I feel bad disliking this record as much as I do. I like Everlast; he seems like a good guy or at least a good guy to go drinking with. I was always a House Of Pain fan and I was rooting for him during the Eminem wars. That being said, I just can’t find anything worth liking here.
Watching the former Jump Around king try to play like Hank Williams JR has always been just shy of complete failure. With his new album The Songs Of The Ungrateful Living Everlast’s failure is complete. Whether telling stories about Americana or imparting wisdom to us sorry saps that don’t know how hard life is, Everlast never strikes a single real moment on the entire album.
Songs Of The Ungrateful Living takes it’s first step on that dry country mile with “Long At All”, which seems to have something to do with our hero’s long and winding road. Everlast is all about imagery. “Sing your prayers out loud because your gospel’s in your song”. Well, I have common man goose bumps, do you? I’m sure Everlast isn’t purposely trying to sound pretentious but hearing about the trials and tribulations of the tough road of life from a guy who used to threaten to beat you up after fucking your girlfriend is a tough pill to swallow.
“Gone For Good” is Everlast’s attempt at rolling the imagery dice to see if he can paint a picture we can relate to. “My vision is blurry, my head has been throbbin, got to fightin’ with the wife and she hung up on me sobbin”. I get it, you drink, you’re difficult to handle, you always let down the ladies in your life but you’re a good guy and you mean well. This could either be an Everlast song or a Clint Eastwood western. The ideas Everlast tries to impart are too cliché to really be taken seriously. It’s as if he has the modern country handbook and he’s running it play by play.
“Little Miss America” could be an indictment of the American way, or it could be the story of a sad girl in a bad situation. There’s no way to really tell because Everlast’s lyrical style relies so much on the power of an analogy. Analogies are wonderful if used sparingly but cramming as many into a song as possible is never a good idea. Another problem with Songs Of The Ungrateful Living is that our narrator has no clue who he is. Is he a thug? A performer strung out with life on the road? A common man trying to make it in the world? Ironically enough Everlast is probably all those things, but he’s unable to combine the threads into a cohesive album.
“My House” opens with Everlast lamenting on a girl he had lost until suddenly it’s about him trying to woo a girl. Is this the same girl? A new girl? Does it matter? Lyrically the song is difficult not to laugh at. “We can do this like Brutus on a Tuesday night. I can roll you up some trees, make you a bite, maybe watch a movie or the UFC fight”. Well step back Marvin Gaye, there’s a new sheriff in town.
Songs Of The Ungrateful Livingnever strays from the formula. Acoustic guitars, “country” trimmings ranging from back up singers to slides and so on. Layered on top of that Everlast tries to serve up lyrical bombasts that end up sounding like lyrics from the band who won second prize at the high school talent show. If Everlast was smart he’d go back to rapping and hang up the good ol’ boy act. It’s just not working for him.
CRAVEONLINE RATING 3/10