Review : My Darkest Days - Sick and Twisted Affair
PopmattersThis album isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but then, My Darkest Days don’t really do “imagination.” Their second album Sick and Twisted Affair is nine workhorse rock songs designed to fill out their setlist, get some Active Rock radio play, and make dudes at strip clubs feel like they’re having a wild, wild night. MDD’s hook, the thing that sets them apart from similarly industrious Canadian rasp-rock bands Theory of a Deadman and mentors Nickelback, is their embrace of electronic and R&B music. It’s a tentative no-homo embrace, sure, but MDD dabble in textures you might find on darkwave label Metropolis—sinister keyboards and programmed beats against thick walls of guitar, occasionally sounding sort of like the Birthday Massacre. Also they cover Joe’s “Stutter”.
OK, maybe that took some imagination, to hear Real Rock in a turn-of-the-millennium R&B hit. MDD pull it off in the same way ‘60s garage punks did their R&B covers: by blasting any musical subtlety out of the song. Joe’s original was all stutter, with the beat and Joe and special guest Mystikal caroming off one another, spinning a tangled web of paranoid hypocrisy. MDD just play the song. It’s got a backbeat; they can’t lose it. Scratchy-voiced Matt Walst stutters like he’s reading the stutters off notebook paper. There’s not even a guitar solo, the rock equivalent of a Mystikal verse. These guys are so meat-and-potatoes they sometimes skip the potatoes.
MDD are nothing if not consistent; they refuse to ferret any musical interest out of their own songs, either. There’s nothing sick or twisted about Sick and Twisted Affair, which manages to make wild sex sound about as wild as carrying seven-dollar beers back from the concession stand. Lead single “Casual Sex” dreams the dream of all those recent friend-with-benefits romantic comedies—“She says she’s cool with it, she’s down with it / There’s nothing wrong with it, ‘cause it’s easier this way.” Which is fine, sexual wish-fulfillment being one of the things rock songs are good at, but there’s nothing sexy or hardcore about the song itself. Not even a guitar solo! Budding guitar hero Sal Costa gets in some screeching over the final chorus, but the break is just a riff with turntable scratching; you forget it’s there. The video at least throws in some furry imagery....full text
SputnikmusicIt’s time to disregard all fears and premonitions of what people will think of me and just come out and say it; I love my mainstream rock. Although my inner metal-head discourages me, I’ve always found something particularly enthralling about the genre for as long as I can remember. Go ahead and pull me any song from the top of the rock charts; if it has a nice, hooky riff, a good vocalist, and an infectious chorus, then there’s a good chance I’ll be as happy as a pig in ***. With that said, this album frustrates me. Unfortunately, what we have here is an all-too-familiar musical scenario; a band with a great amount of potential that flashes brilliance, then proceeds to disappoint and wallow in mediocrity. There are some great moments on this record; several of the songs on this album deliver the aforementioned qualities of a great rock tune in spades. However, with Sick and Twisted Affair, My Darkest Days simply fail to provide and album that is both consistent and engaging.
My Darkest Days’ 2010 self-titled debut was, if nothing else, a solid modern rock record; the album’s 10 tracks were all at least decent, with no noticeable bumps or downturns along the way. Despite this, in its best moments, Sick and Twisted Affair absolutely surpasses its predecessor. For example, the opening one-two punch of the title track and “Save Yourself” is nothing short of superb; both tracks have killer riffs, excellent musicianship on every front, and choruses crafted by the gods themselves. Similarly, “Nature of the Beast” and “Again” provide a great deal of heavy, stomping grooves and beefy axe bite that is enough to keep even the most fickle of hard rock meatheads satisfied, with “Again” boasting a fantastic and much-needed guitar solo in its bridge. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the subtler “Perfect” takes a small step back to deliver a meticulously crafted pop rock gem with a chorus catchier than an Adele single....full text
MetalexcessWell, when something is working, why change it? Just like My Darkest Days’ self-titled debut, Sick And Twisted Affair has he same producer (sans Chad Kroeger), guest musicians and dirty catchy club-worthy hard rock numbers that deal with sex.
There is a deluxe edition that features extra tracks a few alternate mixes and the same cover art but colored differently (I prefer the deluxe edition’s color scheme). I haven’t heard the deluxe edition but I’m really loving the fact that there’s only 9 songs on the regular edition. Always leave ‘em wanting more, never overstay your welcome. Helps to cut down on filler too.
Speaking of filler, the only track I would consider to be just that is the band’s cover of Joe & Mystikal’s “Stutter”. I loved their take on Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” on the last album but this one doesn’t work, IMO.
So getting to what does work, let’s start off with the lead single “Casual Sex”. Definitely the follow up to “Porn Star Dancing” and meant to appeal to the club scene but that’s okay because it rocks at the same time (and just like “Porn Star Dancing” there are pop and rock mixes available). With that song and others, I’m noticing keyboards being used a lot more. There’s very much a synth sound found on “Sick And Twisted Affair”, “Love Crime” and “Again” where the band comes across like a sexier version of Orgy (not that orgies can’t be sexy).
More in the typical modern hard rock style there is “Nature of the Beast” which I would place as the weakest original track on the album.
It’s really hard to pick the best tracks because I find myself repeating each song 2 or 3 times. On this day alone I think I’ve listened to this album 6 or 7 times total. Virtually every song will stick in your head and take up space. There’s so much single potential here. “Love Crime”, “Again”, “Save Yourself” and “Gone” are ready for rock & pop stations. “Save Yourself” and “Gone” are the two ballads on the album, great songs and I can definitely see them blowing up big on the pop stations....full text
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