By Ashley E. Lang
Gym Class Heroes’ latest album, The Papercut Chronicles II, was worth the wait. Front man Travie McCoy brings the band to the next level with inventive rhymes and a killer back beat that will keep you moving throughout.
‘Za Intro’ provides a little taste of what is to come with the help of a mechanical voice over introducing the band. “Hi, have you ever wondered what it would be like to listen to some music? Well this is your big chance,” the monotone voice recites into echoing speakers.
‘Martyral Girl$,’ the first real track off the album, packs a punch right from the start. “I’m officially going in and refusing to come out unless I’m bloody, let’s go…” Referencing the shallowness that has overrun society, Travie systematically releases verse after verse of hits. “Everybody here is extra hip like replacements … I’d rather be sedated than conversate about whose sneakers are more outrageous or whose outfit’s the latest…”
‘Life Goes On (feat. Oh Land)’ is a nice change of pace. Offering up a strong reflection of past choices before quickly moving on because, as Travie points out, life is too short to live in the past. “Starin’ at an empty bed my ex-girl should’ve been in, thinking what I woulda done different, not a damn thing cuz finally I’m done with it…You take too much for granted I just can’t understand it…” he snaps back.
‘Solo Discotheque (Whiskey Bitness),’ not only produces a slew of impressive lyrics but also includes a surprising old school twist of vinyl scratching between verses.
A personal favorite, ‘Holy Horseshit, Batman!!,’ is one of the strongest and deepest tracks off the album touching on the controversial topic of faith and God. “She reached her hand out with a pamphlet and I politely said “No, ma’am, I mean no disrespect and I apologize if this f**ks up your program. You tell me I’m gonna burn for lying but that he can turn water to wine. Well if there’s a hell below then we’re all gonna’ be just fine…” He continues on to describe how questioning God created a turmoil within his conscious, posing the question of whether or not he is a lost soul in the world where questioning everything around us has become a way of life. “Maybe I would be a fool to think that somewhere in the sky’s a place for me,” he spits back.
‘Nil-Nill-Draw’ touches on the problem with romance these days. A possible self reflection of a past relationship of a corrupt and jealous affair emerging with a semi chauvinistic quality that arises in the track as Travie spits “I could have any girl but I stayed with you, I guess everybody plays the fool…”
‘Lazarus, Se Gitan’ is a creative twist, following Travie through his journey of falling in love, but not quite finding true love. “Oh, I’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places, oh somebody take me home,” he calls out.
Rounding out the album with the second to last track is ‘The Fighter (feat. Ryan Tedder)’. The Gym Class Heroes never let their guard down churning out hit after hit, “Ya ever feel like your train a thoughts been derailed? That’s when you press on… half the population’s just waitin to see me fail. Yeah right, you’re better off tryina freeze hell. Some of us do it for the females and others do it for the retails, but I do it for the kids, life through the tower head on, every time you fall its only making your chin strong.” An inspirational journey of never giving up on yourself and following through with your dreams because the only one who can keep you down is yourself.
The last track on the album is one of the strongest. ‘Kid Nothing And The Never-Ending Naked Nightmare’ closes out the track listing with a vengeance, “This is me thanking you dearly, sincerely, from the bottom of what’s left of my misery magnet. Guess I’ve been too busy being stagnant and if I ever steer you wrong grab the wheel and jerk it left. I’m only human but admitted I’m such a beautiful mess,” Travie rips into the mic.
This album makes you think. What do you want out of this life and whether or not you’re wasting your time on stuff that never really mattered. Travie is a lyrical genius and most certainly will not let you down. His band’s musical talents also will not disappoint. Every beat, every rhythm, every word uttered into the mic, will leave an imprint in your heart and your mind. Do yourself a favor and open yourself up to the Gym Class Heroes.