Friday, March 16, 2007

Unwritten Law - The Hit List cd review

Unwritten Law
2 AM Distribution

What we have here is a greatest hits package of re-recorded songs all spit, shined, and polished up with two new songs thrown in for good measure. I'm not big on re-recorded songs, but I understand the need for bands to do it and I'll describe that here in a minute. This batch of songs is actually pretty good compared to alot of the other re-recorded songs I've heard from various bands.

Punk rock veterans Unwritten Law acheived success with their previous record labels. However, that success didn't translate to fatter wallets for the band and it is a story that is told over and over by various bands. So, rather than slave away for another label, Unwritten Law decided to start their own label and THE HIT LIST is their first release on their new label.

Like I said earlier all of the hits are re-recorded songs. The reason why bands re-record their own material is because their former labels won't give up the master recordsings - even if the bands want to buy their own material back. The labels hold on to the masters in order to bleed every song for every penny it's worth. The labels do this buy constantly re-packaging greatest hits compilations and releasing them under different titles to throw off the consumers. Your die hard fans see through this garbage and avoid these releases. However, your casual fan will pick these up on impulse and they don't get anything new. These hits compilations put out by the label don't have to have the permission of the bands either since the label owns the master recordings. Now that we have that cleared up - let's see how THE HIT LIST stacks up.

The hits are obvious - songs like "Celebration Song" and "Up All Night" are good examples of the of the great heavy driving songs on here. Unwritten Law kind of touches on different styles of punk - such is the case with the Blink 182 flavored "Save Me". "She Says" is acoustic during the verses and erupts into rocking chaos during the chorus. One of my favorite Unwritten Law tracks is "Seein' Red" it's a great rhythmic song with a catchy vocal hook. Speaking of the hook, the band has mastered the art of writing catchy hooks that are memorable. Mix that with their infectious grooves and vocals and THE HIT LIST is a great cd worthy of picking up. The re-recordings actually sound better - better production work and a more beefier sound and not that "tin can" sound that some of these previous recordings had.

Now the real highlight of this disc is the song "Shoulda Known Better". This song is receiving some heavy airplay and could possibly rocket Unwritten Law to another level. It has all of the ingredients (hooks, infectious grooves, and vocals) all coming together cohesively to create a memorable song. The other new song "Welcome to Oblivion" quite possibly could also get as much radio airplay as "Shoulda Known Better". It's a bit toned down in the verses but picks up the beat as it breaks into a great drawn out mid-tempo vocal chorus. If these two new songs are any indication, I can wait for their next studio release. The band has really matured and have become great songwriters.

Now for an interesting twist on THE HIT LIST. Upon hearing that Unwritten Law were releasing a greatest hits package, one of their former labels rushed out one of those greatest hits compilations that I mentioned earlier to try to beat Unwritten Law to the store shelves. THE HIT LIST is the cd you should pick up - you get more bang for your buck and the recordings actually sound better. What I love about this situation is that as the hype builds over this release, it's like Unwritten Law is slowly throwing a middle finger towards their former labels and the business side of the music industry. The more the success they achieve, the higher the middle finger goes!

This is a disc that I think can span different genres of rock. Whether you're into punk, rock, pop rock, hard rock, open up your minds and give this cd a chance. I think you will like what you hear. It's a great cd and it's one that won't end up in my trade in pile. I give this cd 9 middle fingers out of 10 middle fingers!

Unwritten Law's THE HIT LIST is out now. For more information log on to

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