Friday, March 10, 2017
P.O.D. -- The Awakening
Did you know that P.O.D. released a new album in 2015? If my wife wasn't a P.O.D. fanatic, I'm not sure I would. No one publicized it. All the attention the band received for their 2012 release, Murdered Love, was nowhere to be found. Maybe Sonny should have swore again. Whatever the case for the obscure nature of the release, P.O.D. released a new full-length album in 2015, and it is called The Awakening.
The Awakening is a concept album, a first for P.O.D. It incorporates many of the diverse genres the band have showcased in their hard rock sound for decades now: metal, punk, latin, hip-hop and reggae. This time, the band even take a stab at fusing some jazz to their sound, on album standout, "Want It All." The songwriting here is some of the strongest of the band's career, and the genre-jumping flows more naturally than ever before. However, where The Awakening falters is in the "concept" area. The story itself isn't bad, your basic "guy with issues works out those issues painfully" story, until he experiences the titular "Awakening." The telling features 90's-esque theatricality with voice actors and Foley artists hard at work. If these story interludes were given their own tracks, they'd serve their role without offense...however, they aren't given their own tracks. At points, the listener has to sit through two minutes of dialogue before a song starts. This can't be skipped with one tap of a button--they are a part of the songs themselves. This is a major blunder, but the music on display here is so good, I can't dip The Awakening below an 8/10. I feel like a younger version of P.O.D. may have been talked out of blending the "skits" with the songs here, but these veterans went with their gut. It might not have been the best decision, but The Awakening is still a winner.
I saw P.O.D. perform at The Varsity Theatre in support of this album, and they put on as good a show as ever, even if the crowd was smaller than it used to be. Even The Awakening's highly non-specific lead single, "This Goes Out to You," the one song on the album I wasn't so sure about, worked wonderfully--live it comes off as a love letter to the band's fans, and gives The Awakening itself more meaning. My favorite moment of that particular concert, though, came courtesy of some local college kids, who sadly admitted, "Nobody really puts on a performance like this anymore. We saw _____ the other day, and they just stood in front of their laptops." Indeed.
1. Am I Awake 5:56
2. This Goes Out to You 3:50
3. Rise of NWO 3:12
4. Criminal Conversations (featuring Maria Brink) 5:02
5. Somebody's Trying to Kill Me 5:12
6. Get Down 3:39
7. Speed Demon 3:51
8. Want It All 3:33
9. Revolución (featuring Lou Koller) 4:05
10. The Awakening 7:04