BY DREW LACOUTURE
Former member of He is We, Rachel Taylor speaks about personal battles in her overproduced, generic and poorly executed debut. For those who thought that He is We was boring and cringe worthy, this album makes her former duo seem innovative.
Of course an album about dealing with personal issues is called “War,” of course there is a song titled “Fight for Me” that is about a boy that left her and of course the final track “Lead the Fight On” is a ballad about broken people uniting to change the world.
There is certainly talent in the booth despite a lack of energy and personality. Taylor’s voice can actually be quite soothing like on the song “Blue.” However, there is barely a single moment when Taylor gets to shine without any vocal layering, back-up vocals or effects editing her voice beyond the first verse of every track.
She Is We certainly have some weak songwriters. The lyrics “Hanging by the heart stings, (swinging, swinging, swinging) can you feel my heart beat (singing, singing, signing)” might be the most forced sung words one might hear this year.
Then there is the chorus to “Crazy Heart,” which makes Taylor not only boring but also unlikable. “Sometimes I want to make you mad, start drama, make you want to leave me so bad.” And you thought dating Taylor Swift was a bad idea?
But by far the worst aspect of this record is the instrumentation. It is one thing to not use real instruments; it is unacceptable when the next chord, drum pattern and melody can be predicted/sung before it even hits your ears. It is like this album was trying to sound as white-bread and processed as humanly possible.
The worst tracks all around are “Flatlining” and “Runaways” because the cringe is so powerful, both musically and lyrically, that it almost becomes frustrating.
Thankfully every track is distinguishable after a couple listens. but the record is so lifeless that it just wizzes by without leaving an impression other than the desire to listen to better music.
There is some artistic quality to this project. Taylor seems like she is actually trying to be captivating on “Monster” with the ear grabbing lyric “All I see is me at nineteen, silencing the voices within me.”
“Boomerang” is also a not a bad opener with a banger instrumental that matches up to her vocals quite nicely.
“War” will sadly get lost in the sea of songs and albums with the same title, not so much because of its title, but because its content is simply lackluster.
What is perplexing about this record is how it will be recognized besides its lack of quality. It is not pop enough for radio by any stretch of the imagination and it is not indie or rock enough to be played on any of those stations. It is a listenable record, but thinking about it might be a little sickening.
The Flyer gives She is We’s album a 2/10.