Believe it or not, I’ve been a huge fan of Hedley’s music since their 2nd official album Famous Last Words. The album established their genre as alternative rock/pop-punk, and although they were not consistent with this, transferring over to this genre helped produce their top game work like their more recent albums Wild Life and Storms.
That being said, this new digital-age album Hello introduces an electronic based sound that completely crushed my dreams. It deconstructed and reinvented the classic Hedley sound that I so admired and stayed faithful to throughout the years.
The album begins with the song “Lost in Translation” and wow, did it ever make me grimace. This may be the worst song in the entire album, a song I can only describe as the Hedley equivalent to Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend.” Jacob Hoggard’s beautiful voice was literally unrecognizable as he was RAPPING his verses. The song “Hello” is a significantly more tolerable it would have been a much better and hopeful opening to the album.
I think I have the greatest “fight me” attitude with this album mainly because Jacob Hoggard’s voice sounds much more edited than in his other works — the beauty of his music was always his incredible, soulful, filter-free pop rock vocals that brought chills up your spine. And although songs like “Can’t Slow Down” are nostalgic of this classic style, there are parts in which Hoggard sounds like a white Jason Derulo, and it’s truly horrifying. Just lyrically as well, songs like “Lose Control” and “Man Killer” make me want to cry. They are so unoriginal and unlike Hedley’s previous albums which clearly prove their lyrical capabilities.
I will end on a positive note, however, by giving Hedley credit for “Alive,” “Back to Basics,” and “The Knife.” With absolutely ravishing instrumentals and lyrics, this is some of their best work to date. If only the entire album longed to preserve their classic piano-and-vocals simplicity.