I would like to take this opportunity to thank Columbia Records for giving me the chance to write a review on the forthcoming music theme CD for WWE, "WWE: The Music Volume 8". The CD is due to be released on Tuesday, but I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the CD in the mail today. So, without further adieu, let's get down to business.
From what I have seen through the marketing campaign, it appears the feature song for this compilation is the new Jeff Hardy theme song, "No More Words", by the band EndeverafteR. Listening to that song, I would have to agree with WWE's decision to feature it, as it is a damn good sound. The song focuses on Jeff's prior theme song, and evolving it in to the next level of intensity. The old theme was prevalent with his recent push toward the WWE title, before his recent fall from grace.
The song fits the character portrayed by Jeff, and it is a much better fit for his persona, now, and even when he returns. I remember the last time WWE tried to do a song for one of the Hardys, Matt's song by Monster Magnet, which is still being used. I thought that was a bit off the beaten path for Matt's character. This one is definitely more suited for the rainbow haired warrior, with it's fast-paced beat, a very catchy hook, and a damn good guitar riff.
I did some searching online for lyrics, as they're not provided on the CD itself, which is a bit of a bummer, but so be it. I didn't find any, so we'll move on.
I'm very pleased with this sound for Jeff's new theme song. I would, if I had to give it a rating, give it a solid 3 3/4 stars. From my own personal vantage point, and this is a nitpick, I know, but I am more in favor of instrumental entrance songs. However, with the amount of pyro WWE uses, that sort of critique almost becomes moot.
Moving forward to track 2, WWE.com did an interview with Kofi Kingston and Collie Budz. I have to admit, I didn't know who this guy was, referring to Budz. This particular theme song had kind of frightened me in this new fangled world we live in of racial sensitivity, but all things considered, this song does have the up tempo beat with the Jamaican feel that is necessary for it to work as an entrance theme in an WWE arena. Not to mention the fact that the hook can be a little catchy and stick in your head, especially the "S.O.S." The song is quite pallatable to listen to, as it keeps the culture that is heir apparent with Kofi Kingston, yet, it doesn't drive it home in to your head with a rail road spike. It does so in a subtle manner, which is easy for guys who are not accustomed to this style of music to accept.
I'm not a HUGE fan of reggae music, I'm more of a rock music fan, but this is definitely not bad at all. A solid 2 3/4 stars, and that's biased on my part, because as I said, I'm a rock n' roll fan with a lot of guitars.
Track 3 is the instrumental theme for Beth Phoenix, titled the "Glamazon". I have to be honest. The INITIAL 10 seconds of this song makes me ill. It sounds like the beginning of a funeral dirge with the keyboards and that pitch. It sounds like it should be the beginning of the druids approaching the ring to take a soul out after its been decimated in the Undertaker's yard. There's MUCH too much keyboard usage in this song. Phoenix's character, although a woman, is as tough as they come, and the guitar riff in between the keyboards here symbolizes it nicely, but the excessive use of the keyboards here really detracts from the song. I guess the best way I can describe this is as such. Intensity and toughness should be symbolized with guitars, not church sounding organs. A rating for this song is about 2 stars, tops.
Track 4 is rap artist Heet Mob performing "The Wall" for Mark Henry. I'm not a heavy duty rap man. Let's get that right out of the bat, before we get off on the wrong thing here. This song, bluntly, is a basic beat, the lyrics going way too fast to try and understand, and then the words "The Wall" being sung three or four times. I gotta be honest here, this is not one of WWE's best options for a theme song. Comparing this song to the last one released for Mark Henry by Three Six Mafia is like comparing apples to oranges. This one, I'm sorry to say, is the rotten apple. The guitar riff in this song doesn't fit the beat, whatsoever. I'm not a music critic by trade, but this song doesn't fit the character behind the World's Strongest Man by any stretch. I would seriously doubt if we see it on television any time soon, as prevalent by friday night's broadcast, and WWE still using Three 6 Mafia's song for Henry. One star.
