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Birthed from the same scene that gave the world Blink 182, Unwritten Law did not experience the same level of success but they did have some mainstream success. Their 2002 album, Elva reached number 17 in Australia and 69 in the USA. The follow up album, 2005’s Here’s to the Mourning, reached number 51 in America. Swan is their first album since that outing and Unwritten Law are hoping to improve their charting for a third straight album.
The album seems to have the potential from some mainstream interest. The album’s opening track and first single, “Starships and Apocalypse” is an energetic punk track with an arena-sized chorus. Musically, the song is perfect but lyrically it leaves a little to be desired featuring trite lines like “everybody get drunk drunk/get ready lets fuck fuck.” Then again, the same song features allusions to David Bowie‘s “Space Oddity” which is a confusing juxtaposition of ideas.
The entire album, however, has a lyric problem. “Superbad” features a chorus of “I’m bad bad superbad/go run home and tell your mom and dad/I’m bad bad superbad/but you can bet your ass I’m the best…” In comparison to Rebecca Black’s “Friday” , Unwritten Law’s lyrics do not look so bad and Black’s song was a hit so there is some hope for the band.
The main point is, the type of music Unwritten Law plays is not know for its lyrical prowess. The band does a great job writing energetic tracks with catchy hooks. Where the band mostly fails is when they slow it down so the lyrics seemingly take a more center stage. If I were them, I would stick to the fast stuff and leave the ballads for Foreigner.