Now here's a switch. Or perhaps, a turn for the worst. However you want to look at it, Royal Ruckus releases their national self-titled debut on Flicker Records. The rap act is comprised of Michael Paul Walker (Flatline) and Jamey William Bennett (Chunjay), two white guys from Bakersfield, California. And honestly, at first glance, it is very easy to toss them aside because, for a lack of better words, they simply aren't very good at what they do. Yes, this disc's main purpose is to incite laughter (And at times it succeeds); but for the most part, it's just painful to listen to.
There are a grand total of twenty tracks on Royal Ruckus' debut, nine of which are interludes. Some of them are hysterical (Especially a three-part drama featuring a very perturbed member of L.A. Symphony), and some could have easily been left out. I mean, come on, twenty tracks is a bit much. But let's discuss the eleven musical offerings...
The actual songs on the dissc vary from the very serious ("Double Take" deals with love for a very special friend) and the amazingly ridiculous ("Let's Start a Boy Band" takes a very sarcastic look at the boy bands that litter the mainstream and Christian market). But when it comes down to it, the band's overall image is enough for listeners to not take anything they say seriously. Even the more serious songs are done in a very tongue-in-cheek way, not unlike Relient K. But where these bands differ is in the plain and simple fact that Relient K matured as they got older. I doubt we will see much growth in Royal Ruckus' future. Yes, both bands exist to bring the listener closer to God in a humorous way, but Relient K, I suppose, took things a bit more seriously from the start. And anybody who has followed RK from the beginning knows that that is a very bold statement to make.
Musically, it's your basic rap/hip-hop beats with some pop/rock flavor thrown in. It's actually rather original. But then there is the issue of the vocals (Or "raps"). The two guys of Royal Ruckus rap not too much unlike Aaron Carter. Yeah, Aaron Carter. They just aren't too good at what they do. When the songs take a more "rock" turn, the vocals are a lot more tolerable.
And, again, I know it's all supposed to be played for laughs, but, if the music isn't that great, why listen? That's a question Royal Ruckus needs to address before they prepare a sophomore effort. Some words of advice to the band: More rock tunes, less all-out rap, and some more mature songwriting. As is, Royal Ruckus' self-titled debut isn't even much of a welcome distraction.- Review date: 8/18/03, written by Josh Taylor
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