Track 5 is called "In the Middle of It" by the band Disciple for Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, Edge's mates. Gotta call this as I see it. This fits. Hawkins and Ryder have been Edge's foot soliders, in the middle of all the messes that the champion has found his way in to, this song fits the persona of both Hawkins and Ryder very well. It has a terrific hook, and the heavy beat that is mandatory to get a crowd off its feet in the arenas around the country. I'm impressed. The song fits the characters portrayed by the former Major Brothers to an absolute tee. WWE hit a home run with this theme song. 3 3/4 stars.
Track 6 is probably going to be the most difficult track for me to try and review here. It's Jillian's new theme, "Sliced Bread". She sings throughout the song, and it's just awful. Not awful in the sense that it's not appropriate for the character, because it's a homerun for the persona Hall is playing. But, if you listen to this song, you want to close your ears, and make sure you're not near a mirror because the glass may crack. One off topic question, is Brian Kendrick going to rename his finishing move after this song has been released? I don't know if I would want a finishing move to be associated with a song that is as difficult to listen to as this song.
Although, I have to contradict myself. This is an absolute home run for JIllian's character. It's an absolute guarantee for a major crowd reaction, and that is the bottom line, isn't it? 3 stars.
Track 7 sees the band Theory of a Deadman take on the theme song of the Demi God of WWE, Vincent Kennedy "Mr." McMahon. Turning this on for the first time, I have to say this. WOW. It's perfect. Absolutely larger than life, and intense to the maximum level. Think of the normal Vince McMahon theme song, find the nearest volume knob, and crank it till it breaks off the speakers, and you pretty much have this one down. It's a little Nickelback-ish in its verses, (sounds like), but when the chorus comes, it's full bore 1000% adrenaline pumping metal, and that's just absolutely perfect from where this man sits. No questions asked. And no chance in hell I'm not giving this a 4 star. I don't want Vince coming after me if I don't give it a high rating.
Track 8 sees WWE re-unite with their pals Saliva and a member of Shinedown, Brent Smith, for the song, "Don't Question My Heart", calling it the new theme song for ECW. While I, as a traditionalist for ECW, have a problem with going in a new direction with the theme song of the brand, I have to be honest, it's time to just accept the past as the past. With that being said, Saliva are veterans at doing these theme songs, doing ones for Jericho and Batista in the past. While I don't suspect this song will be used very often on television, it does fit the general aura surrounding the intestinal fortitude of the men and women in the locker room of the Land of the Extreme. I would have liked to see this song be more upbeat throughout from bell to bell. There's too many changes in the tempo of this song for it to be a true theme song for the ECW brand. It's a better fit for someone like a John Cena, if he went the rocker aspect, for a new theme song. This song is terrific, and a damn good listen, but I question the affiliation of this song with the ECW brand. I give it 3 1/2 stars as a song, but there's definitely something to debate, regarding how it may be used on television in the coming months.
Track 9 is Jesse & Festus' "Biscuits & Gravy". This song rocks. It's so perfect for the tag team. It's a treat to get this song on the CD, and it's just plain fun to listen to. No questions asked, nothing more to be said. We've all heard the song multiple times on Smackdown & ECW for Jesse & Festus. Only thing that can be said, is pass me that gravy that Festus is eatin', if I can be as big and powerful as that big boy, I'm signin' up. 3 1/2 stars. No questions asked. Next.
Track 10 is Candice Michelle's theme song evolved to the max, now called "What Love Is". I know I'm gonna get flack for this, but in the beginning of the song, right after the opening riff, before the "Raise Your Hands Up" verse, doesn't, in the background, doesn't it sound like Hacksaw Jim Duggan doing a "Ho!!!!!!!!!!!!!" chant? Actually, as I listen to the song throughout, it's constant throughout the song. I know it's part of the beat, and it's just one of those things, but for the un-cultured indiividuals who aren't veterans of dance music like I am, this song does provide that very "unique" thought in my head every time it's played.
