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Music Review: (hed)P.E. – Insomnia

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(hed)P.E. is a band to be admired for their perseverance and their desire to play by their own rules, and not succumb to the desires of the label execs. This is never going to be an easy career path if you are trying to get your music out to a wide audience. Still, good music will find its way to the people, but that is not always the case, and (hed)P.E. is a good example of that as well.

After their first few albums, they had a falling out with Jive Records, which led to their anger-filled release Only in Amerika on Koch Records. That proved to be a mere stop gap on their way to their current home, Suburban Noize Records. Insomnia is their second release on the label, following last year's Back 2 Base X. It's too bad this doesn't live up to last year's offering.

I have found (hed)P.E. to be an amazingly inconsistent band. My first real introduction to the band was probably not the best, Only in Amerika in 2005. It was an album that I really did not care for; it had some decent music, but lyrically it was vulgar, hateful, and not terribly interesting. Next up was 2006's Back 2 Base X, which was a considerable step up. It was an album that boasted a nice batch of grooves and a dose of originality. I then took a step back to their Jive years with a Best Of collection, which introduced me to the finest bits of their early releases.

This leads us to the present. Insomnia is in my CD player, and I feel as if I have taken a step back in time. This album sounds as if it should have been the transition from Only in Amerika and Back 2 Base X. Lyrically, this release is a mix of conspiracy theories and anti-establishment rants that are alternatingly screamed and sung, blended with misogyny and violence towards women. It is a mix that is a little offputting, as at times they are halfway interesting, but then they turn around and shoot themselves in the foot. Songs like "Game Over," "Suffa," "Comeova2nite," and "Mirrorballin" each provide examples of the lyrics that bring the band down. On the other hand, songs like "Game Over," Habeus," and "Tienanman Squared" provide counterpoint with lyrics that are much more interesting and worthwhile to listen to, even if they may not be the most insightful of lyrics.

Still, if you can get past the lyrical content, the music is actually pretty good for the most part. They continue to practice their brand of blended punk, rock, funk, jazz, and hip hop across and through the songs. There are some strong rhythms and beats that are easy to get into and groove along with, and their ability to transition through all of these styles within single songs is one of their strongest points.

One of the more intriguing songs is a cover of Buffalo Springfield's "For What's Worth," retitled here as "Children." It is actually pretty good, and spiced with a punk interlude. It feels surprisingly fitting in the midst of the rest of these songs.

Bottom line. I cannot recommend this album. It has a some interesting points, but on the whole I just don't really like it. I cannot get behind much of the lyrical content, and even the interesting points seem like paranoid conspiracy ramblings. Musically there are some cool transitions. Still, if you want a (hed)P.E. fix, try Jive's Best Of disk or Back 2 Base X.

Not Recommended.

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About Draven99

  • http://xx X

    FUCK YOU MAN, this album is fucking insane!

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    I guess you told me…

  • kev-god

    i didnt take to the album in the first few listens, but now i goddamn love it! and only in amerika is an amazing album. if you cant handle the lyrics, then you’re an example of exactly what the album is talking about!

  • Parkeazy

    God damn…

    How can this man write a review about a album and the history of HED when his only New to HED…
    If you listen to Hed you have to be down with Hed for life… For me “Back 2 Base X” was the down fall… And this is somewhat a step up toward the “I don’t give a f*ck” only in amerika.

    “Why don’t you just spread your legs and…”

  • Tristan Suclin

    i f@#$in agree, once you go hed, you dont go back, back 2 base x was there worst album, and i am so into punk and ska, but insomnia is fucking amazing, id still listen to back to base x over another band 😛 only in amerika is fuckin good but im religiously inlove with insomnia, its political point of view is like there point of the band, covering goodmorning vietnam was the best choice, for a cover of what there saying, the album is about how iraq war is exactly the same as vietname, we shouldnt be there the only difference between now and then is there not telling us anything now..and thats there point hahah they throw in there original punk lets fuck attitude, makes for some good hed 😛 i have to go smoke a joint, have fun guys heh

  • batman

    me and my two older brothers are all in the US Army,and are Paratroopers.we see this cd as a “thank you”. cause only in america can you do what the fuck you want,and we’re the reason for that.we did,on our own free will,and wanting to,SIGNED UP FOR THE LINE OF FIRE,cause its what we do best. when your listnenin to this as your kicking in a door,its definatly inpsiring. and the end of game over,jus warms my heart,fuckin little queer bitches

    GO AHEAD,SPEND YOUR MONEY ON SOME FUCKING TREND THATS GONNA BE GONE BY NEXT YEAR.WEAR YOUR HAIR LIKE A GIRL,WEAR GIRL PANTS LIKE A FUCKING QUEER!!!!!!

  • Bigtex

    I personally like most of the album. There are few songs I change. I’ve been listening to hed pe for years, saw em in Concert in ATX a few years back. I actually like Mirror Ballin’ myself, but mostly for the rythm of the song than the lyrics. I can agree with the reviewer here on most lyrics just being irritating, overdoing it with the whole conspiracy thing. I also agree with a previous comment on Back to Base X. B2BX seemed a little mild and slow for me, Not the best of hed pe. I very much enjoy this album. So far I like every album a lot with the exception to B2BX.

    However for the morons above, he is just giving his opinion, just because you don’t agree it doesn’t mean is a moron.

  • http://12 matman (N.S.R)

    Yo Hed pe is the best band ever plain and simple all there music rules and they totally kick ass. I’m a Hed pe fan 4 life. Hed pe fuckin rules.

  • Hedpe4lyfe

    ok my first time listening to it ill admit i was like ehhh, then it grew on me and i love it, i mean come on, Walk on By is by far heds best song. and fuck, OIA was great, this dudes just a pssy, sure i couple bad songs bring it down but not but much man, hed pe is fckin great and I’d give them a 4.5 stars

  • germandeathkittiez

    Sometimes I can’t tell if these lyrics are real or a joke. At these lyrics, on “Game Over,” “Go ahead and spend your money on some stupid fucking trend. Some shit that’s gonna be gone by next year. Wear your hair like a girl. Wear girl’s pants like a fucking queer. Keep crying about your little cheating slut of a girlfriend. Like a fucking little baby. Be a man.” … WHAT!?! I was practically on the floor Rofl’ing. By the time he said “Wikipedia that shit” I was wondering what kind of a point he was really trying to make. Also, I wonder when (hed)PE are going to start doing actual research on their “conspiracy theories”, other than what every kid has learned in high school.

  • ax

    LOL
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    You really don’t get it, right ? XD

    Go ahead pussy, let your radio play the same 15 songs that you hear every day !