mountains", Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" and Rihanna's "Umbrella", but here the soudn that they create is over-used and played-out, making for a trakc which would have been a hit a year ago, but has nothing special today.
8. "Live A Little"
At first I couldn't do with this one as it was just too clena for me, and it just soudned to be a cheesy Pop song by the goup, however after returnign to it, you find that it is rather catchy and is effective at being a Pop tune, which you can't really complain too much about, however I expect that if this becomes a single, it will quickly become annoying to many.
9. "Don't Tell Me It's Over"
Thsi one took some growing, so I would reccomend that you listen to this one a few times before dismissing it. At first I was simply bored by it all, but as you listen to it on more occassions, it seems to make a lot more sense, and the breakdowns seem to hit you a lot more drmatically. This is a darker one from the group and contrasts quite greatly from the rest of the album.
10. "Live Forever"
I really wasn't into this one as it really put me off the group for a while. It just wasn't need eat all, as you go through a suicide song. I didn't get it, and I found the overall track quite painful to hear.
11. "Kissin' Ears"
here Tricky Stewart gets another track to do some production for, and this time he goes for something differnt, and quite nice to the ear. However I foudn that once The-Dream got invovled, just as "Cookie Jar", it was just too much, and made it sound too manufactored as they sign about the roots cause of all sexaul expereinces, "Kissin' Ears".
Cool & Dre make it clear that they are taing over during this tune as they begin it with some Hip hop beats whichh they are expected to come with, and to suit this Travis McCoy comes with some inventive raps and some nice word-play, with lots of refernces to popular culture, but I foudn that as it went along, all the hype hich it starts off with seems to just fade, and so it just loses all of its energy.
13. "No Place To Run"
Although earlier on in the album I said that I enjoyed lisnteing to Gym Class Heroes' Pop work, here they just take it too far, and when you are immediately annoyed by a song, you know its never going to work for you, and this is exactly how I felt when listening to this one.
14. "Coming Clean"
I liked the build-up in this one as it created a tense atmosphere with some big Hip hop beats and lots of little techniques which make it fit in with the trends of the genre today, however they undermine all the work they do in the verses by coming with a stupidly happy chorus which has the rift change into a Pop-Rock cut.
I was quite impressed by this release as I didn't really expect to get a lot out of this album which I could really say I enjoyed, however this wasn't the case at all. You have to understand that I am reviewing it as someone who doesn't usually do this type of music, however the times when Hip Hop is performed, as oppoesed to when they go into Rock or Pop, they seem to have lots of potential, but it's rarely taken to the level where it can be seen as effective.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Guilty As Charged
2 Drnk Txt Rmeo
3 Peace Sign/Index Down
4 Like Father Like Son (Papa's Song)
5 Blinded By The Sun
6 Catch Me If You Can
7 Cookie Jar - Gym Class Heroes & The Dream
8 Live A Little
9 Don't Tell Me It's Over
10 Live Forever (Fly With Me)
11 Kissin' Ears
13 No Place To Run
14 Coming Clean