I have a fascination with Falling In Reverse that I’ve found hard to put into words. There is something about the theatrical vibe of expression that is contained within the music, not to mention the over-the-top honesty, to the extreme of being musical death threats. There’s fire and aliveness in Falling In Reverse, even if it’s not ‘nice’, and I love that.
Falling In Reverse released their fourth studio album Coming Home on 7th April. I’ve been soaking it up since then. By ‘soaking up’ I mean playing one particular song over and over on repeat until I’m sick of it. These are catchy tunes. Aggressively catchy.
“Coming Home” is the first track on the album and was the first taste we listeners got of what was to come from Falling In Reverse with their new work. Are we getting a whole album of space rock?
“Coming Home” is beautiful, this huge expanse of rock with spacey/electro effects and heaviness of drums that have you feel like you’re suspended yet hurtling through space. The guitars giving that element of being far away.
“A fallen angel is what you are
Your father has forsaken you
Left you with those scars
Our hope is that you make it through
Hate must never win
Even if we’re worlds apart
Your love is not a sin
Even if it’s hard”
The lyrics of “Coming Home” are beautiful too, feeling like a voice and a hand reaching out through space and time, getting through to someone that needs getting through to; to understand that they are not alone and should not give up.
Second on the album is “Broken” which though has heavy guitar and drums is also channeling a dance music vibe. It’s a track that feels similarly tender to “Coming Home”; a reaching out. The track describes a realisation that the brokenness that’s happened has been part of some kind of plan, and sympathy isn’t needed here. This is just realness. There’s revolutionary fire to be recognised in those that have reached the depths of hell and clawed their way out.
“We are the broken, hoping for a change of heart
We are the chosen, praying for a shooting star”
Third on the album is “Loser” which is an(other) addictive piece of aggressive rock. This track resulted in countless repeats, countless ways this resonates, countless ways this felt like sweet revenge.
There’s heart here, and huge question marks of WHY? Why does this other person lift them up only to bring them crashing down? Why do they continue to give mixed messages? But regardless of this dance of confusion, the blame and responsibility of the damage created is now fully on them:
“Look what you’ve become
All the damage done
I guess I’ve won”
The emotional power Ronnie Radke pours into his vocals is impressive and raw. In “Loser” alone he expresses the full spectrum from quiet resignation through to vitriolic hate. The swirling electronic melody that’s continued through the track, the grounded rock sound, as well as the orchestral-sounding elements compliment that fire, bringing it all together into an impressive epic of a song.
I’m hooked on track four, which is “Fuck You and All Your Friends”. It feels like delicious revenge, with in-your-face guitars and face-punch lyrics. This song doesn’t hold back, and the Radke Forces are at their fire-ful extreme.
“I guess best friends don’t last forever”
The unnamed target of this rock fury could not be hated any more, which almost takes the song into territory of ridiculousness. But any passionate person who feels deeply will recognise the intensity of hate that comes in the face of deception or manipulation. Ronnie says what you might wish you could say about that person that broke your trust and threw your relationship away, if you weren’t too busy trying to contain it or be nice. There’s freedom in this honest expression and listening to songs like this is an invitation to get real with yourself.
This theme of realness-if-you’re-honest-about-it continues into “I Hate Everyone”. We’ve all been there, it’s undeniable. We’ve all felt the intensity that comes from the destruction of trust by one person in your life, which leads to a distrust of not just them everyone and everything, even if temporary.
“I hate your guts
I hate his too
I hate myself for loving you”
“I Hate Everyone” has impressive guitar work and feels more firmly in the genre of rock, with the focus less on electronic elements than previous tracks.
Next on Coming Home is “I’m Bad At Life”, and it feels like it could be a Falling In Reverse flavoured love song, with heavy apologies for how Ronnie is. He’s acknowledging his flaws, acknowledging how he’s seen by others, but still hoping she loves him back.
“So please take care of my hurt heart
‘Cause trusting you is the hardest part
You might as well no matter what
They think I suck…
But I don’t give a fuck”
These songs could so easily be taken as overdone drama on a surface level, but I feel like they carry a lot of honesty and heart. The same theme of shaky trust that we saw in “I Hate Everyone” is right here in “I’m Bad At Life”. This idea/desire that someone might fight through his bullshit and be committed to him is woven through this.
