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The North American rap-rock band Hollywood Undead is by far one of the edgiest bands I’ve ever listened to. Their music—a combination of gangster rap & rock music—has quite the ingredient of intensity. Hollywood Undead consists of Charlie Scene, Danny, Funny Man, J-Dog, & Johnny 3 Tears. Past members were Shady Jeff, Deuce, and Da Kurlzz.
Qualities many fans like about Hollywood Undead is the versatility of their music. Hollywood Undead are able to make rap, rock, and EDM elements coexist quite well. Discovered on June 3rd, 2005, when they were called “The Kids”, their music was so obscene that record labels refused to sign them to contracts without censoring their tracks.
Once the group recorded their first album, Swan Songs, they needed to sign with a record label to distribute their music. Myspace Records, the first label they tried to work with, wanted to remove certain songs from the album due to obscene content. Therefore, it took the band two years to sign with a label that would 100% greenlight their album with all of its intended music. By 2008, the band managed to sign with A&M/Octone Records and release Swan Songs on September 2nd, 2008.
If you’re ready to learn more, let’s explore the Top Five songs of Hollywood Undead in no particular order.
1. “Unusual Suspects”
“Unusual Suspects” came out in 2015 as part of their Day Of The Dead album. It’s the second song a part of the album. This is by far one of the best entries on this list with good lyrics and an engaging music video. One quick fact about the song is the title originates from a popular line of dialogue, “Round up the unusual suspects”, by Vichy police chief Louis Renault in the 1942 film Casablanca.
The song is 3:43 of pure mayhem, humor, and uncensored, glorious lyrics. A music video was released for the song on June 3rd, 2015. The video, which is 4:22 long, depicts a man in first-person mode giving two kids alcoholic sodas. Then he proceeds to stroll Los Angeles acting like a silly hooligan.
From getting drunk, and eating people’s food to smacking women’s buttocks, “Unusual Suspects” properly depicts a hombre acting crazy.
Band member J-Dog stated the following about the song:
J-Dog described the track “old-school song” on the album. He proceeded to say, “It sounds like an old Suicidal Tendencies-type of song mixed with Hollywood Undead. We all grew up listening to things like Suicidal.
As far as sound-wise, it was one of the more old school songs we’ve done. Some of the other songs are more dance-y, and this is straight up metal, punk rock. Subject matter and song-wise, it’s how the band started. Like you said, we still tend to find ourselves doing the same shit years later”.
“City” was one of the songs on the band’s debut album Swan Songs. It was first recorded around 2005 but was surprisingly not present on the band’s MySpace page. It was then re-recorded, remastered, and intended for release on the unreleased album Hollywood Undead in 2007. “City” was released on September 2nd, 2008.
After I got finished hearing z’City”, I felt that the song has a deep poetic meaning. It symbolized the emotions of one having to leave their home, school, friends, and family to start a new life in a foreign land.
Simply put, “City” is about showing anger, agony, and anxiety towards a once-prospering city that is falling—or burning—apart. The lyrics explain the feelings of the city with intense vehemence:
I will not die in the night but in the light
Of the sun and the ashes
Of this world in my lungs
3. “Hear Me Now”
“Hear Me Now” was released via radio on December 13th, 2010, with a digital-only download available on December 21st, 2010. This track is featured on the American Tragedy album. The official music video was released for the song on February 25th, 2011. “Hear Me Now” was also featured as a theme song for WWE’S Raw 1000 event in July 2012.
The track is about someone who’s faced a great degree of adversity in life and now has insignificant hope for their future.
When I listened to the song along with watching the video, I felt that each band member made the song to vent. It seemed to serve as a platform for one to individually state their life problems, one by one. There’s a very overwhelming feeling in the song; it’s as if each band member was on the brink of crying. The song is a pure masterpiece.
J-Dog explained the song’s meaning during an interview with Artist Direct: “The song is a little bit of a departure from what the world is used to hearing from us. We had experimented with some new sounds and different ways of writing songs. Technically, when we wrote ‘Hear Me Now,’ it was about what various people in the band were going through at the moment.
It could mean something different to everyone because we have so many writers on each song. Everyone wrote his own part and based it on what he was going through in his own life. It’s a deep song. It’s about someone going through some tough times, getting dragged through the dirt, and where you come out in the end”.
“Lion” was released on January 8th, 2013, as the 4th song from the band’s 3rd album titled Notes from the Underground. The song is 3:55 long and consists of rock elements.
Wild animals such as lions possess rage, especially in survival mode. The song is about fury. Humans might act like they are always exuberant on the outside, but they are really enraged on the inside pretty frequently. Anyone can easily go berserk at any moment and you won’t be prepared. People have demons, and they tend to fight them aggressively. As they continue to fight them, that fighting negatively impacts their lives.
An intriguing fact about “Lion” is that it’s the only track made in one session. Johnny 3 Tears shared the following with Noisecreep:
“We have a song call ‘Lion.’ It’s the fourth song, and when I came up with the idea for the song, I had a chorus, so I hit up the producer, went into the studio to lay it down and to get it moving, since I knew we would revisit songs quite a few times, since that’s what bands do. We kept moving and making progress, so we stayed up 34 hours. We started it from scratch and finished it in one session, which is tough, since there are a lot of elements. There was no stall. It was written in one fell swoop in a day-and-a-half. We never did it that way before and never want to do it again. I had a four-day hangover after.”
“Undead” was released in 2008 as the first song on the Swan Songs album. The song is 4:31 long and contains rock, rap rock, gangsta rap, and heavy metal elements. The song was originally titled “Out The Way.” It’s unclear why the revised version was re-titled.
The song peaked at #10 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, #12 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart, and #4 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart. “Undead” frequently appeared in pop culture. If you’re eager to know where and how, check Wikipedia.
By far one of the controversial songs on this list, “Undead” is a song that many radio stations and record labels would censor due to containing numerous vulgar words. The song also has a controversial verse with themes of self-harm.
My initial reaction to the song was that it discussed people’s journeys to success and the naysayers, trolls, harassers, and thugs attempting to prevent them from obtaining that. After a while, I looked beyond the negativity. “Undead” is a diss track towards those who’ve bashed them. It’s directed to people who mock their success, those who made them feel repressed, and those that underestimated them.
I hope that this piece gives you an insight into Hollywood Undead, their success, and their Top Five songs.