Just a few weeks ago, veteran hard rock band Powerman 5000 debuted the latest single from its most recent album, 2017’s New Wave. The band also announced a new tour — which just launched a few days ago — in support of said single and album. Needless to say, a number of the songs from the 10-song album are sure to be included in the set list for the band’s new tour, with plenty of said songs proving to make the album worth at least one listen, including that new single. It is just one of the album’s most notable compositions. The sociopolitically charged ‘Die On Your Feet’ also serves to make the album an interesting new effort from the band. It will be discussed shortly. The equally powerful semi-acoustic ‘No White Flags’ also serves to support that statement. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Get A Life,’ is yet another of the album’s most notable additions with its arrangement and lyrical theme, which also seems to be something of its own social commentary. Between this trio of songs and the album’s other entries, the whole of the album proves to be worth at least one listen regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the band and its body of work.
Powerman 5000’s new album New Wave, on the back of which the band is currently touring, is an interesting new offering from the veteran hard rock band. It is an effort that is worth at least one listen, regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the band and its catalog. That is thanks both to the album’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes. The sociopolitically themed ‘Die on Your Feet’ is just one of the songs included in this record that serves to support those statements. In terms of its musical arrangement, its arrangement is a composition that nu-metal fans are certain to appreciate. This is evident in the hard-driving, percussive nature of the arrangement as it conjures thoughts of Pop Evil, Saliva, and other similar acts. That infectious arrangement is just one part of what makes the song stand out. Its clear lyrical theme couples with that arrangement to enhance the song’s presentation even more. Front man Spider One “sings” here, “There’s a choice/A f****** line drawn/And a voice/Back off or bring it on/A place/A first class racket/Some f***** up hair and a black leather jacket/(Yes sir! No sir!) You heard me right/Are you gonna?/Yes sir! No sir!) That ain’t no life/Are you gonna die on your feet or live on your knees/Are you gonna become the cure or stay the disease/Are you gonna die on your feet or live on your knees?” The song’s third verse strengthens its sociopolitical message even more as Spider One notes, “Everybody (stand up)/Assume the position (stand down)/Get back in the line (don’t think)/Carry on with tradition (left, right, left, right).” That statement is perhaps the song’s most blatant statement. It comes across as someone in power telling people not to think for themselves and rock the boat, but to carry on as things have always been without question. This goes back full circle to the initial question of “Are you gonna die on your feet or live on your feet?” It is a familiar call to action encouraging people to not give in to the status quo and to be themselves. It’s a message that is always welcome. When it is coupled with the song’s musical arrangement, the song’s overall presentation is a song that is an instant fan favorite and proof in itself why this album deserves at least one listen. It’s just one of the songs that serves to show what makes the album worth that listen. ‘No White Flags’ does just as much as ‘Die On Your Feet’ to support that statement.
‘No White Flags’ stands out because it is one of those songs that is heavy without being heavy. Due to its somewhat brooding musical arrangement and lyrical theme. That semi-brooding nature of the song’s arrangement conjures thoughts of songs from Bush, Stone Sour and so many other acts. That semi-brooding vibe comes through the joining of the song’s guitar line, Spider One’s gravelly vocal delivery style and the supporting string arrangements. All three elements together create an air that does a good job of illustrating the heavy emotion of the song’s lyrical theme, which comes across (at least to this critic) as a bittersweet statement about not giving up even in the face of the greatest adversity. That seeming theme is inferred as Spider One notes, “Born into giving in/Taught only listening/Are you afraid to be your own enemy/Thank you, surrender please/Are you afraid to be your own enemy/On broke and bloody knees?” This seems pretty much to the point. This is someone asking, “are you afraid to be something that you’re told not to be?” He goes on to note, “No, that ain’t me/That ain’t me/Non white flags/I’ve had enough/no giving in/No giving up/No white flags/It’s my war/No taking names, no keeping score/No white flags.” From there the song’s subject points out the “threat” by the powers that be and the defiance to that threat. Overall, it is a powerful statement. When it is considered with, again, that aforementioned arrangement, the song in whole is strengthened even more. That’s because considering the defiance in the song’s lyrical theme, one would think that the song’s musical arrangement would be more fiery, yet it isn’t. Even though it isn’t more fiery, it is still heavy because it presents someone lost in deep emotional thought about the situation. Keeping that in mind, it proves in whole to be definitely another of the album’s most notable entries, and even more proof of why New Wave is worth at least one listen. It still is not the last of the songs that serves to support that statement. ‘Get A Life’ is yet more proof of what makes this record worth hearing.
‘Get A Life’ stands out because it is perhaps the closest that this record gets to PM5K’s older material at least in terms of its musical arrangement. The keyboards, drums and guitars join with Spider One’s vocal delivery to create a whole that will easily take audiences back to the days of ‘When Worlds Collide’ and other classic PM5K songs. In regards to the song’s lyrical content, it would seem to present another commentary, this time about people’s obsessions with anything and everything other than their own lives. This is inferred right from the song’s lead verse, which notes, “Well you can chase the rat or you can chase the tail/We love the latest fashions/We love the latest trends/they keep us all distracted while we all pretend/To get a life.” The song goes on to state, “Well they can make you sweat/They can make you bleed/Too late, it’s not just scenery/You’re part of the machine/So take another picture and send it to your friends/Show them what they’re missing/While you still pretend/To get a life.” This is pretty straight forward. “You’re part of the machinery…take another picture and send it to your friends/Show them what they’re missing/While you still pretend to get a life” is a commentary on how we as people have lost our individuality (perhaps even sacrificed it) because of our obsession with social media and competing with one another’s lives, trying to one up one another. From there, Spider One repeats many more times, the phrase, “Get a life” as a means to drive home the point that we need to…well…get a life. We need to reclaim our individuality and not be part of the machine created by social media and that obsession with celebrity. We need to have our own lives rather than trying to live vicariously through others. It’s a strong statement that definitely hits home. When it is coupled with the song’s driving musical arrangement, the two elements join to show why the song in whole is yet more proof of why New Wave deserves at least one listen. When it is joined with the other songs noted here (and those not directly mentioned), the whole of the record turns out to be a presentation that deserves at least one listen regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the band and its catalog.
Powerman 5000’s latest full-length studio recording New Wave is an interesting new offering from the veteran hard rock band. Since its release late last year, it has proven to be a divisive record, with opinions carrying from love to hate to even in-between. Love it or hate it, it is still a record that deserves at least one listen as is proven through the sociopolitically charged nu-metal opus ‘Die On Your Feet.’ The musical and lyrical depth of ‘No White Flags’ supports that statement even more, considering how much it stands out from the rest of the album’s entries. Much the same can be said of ‘Get A Life,’ with its biting social commentary and familiar musical arrangement. When those songs are considered together and with the rest of the record’s songs, the whole of the album proves to be a record that regardless of love or hate, listeners will agree deserves at least a chance. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Powerman 5000’s new single, tour schedule and more is available online now at:
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