A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Despite occasionally imaginative songwriting and occasionally clever musical arrangements, Hawthorne Heights' second CD, IF ONLY YOU WERE LONELY, sounds like a retread -- more self-conscious teen angst, more self-conscious death imagery, more self-conscious vocal acrobatics, more self-conscious in general. Using every rock cliché in the book, the CD lacks the spark and fire of the band's debut, The Silence in Black and White. Nearly entirely hook-free, the songs meander around the usual depressed-teenager themes. Heavy on the death imagery, light on the wit and charm, this sophomore effort falls flat on nearly every song.
Is it any good?
Screaming guitars fight for attention while lyrics don't say much and wallow in self-absorbed self-pity. The songs may be repetitious and predictable, but they do deliver a strong and worthwhile subliminal message. If it's true -- and we do believe it's true -- that artistic expression is a terrific alternative to hurting yourself when you're feeling really bad, then Hawthorne Heights sets a fine example. Their songs might not be great, but writing about all that loneliness and misery and moving on to tell the story in apparent good health sends a peculiarly positive message all its own.