The Script deals in disappointing cliche on ‘Freedom Child’
Grace Weissend | Tuesday, September 5, 2017
From the album art to the tracks themselves, The Script is simply trying too hard on their latest effort. The Irish band’s fifth studio album, “Freedom Child,” is ridden with cliches, piano overlays and intense drumming. The fourteen tracks feel almost never ending due to the lack of differentiation among them. Past The Script albums have had at least one massive hit — the band scored big with single “Breakeven” in 2008, and “Hall of Fame” from 2012’s “#3” played at nearly every major awards show and sports game for a full calendar year. There isn’t a single song on “Freedom Child,” however, that stands out as a hit people will latch on to.
Credit must be given where credit is due, and The Script certainly tries to blur genre lines on “Freedom Child.” They try out a strange electro reggae style on “No Man is an Island,” and attempt an EDM-crossover tune on “Wonders.” To be completely frank, it just doesn’t work. The Script seems to be pandering to a Chainsmokers-loving populace, aiming for songs that bop but lack any real substance. One of the highlights of “Freedom Child” is the stripped-down “Make Up,” which sounds a lot more like the old The Script than the rest of the album does. It’s a more stripped down sound, and the acoustics and vocals have a genuinely beautiful tone. The sound is marred, however, by laughably shallow lyrics — “No you don’t need make up / to cover your face, love / you’re beautiful now / within and without / be good to yourself / you’re doing me proud.” You can practically hear the female population rolling their eyes in the background.
It is nearly impossible to get past such ridiculously cliched lyrics throughout “Freedom Child.” Just a perusal through the tracklist is enough to make one’s head start spinning with irritation — tracks like “Divided States of America” and “Written in the Scars” alert you that The Script is reaching on this album before you press play on a single tune. “Written in the Scars” makes up for the play-on-words hilarity with a decent sound — the chorus in particular is a satisfying electro-rock blend. The songs on “Freedom Child” are very formulaic; it’s difficult to take the album seriously as a cohesive, finished project and not merely a work in progress. The first single off the album, “Rain,” is currently The Script’s most popular song on Spotify and is genuinely pretty good. The lyrics aren’t quite as annoying as on the other tracks, and the acoustic chorus is a welcome difference from the rest of the album’s flirtation with electro music. It almost feels like an inappropriate tease for a first single, however, as the rest of the album doesn’t hold up in comparison to “Rain’s” originality or quality.
The title track on “Freedom Child,” which concludes the album, is a particularly maddening Pandora’s box of cliches. It feels like The Script is trying to get a repeat of the success they had with “Hall of Fame” on this track; the lyrics are inspirational in nature and broad enough to be applicable in many a ceremonial occasion. It is unlikely The Script will find similar success with this tune, however, as it lacks the emotional gusto of a “Hall of Fame” or even a “Breakeven.” With no real breakout song and an album that altogether disappoints, it’s unlikely that The Script will be adding this record to their hall of fame.
Artist: The Script
Album: Freedom Child
Label: Columbia Records
Favorite Track: “Rain”
If you like: The Fray, OneRepublic