Archive for Dance Or Die

My thoughts on the new Family Force 5 album

Posted in Misc with tags , on Thursday, August 21, 2008 by drumsalot
FF5 Dance Or Die Cover Art

FF5 Dance Or Die Cover Art

I have been a fan of Family Force 5 since they released the album Fact & Reality in 1994, when they were 2 members lighter, 14 years old, and known as “The Brothers”. I honestly thought there was no way they could adequately follow Business Up Front, Party In The Back, and as I stood in line to pay for Dance Or Die I was preparing to be disappointed. Family Force 5 has outdone themselves. Creating an album that meets or exceeds the immensely popular Business is a task I thought impossible, but FF5 seems to have found the formula.

FF5’s sophomore offering, Dance Or Die, has all the energy of Business, but introduces dynamic shifts in their songwriting style that make this album not only listenable end to end, but presents a style that would make this album appropriate in any city club. FF5 ventures into uncharted territory for them several times on Dance Or Die. The title track hooks immediately with a memorable chorus on a track that is immediately reminiscent of the better music of the 1980’s infused with a background groove that just feels good.  “Get Your Back Off The Wall” and “Rip It Up” follow up immediately with the in your face down-tuned crunk grunge that has become the FF5 signature.  “How In The World” is perhaps the biggest surprise. The Phamily pulls open their seemingly endless bag of tricks and throws a crunk ballad (!?!??!) right in your face. This track keeps a high energy and danceable beat while offering a real heartfelt love song, a first for FF5. Not only is “How In The World” and excellent all around track, but FF5 incorporates a key-vox on the lead vocals for the verses, a hook used by many artists, which usually lends itself to an overall cheesy feel but is somehow appropriate for this song. The rest of the album maintains the power established by the first few tracks, and successfully avoids the similar feel song to song that Business had as it’s main downfall.

Overall I enjoyed Dance Or Die thoroughly, and feel that it breaks open the practically non-existent crunk genre a little more. The low point on the album for me was a slight emptiness in some of the lyrics, which was generally overcome by the infectiously energetic feel. The use of effects and 80’s pop/rock, disco, and post-punk feel mixed in with their signature down-tuned crunk rock was a winning formula for a hook-laden, dance worthy sophomore album that will undoubtedly be on loop in thousands of Ipods for many months to come. My only real complaint is that there are only 11 tracks, and when the last note of “Radiator” dropped, I was left ready for 11 more tracks. I strongly recommend this album, and anxiously await their next offering.