When P.O.D. is at their best they’re one of my favorite bands in the world. When they’re not at their best, I still enjoy what they put out and they can still write catchy songs. And with Murdered Love it felt like a new energy and spirit had returned to the band. So I was excited for what lay ahead with The Awakening.
I have mixed feelings about The Awakening. It’s got some great songs. Some songs I think have great potential. I think my real problem is The Awakening just doesn’t feel memorable. These don’t seem like songs that the band will keep playing live. Most of the band’s songs from their two records with Jason Truby are now just deep album cuts and not live songs. That’s what The Awakening feels like.
There’s also the concept nature of the record. Instead of letting the songs tie the narrative together, the band has a skit that runs through the entire record. The acting isn’t the greatest and the narrative is only just enough to drive the concept forward. The album probably would’ve been better served without the skit.
The thing is, there’s a lot of songs I really like. The album opener, Am I Awake, is great! A slight dark undertone, but driving track. Knowing that it’s a concept record helps give the song some context, because on a “normal” record, it might seem like a weird track to kick off your record. This Goes Out To You is a killer song, but it doesn’t feel like a lead single. Like it should have been the second or third single from the record. Rise Of The NWO sounds like a song we’ve heard from P.O.D. before. And not in a good way. It just sounds like a knock off of something they’ve done before. I don’t hate the song, but it just feels a little simple.
Criminal Conversations is one of my least favorite tracks on the record. It’s not a bad song, and it makes sense in the grand scheme of P.O.D. discography, but something about the song just doesn’t hit me as a great track. It’s almost the same with the following song, Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me. The song feels a little forced. Again, I kind of like the song on its own, but in the context of the record, it feels a little weird.
I love Get Down! It’s not the type of song I see P.O.D. busting out at any concert, but it’s a killer, dark themed track.
Speed Demon is another track I feel like I’ve heard from P.O.D. before, but it feels fresher than Rise of The NWO. Want It All might be the most chill song P.O.D. has ever written, and that’s saying something. Revolución is literally Without Jah Nothing part 2. A fast paced punk song with a hardcore legend offering a guest vocal on the track (Lou Keller of Sick of It All) before the song drifts off into a reggae jam. The title track closes the record. Again, it’s not a song I hate, it just feels weird and out-of-place.
The Awakening is full of really good songs, but it fails to come together as an album in my opinion. The songs are solid, but I don’t find any track being a long-standing fan favorite or live track. It feels like the enthusiasm the band had on Murdered Love got lost in the idea of the concept record. The songs are good, but the execution seems to be a little lacking. Maybe it;s the track order, or maybe an extra song or two would’ve really made this a record worth diving in to. I still love P.O.D. But The Awakening is not my favorite record. 3 out of 5 Stars.