One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back Music Poster Image
Retro sound that approaches self-parody

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Oddly and self-indulgently sexist, in a goofy way


Nothing really obvious.


Apparent obsession with body parts; a lot of innuendo.


Occasional playful R-rated language.


Nothing obvious.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several references to drugs and cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there are some obvious drug and sex references and an obsession with body parts, both male and female.

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What's the story?

Remember Spinal Tap? The hilarious \"Rock-umentary\" of an overblown, over-indulged English band on tour in the U.S. finally gave us permission to laugh at self-important glam-band posturing. On ONE WAY TICKET TO HELL ... AND BACK, The Darkness come inches away from delivering deliciously wicked parody but veer off at the last second, leaving us to wonder if these guys might actually take themselves seriously after all. Yet the heavy use of cowbell on the title song's introduction, the stylized high vocal acrobatics contributed by lead singer Justin Hawkins, the Queen-like arrangements by Roy Thomas Baker (who actually did produce Queen), and the loud, retro, wailing wall o'guitars could induce non-stop giggles if you let them. The problem is that despite all the posturing and posing, these guys are, well, they're actually really good.

Is it any good?

With just a bit more subtlety, most of the sexual and drug innuendo would fly right over the heads of parents and tweens alike. As it is, we have to confront the tedious fact that yes -- that does sound like someone snorting crank on the beginning of Track 1 and -- sigh -- "Knockers" is indeed a tribute to female body parts, and (go figure) even rock stars aren't immune to fears of male-pattern baldness and/or impotence. For those families who aren't uncomfortable with the occasional un-PC lyric, there's some amazing talent showcased here. Parody or posturing? Innuendo or naiveté? You (and your teens) will have to be the judge.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the lyrics -- almost, but not quite, clever enough in innuendo and double entendre to have avoided the Parental Advisory sticker -- and the importance of subtlety in effective communication.

Music details

  • Artist: The Darkness
  • Release date: November 29, 2005
  • Label: Atlantic
  • Genre: Rock
  • Parental advisory: Yes
  • Edited version available: Yes
  • Last updated: July 15, 2015

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