As a teenager in the early 90′s, House of Pain was the perfect hell raising, stick-it-to-the-man, government conspiracy-theory inducing music. I pretty much grew up a half a decade or so behind the group, which included Danny Boy, DJ Lethal, and Everlast, so they’ve always been relevant in that their music, passion for sneakers, graffiti and general attitude, has been something I can relate to.
When I first started listening to them in ’92 or so, I did what I always do, and started reading through the cassette insert (yeah, imagine that, cassettes, the Jump Around single and full length). I ended up getting my hands on Forever Everlasting shortly thereafter and became hooked on Everlast’s rawness combined with the genuineness of songs like On The Edge.
That same raw and genuine music that pulls from the same soulful rock, acoustic guitar and hip-hop, that I’ve grown up listening to and writing, is what I love about Everlast’s new album, Songs Of The Ungrateful Living. Unlike many of the previous albums that were blanketed with heartache, the overall feel of the new album is positive, and very much reflective of the positive things that have happened in Everlast’s life over the past few years, including marriage and newborn baby girl.
Like the all of his previous albums, the album is filled with things that I can relate too, but mostly the realness. Calling up his girl and asking her to come over, on the track, My House, ‘burn some Nag Champa make the place smell right…conversate for a while about human desire…put some hope in this heart of mine’…I’ve been there before. The track The Crown has a bit of Johnny Cash-like feel but the question of ‘why every man wants to be king’ is one I am often asking myself.
My favorite track at the moment, after two days of listening, is Sixty-five Roses. It’s all the ups and downs of a relationship come and gone, the love, the sorrow, and the thing that makes you forget about all your worries. Though I can relate to the heartfelt and slowed songs easily, there are a few upbeat tracks that have more heavily hip-hop influenced beats. One is the Fredwreck produced The Rain. It’s a classic Fredwreck beat with soulful Everlast lyrics, what’s not to like? The other that gets my head noddin’ is the first single, produced by Z-Trip, I Get By. Once again, grabbing relevance with graffiti with Tristan Eaton’s cover art and our human nature to just get by and not see all the signs that are so obvious, which TrustoCorp captured with their creativity, poking fun at our society’s capitalistic crap.
All in all the Songs Of the Ungrateful Living album is one of my favorites from Everlast. The introspective thought provocation, combination of singer-songwriter, soulful hip-hop, and love storytelling, is a combination that I think many can relate to and the the ode to hard work with the blue collar-appreciative lyrics are telling of the current economic struggles of our country.