For Fans Of
It has been six years since Gym Class Heroes released ‘The Papercut Chronicles‘ which was, back then, an introduction to a hip-hop band that were endorsed by a range of groups from the indie/punk rock scene. It even included the cult hit Taxi Driver which named dropped the who’s who of bands from the aforementioned genres.
Gym Class went on to become more popular and lost some of the originality that made people take notice of them in the first place, opting to go down a more mainstream path releasing radio pop wonders for the masses. ‘The Papercut Chronicles II‘ continues this trend which raises the question as to why it has been made a sequel as it struggles to relate to its namesake. With the exception of the first track Za Intro which shares the same title and robotic voice that introduced the first chronicles, and the return of Kid Nothing (both title and melody riffs) on the record’s closing and stand-out track, everything in between seems just like the next Gym Class record, unrelated to the past songs in any way.
The guest stars represent the band’s shift in scene perfectly, where on the fist record guest verses were sung by Fall Out Boy‘s Patrick Stump (who has become quite commercial now himself), the new record features One Republic‘s Ryan Tedder. These artists are not to be blamed for going where the money is and the talents are still quite evident.
MC Travie McCoy is as fine tuned a wordsmith as he has ever been, especially on tracks such as Lazarus, Ze Gitan, a love song using locations as girls, and even the sugary sweet first single Stereo Hearts (once you get past the annoying Adam Levine hook the song isn’t that bad).
There are glimmers of the band’s past roots every now and then, such as the Something Corporate sounding piano lines in The Fighter, or the dirty guitar riffs in Martyrial Girl$, but unfortunately these are few and far between.
It would appear that Gym Class Heroes are well and truly locked into their new mainstream sound abolishing any hopes of a return to their underground indie rap roots. Things could be worse as they perform the mainstream sound well, and I would rather hear this on the radio than Bruno Mars, but like most sequels, ‘Papercut II’ doesn’t live up to the original.
1. Za Intro
2. Martyrial Girl$
3. Life Goes On
4. Stereo Hearts
5. Solo Discotheque
6. Holy Horses
7. Ass Back Home
9. Lazarus, Ze Gitan
10. The Fighter
11. Kid Nothing And The Never-Ending Naked Nightmare