3OH!3 – Want

Band: 3OH!3
Genre: Electronica/Crunk Rock
Label: Photofinish Records

1. Tapp
2. Punkb*tch
3. Don’t Trust Me
4. Chokechain
5. I’m Not Your Boyfriend Baby
6. I Can’t Do It Alone
7. Starstrukk
8. Richman
9. Photofinnish
10. Still Around
11. Holler Til You Pass Out
12. Colorado Sunrise
No matter what else I say in this review, I have to admit I am quite impressed by what 3OH!3 have attempted on their debut album, Want. The team of Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte have taken every “scenesters” guilty pleasures and thrown them together to create a sound that’s still considered fresh, even in today’s flooded marketplace. For those of you unfamiliar with the group, picture throwing Lil John, Timbaland, Fatboy Slim, talk of sex, drugs, rock and roll, and any person you’ve ever heard use the term “crunk,” into a mixer on high for 3 minutes and the result would be 3Oh!3, These Colorado natives are definitely on to something, and the bulging crowds at Warped tour to see them this summer is a sign that people are buying what they’re making, but is it worth your money or is just another passing fad?

It’s a little hard to tear apart an album like this because it’s made up of synth, drum loops, bass hits, and other electronic devices with vocals layered on top. There are no technical skills to be torn apart, but surely we can talk about something. “Tapp,” the intro track seems to serve no purpose other than to introduce you to some of the sounds you will become familiar with on the record. At a minute long, it’s likely you will skip this on any repeat listens. “Punkb*tch,” the first real song kicks off with similar synth sounds found in the intro, but then we meet our dynamic duo. Their voices work because one is gruff while the other is a bit more smooth [perfect for the choruses where they actually sing]. I wouldn’t say what we hear is rapping, but rather talk singing to a bass heavy beat with a lot of high synth work. I will say that I’m impressed they didn’t run for the high hat loop like most acts, but the songs seems to last about 2 minutes too long and has a final bridge that just doesn’t fit the rest of the track whatsoever. Then again, the thick bass will most likely pull people in regardless. Following this we find the first track with actual singing, “Don’t Trust Me.” The vocal heavy intro is refreshing as the electronics are kept in the background [one of the few times this will happen throughout the disc]. The vocals continue as the beat comes in with lyrics sure to be spread all over myspace [“and tell your boyfriend , if he says he’s got beef, that I’m a vegetarian, and I ain’t [expletive] scared of him”], but the real hook is in the female lead chorus which pounds like a New York City club on Saturday night. The verses continue to be more relaxed which gives some good levels to the track, but really, they just want you to dance. I’m not expecting depth and 3Oh3! doesn’t try to go too deep.

Up next is the heavily Lil Jon influenced, “Chockechain,” which will get the crowds moving, but after a few listens loses it’s appeal. The do a great job impersonating the hottest rap acts in the clubs, but they then add their own style to it with great synth work in the chorus. Though I’m sure the teens this is geared towards won’t care, I fear they sound too much like all those other acts to become their own group. However, I must say I never tire of, “I’m Not Your Boyfriend Baby,” which takes everything great about 3OH3! and those it together for nearly four minutes of high energy music. This is the kind of song to start a party or keep you going in the gym. Though it’s about guys, I see plenty of girls jumping on this track as well, it’s radio ready and a sure fire hit in my mind. We even get some more singing about halfway through and it takes everything a bit better than it already was. The great vibes this track leaves you with will be needed for the throw-away, “I Can’t do it Alone,” which has a bit too much repetition and just feels annoying before it’s even halfway through. I see what the band wanted, a fast tracked that’s catchy, but it just seems too simple lyrically and the loops get old fast.

“Starstrukk,” gets old fast, but the use of whistling is unexpected and interesting. However, like most “nifty” additions, it gets old quickly. The follower, “Richman,” however, is the 2nd best track on the album. This song is made for night driving with a car full of friends and, “Photofinnish,” the anthemic track seemingly about the band’s label, will keep that late night vehicular party rolling. It’s at this point that it seems 3Oh3! wants to throw us a curveball with, “Still Around.” Piano and vocals are all that greet us up front and thus the entire force of the album comes to a screeching halt, but the song is actually really well done. The addition of light accompaniment from electronics and snap are quite welcomed and make the track flow quite well, even if it doesn’t fit the record. The track seems even more out of place as, “Holler As You Pass Out,” sounds like it fell out of No Limit Records back vault and tries to pick the album back up energy wise. The track stays longer than it’s welcome, but the gang vocal-ish, “bang bang..” section is sure to pull in teens like no one’s business. This then leads us to the closing track, which once again slows things down. Side note; slowing way down, just to jump back to full energy and then back down again is really annoying. This track is very similar to something Metro Station would release, but with better use of electronics and vocal effects. It’s a solid heart string puller for the ladies and a good closer for every boy’s mix tape to his high school sweetheart, therefore, it succeeds as a great track overall.

3Oh3! are taking a lot of risks with Want. They’re selling themselves to a generation that have found rebellion in local shopping malls and have the attention span of goldfish. However, they seem to have taken these factors into account and it’s obvious with the ridiculous amount of electronics in their songs and the style with which they display themselves. Plus, garnering a hefty amount of expletives in a scene made up mostly of bands which stray from such work only adds to the band’s guilty pleasure factor. I have no doubt these boys will blow up [if you’ve been to Warped this year, you know it’s happening already], but I can’t base a grade solely off of, “hey, this is different,” type thoughts. In terms of creativity and originality, it’s hit or miss and the longevity factor is really not apparent on this record. Some songs will be great for a long while, but as a whole, the album starts to become redundant quickly and could use some work. With that said, this is a culture and time of people wanting instant gratification and these boys will give it to you, so all in all, you need 3Oh3! in your life, even if just for a day. So turn off the deep thoughts and crank the bass, 3Oh3! has the escape you need from the hectic world we live in, but don’t expect it to last.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
GRADE: 6.5/10

James Shotwell
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