Posted August 18, 2009
Christian rock phenom Skillet unleashes one of this year’s highly anticipated albums, Awake. The Grammy-nominated group attained a mass following in both Christian and Mainstream markets with their previous endeavor, Comatose. After experimenting with several genres throughout their thirteen-year career, Skillet stuck close to the sound that worked so well with Comatose, resulting in another accessible, radio-friendly rock record.
The first two singles, “Hero” and “Monster” gave fans a glimpse of what to expect with Awake. “Hero” opens with lead singer, Jon Cooper, trading off vocal lines with drummer Jen Ledger, then leads into an addictively catchy chorus in which Cooper longs for a Hero (referring to Christ) to save him from the darkness of the world. Skillet showcases their harder edge on “Monster” with heavy, distorted guitar riffs complementing Jon Cooper’s rough, powerful vocals. The lyrics cleverly depict man’s internal struggle between good and evil. “I feel it deep within/It’s just beneath the skin/I must confess that I feel like a monster.”
Orchestrated motifs, faint piano licks, and crunchy guitar riffs gives “Awake and Alive”
a strong resemblance to Comatose. The infectious, melodic anthem encourages to not let the world pull you in, stand up for your beliefs, and don’t back down.
Fans of Skillet’s softer side will not be disappointed with Awake; there are several power
ballads and softer pop/rock tunes. “One Day Too Late” encourages listeners to make the most of each moment. Piano-driven “Lucy” mourns the loss of a loved one. Cooper describes “Don’t Wake Me” as an “’80s prom song” about dreaming to be with someone you lost. “Should’ve When You Could’ve” features a catchy melody but the chorus comes off as cliched and cheesy- “You should’ve when you could’ve/You’re gonna miss my love girl/You should, it would have been so good/You should’ve when I would’ve.”
One of the strongest tracks on the album, “Believe,” was added after Awake was thought
to be complete. Lyrically, “Believe” isn’t so different from the rest of the album. What
makes the song stand out is it’s melancholy manner and rawness.
Many tracks on Awake sound like they came straight off of Comatose- “Hero,” “Awake & Alive,” “Forgiven,” “Should’ve When You Could’ve,” “One Day Too Late,” “Don’t Wake Me.” While many will be quick to label Awake as Comatose part 2 (myself included), a good portion of the album features tracks that are more stripped down (“It’s Not Me It’s You,” “Believe,” “Sometimes,” “Never Surrender”) than those found on Comatose. But, the most important aspect remains unchanged - the message.
Awake wasn’t particularly what I was looking for from Skillet. I’d prefer more of a resemblance to Collide, or even Alien Youth, than Comatose. But I can’t fault the band for sticking with what’s popular. After all, the goal is to bring hope to as many lives as possible, isn’t it?
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