Back in February, Falling In Reverse – following 2017’s rather solid ‘Coming Home’ – dropped their first single since that album’s release, ‘Losing My Mind’. With a cyber-goth visual aesthetic, and Ronnie Radke confidently yet stubbornly declaring “I’m not ready to change, I’m doing my thing” in the chorus, the song merged the emotive, gargantuan rock sound of their latest LP with the questionable Eminem-inspired rapping of past records. And it was… fine. Excluding those terrible auto-tuned vocals, obviously.
While personally disappointed they’d strayed off course from ‘Coming Home’, a good album that’d finally brought me on-board with Falling In Reverse, I figured ‘Losing My Mind’ was an anomalous single and we’d back to the real business soon enough. Alas, no such luck, as that song was just one side of the coin with the recent release of ‘Losing My Life’.
‘Losing My Life‘ continues on from it’s sibling track (‘Losing My Mind‘), where Falling In Reverse once again merge older styles with their new sounds. And man, this track’s sonic palette is all over the goddamn place as a result. Moving off from the layered, choir-sample-driven rock intro, the song jumps from the white-boy hip-hop/rap sections of old Falling In Reverse to the newer ‘Coming Home‘ style, with harder synth and electronic tendencies placed underneath, and then right back again in a moment’s notice. Even suddenly dropping listeners into a ‘Fashionably Late‘/’Just Like You‘ era generic metalcore breakdown during the song’s bridge. While there’s a hell of a lot going on with the track’s pacing and it’s instrumentation, and while Ronnie Radke is showing off a lot of strong vocal variety (rapping, singing, screaming, and everything in between), it’s all quite jarring. In shorter and harsher terms, it’s a fucking mess.
However, I can see that that’s the whole point of the song. As the band put it on their socials when this track was first released, ‘Losing My Life‘ is about “…the dichotomies and ironic parallels between self-reflection and the self-destructive nature that we as humans face on a daily basis in modern times.” It’s all about taking the good with the bad; getting the clean along with the messy stuff. After all, Ronnie hasn’t had an easy, simple or controversial-free life, and this song reflects that conflict of the singer’s own personal history. While I don’t vibe with ‘Losing My Life‘ itself, I can at least understand what the enigmatic frontman and his five band mates are going for with this song.
Lyrically, Ronnie’s God-complex vibe is played up even more so here. As we hear him rapping about how he made it back from incarceration almost ten years ago (first verse); contemplating apologizing for what he’s done/who he was but then deciding not too because his past is the only reason he’s here now (also first verse); and how he ain’t gonna let anyone bring him down (pre-chorus). All capping it off with this hilariously bad lyrical “gem” in the second verse with: “You wanna call me king of the music scene? I got news for you I’m the GOD OF IT“. (To be fair, he is one of the most widely known individuals to come from 2000’s alternative music scene, for better or for worse).
Some of it’s an eye-roll but there’s some real emotion to be had here, such as in the song’s massive choruses. Yet the piece is also tonally torn between the self-aware, tongue-in-cheek nature of their past song-writing and Ronnie’s return to his earlier, cringier lyricism. It’s regressive and hard to take seriously at times, honestly. Especially when he implies that anyone who doesn’t like him is just “triggered” when, I don’t know mate, maybe it’s just because they simply don’t like your band’s music.
Regarding the video, and directed by Ethan Lader (‘Losing My Mind‘, The Script, Mariah Carey, Wiz Khalifa), this film clip contrasts it’s sister visual piece. While it’s all over the shop, again, I believe that’s the whole point. It switches between the narrative of Ronnie being this walking contradiction and fighting his other self – the “Ronnie” from ‘Losing My Mind‘ – and FIR’s admittedly well-shot “performance” parts, filmed in the same room as that previous clip too. (I also dig the light change from green lasers to darker, redder tones in these flashy parts to indicate the shift in theme). Here we see a darker-clothed, black-haired version of the frontman from ‘Losing My Mind‘ in struggle with the current, blonde-haired and often shirtless ‘Losing My Life‘ Ronnie; representing a battle of good vs. evil or a ‘the light vs. the dark’ scenario. Which version is the “good” iteration is up for debate but I don’t think that’s the intent. As overly dramatic as it sounds, it seems more to imply that a fight of some sort is occurring within the singer between what he is, what he was and what he’s becoming. Again, there’s a lot going on and while an internal physical fight with oneself is a staggeringly played-out concept for music videos these days, I get what Ronnie and Ethan are going for.
There’s even a mid-song skit where we see Ronnie’s daughter, Willow, ask him why he went to jail, with his only response humorously being “uhhhhhhh…“, looking directly at the camera and all during the video. Which was the best and funniest part of this entire thing.
However, one very cool factor of this new song and video are the Easter Eggs that Ronnie and co. have littered throughout.
For instance, the track at one point references the titles of past FIR songs with, “I’m a rolling-stone/I’m coming home/But I’m not alone“. (As I’ve been told by someone whose an actual fan, that “king of the music scene” line is in reference to ‘Tragic Magic‘ from their debut LP). Paying close attention to the first-person future scene about halfway through the video, you’ll notice that ‘Losing My Mind‘ is playing in the background. Plus, shown at the start of the clip is a date – February 21, 2018 – which was one day before the band officially released ‘Losing My Mind‘ online, implying that this is all a prequel or a foreshadowing of the previous single/video. Beyond that, the clip even ends with a redux shot of their ‘Just Like You‘ logo too. Oh, and I can’t be the only who got ‘My Apocalypse‘/”There’s a man with an axe, standing in the rain” vibes with the video’s rainy night scene at the start, am I?
References aside, as stated before, I am pretty bummed about these changes. ‘Coming Home‘ saw Ronnie and the band really hit their stride as songwriters; creating these slick and anthemic rock songs that had far more emotional maturity than anything else in their discography. And while there’s some personal authenticity in this new track, the obnoxious verses tell another story, leading me to wonder which part is the true reflection of the frontman. While it’s probably a case of both sides being the dual-reflection, I can’t say I’m at all a fan of the song nor much of the video either. But then again, as the frontman puts it in the track’s second verse to people who don’t like him, “so you post your opinion/And it gets me bigger“. So, uh, yeah, Ronnie, you’re welcome I guess…?