Musically it’s another impressive and huge track with roof raising guitar and hooks that get under your skin.
“Hanging On” is next and picks up the pace and hits heavier with a rock flavour compared to previous tracks. This track feels like it’s describing a relationship where the two aren’t in sync, despite there being desire for something to become of it.
“You gotta let me know
Don’t leave me hanging, and complicate it
All we are is setting ourselves up to fall apart
Don’t leave me hanging on”
Ronnie’s all-in-with-intensity approach shows up most noticeably at the bridge and the lyrics of ‘This is all I have to offer, sacrifice me on your altar’. He’s putting himself vulnerably in a position where he’s willing to risk it all for this person, even if it hurts. It’s perhaps a gruesome metaphor to tell someone you’re in love with to slit your throat, but the sentiment of how much they mean to him is made very clear!
The next track is “Superhero”. This track seems to be another instance of Ronnie acknowledging himself as an imperfect person, who can’t be anything more than his flawed self. There’s relief in that acceptance of not having to be everything to everyone and while it may seem like a negative message, the point is just to be a better version of who you are, not trying to be superhuman.
“I don’t wanna be a superhero
‘Cause I can’t save the world
So I’m never gonna get the girl
I just wanna do better”
Musically this track leans more into ‘electronic land’ but still maintains the rock anthem feel to it that Falling In Reverse do so well, courtesy of the epic and anthemic choruses.
“Straight to Hell” has such a killer intro. And it just gets better from there. This is a huge track, on all fronts. So much emotion is poured into the vocals and the guitars are insane.
“You will never be alright
And I will never be okay
And I can’t be your Jesus Christ
‘Cause I am but a mortal man
Just looking for the promised land”
The ‘I’m just a flawed human’ theme continues, but also observing in another the role that they have played in Ronnie’s life and how they continue to be asleep and unaware of what they need to realise.
The tenth track, “I Don’t Mind” is pure honesty and what is being shared is directly contained within the lyrics. Even within the lyrics Ronnie acknowledges the difficulty in the face of honesty. This is one track where writing about the meaning of it feels intrusive. Just listen. Ronnie gets into very vulnerable territory here.
The next track, “The Departure” goes into a dark territory; seeming to question his fate, being a person destined for hell. The track has more of a chilled vibe, despite its darkness, with more sombre and contained expression of emotion, aside from a pained crying out as the track ends.
“I spend every night in a waking dream
While the devil sings to me
Somebody set me free”
There’s a question and uncertainty by way of things he has done in his life and what is right and wrong. The continual cycle (perhaps including judgement) seems like a loop he wants freedom from, and permanently departing seems like his view of freedom.
“Right Here” bounces us back out of suicidal contemplation and drops us into comedic snark which feels like a sweet relief. This is such a fun track, lyrically self-described as ‘dumb’. “Right Here” is clearly pointing a finger at online media who act like they’re far more than just ‘self righteous humans’ living in their parents’ basement.
“I’m not a bad guy it’s just my reputation is fucked
But I’ll embrace it, I got no other choice and it sucks
If you dont think thats wrong, you’re as dumb as this song”
The theatricalness and bouncy rock combined with the lyrical honesty of this track makes it so entertaining. I love this song!
The last track on the album “Paparazzi” made me laugh out loud when I heard it.
“S-E-L-L M-Y S-O-U-L!”
This is so great; similar to “Right Here” and its humour factor, but it is a finger pointed squarely at the mainstream/pop music world this time. “Paparazzi” says what many people think about popular music culture, where it’s seeming to be all about image, appearance, signings, and paparazzi snaps. It also reinforces the ‘alien’ factor described in the introduction of “Right Here”, as it describes a world that Falling In Reverse don’t necessarily fit in due to the ‘bad boy’ factor that Ronnie acknowledges. Ironically and brilliantly “Paparazzi” is catchy as anything and has pop-ish rock vibes.
Giving Coming Home a deep listen has given me a far different perspective than I originally expected. The honesty in this work deserves to be acknowledged as something rare and courageous, in the music world where pretty and attractive are the paths to fame. And despite feeling like ‘aliens’, Falling In Reverse manage to maintain a sense of humour about it all and have a really good time pumping out catchy stadium-filling rock anthems.
Check out Coming Home via Spotify.