Attempting to move on, it's a good song, it's a good evolution of the song to Candice's character, who has evolved from the full blown sex kitten to more of an athletic competitor, but damn, is there such a thing as enough evolution before it becomes too muddled? It's a viable question. 2 3/4 stars.
Track 11 is "Ain't No Make Believe" by Stonefree Experience for John Morrison. It's an absolute match made in heaven for the persona of Morrison. This song sounds like an upbeat Doors track. I'm not a huge Doors fan, but this song is easy to listen to, and it's damn sure to get a reaction, as it has for months and months, every time the WWE tag team champine hits the entrance ramp. It's very impressive how this group is able to emulate the Doors sound as well as they have done. An impressive addition to this compilation. 3 stars.
Track 12 is the new version of Shelton Benjamin's theme song, "Ain't No Stoppin' Me Now". With the new "Gold standard" gimmick comes a new theme song. It's a nice evolution to the previous theme song. I have not been able to find an artist name to fit the vocals for the song, but bluntly, it's the former theme song, a little harder edged, and a little rockier than its predecessor. It's a fitting evolution of the theme song for Shelton Benjamin with his home base being in ECW. A solid 3 star theme song, no questions asked.
Track 13 is the new theme song for the loud mouth of Raw, Mr. Ken Kennedy. His song is "Turn Up The Trouble", by the group, Airbourne. It's the song you've all known and loved, just taken to a "raw" level with the intensity and passion brought by the band members. No sign of Kennedy's screaming throughout the theme song, which is definitely not a bad thing. It actually may be a touch TOO loud for Kennedy's persona, but the hook is there, the primary characteristics to a good theme song are there, and it's fitting to the loud mouth, brash, arrogant persona of Mr. Kennedy as he runs rampant through the Raw ranks. The hook could be a little catchier, like with Jeff's new theme, but it's good. A solid 3 star. Not a bad evolution of Kennedy's theme song to the next level.
Track 14 and the final track on the CD is Chris Jericho's theme song done by Jim Johnston & Anthony Martini, "Break the Walls Down". It's the exact same song that Jericho has had throughout his run in WWE, just taken to an all new level of guitar intensity. It's near the level of almost a death metal sound, which may be even a bit much in Jericho's eyes, if you were to ask me. It works for the 2nd coming of Jericho, but for Jericho to use it as his legit television theme song, he would have to add a whole new level of intensity to his character that I'm not sure he can reach to. For the time being, it's a viable addition to the CD, although I have to say that if you ask my opinion, I would prefer the Saliva "King of My World" theme from back in the day if wer'e looking for a new angle to Jericho's theme music. It's 2 3/4 stars, from where I sit for this song on this CD.
One final issueI have discovered that is noticeably stark about this package is this. There are four tracks on this CD that, from where I sit, are an almost virtually certainty that they will not be used on television, whatsoever. Mark Henry's new theme, Vince's new theme, the ECW theme, and Jericho's new theme. If I'm wrong, then I'll say I am wrong, but based on what I've seen leading up to today, I don't think I am. Henry was on friday night, and they didn't use it, but they did obviously use Morrison's and promoted the CD with that very play. It's kind of discouraging when you're looking to collect the theme songs of your favorite characters, and you're getting ones that are a virtual lock not to be used on television. I have no proof of that, it's just something I've noticed by listening to this record from start to finish.
Overall, this is a damn good package put together. Good, fast paced, hard hitting music to fit the characters on the track list. There are some questions here and there to be sure, but overall, there's a lot of little gems here that are well worth the purchase. For me, it was a must have, as I have almost 10 wrestling theme CDs of various organizations. I would highly recommend this package to anyone who's interested in going further with your wrestling experience. It's definitely fun to watch your little ones emulating the guys you watch on television, complete with the theme songs and title belts. I think it's well worth the investment, ladies and gentlemen.
Again, my thanks to Columbia Records for the distinct honor of allowing me to have the ability to review this CD prior to its release nationally.
I welcome your comments and questions at my email address. Klac1102@aol.com.
Thank you very much for reading.
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