Kellin Quinn has made a lot of bold claims going into this album. He has made a point of distancing himself from his old sound, calling this album more ‘grown up’ than anything he’s ever done before. After a string of singles that have shown anything but that, the new Sleeping With Sirens album, Gossip, has been released, and boy are there a lot of talking points about this.
Firstly, let’s address the album’s style and the change in order to be more ‘mature’. To be honest, Sleeping With Sirens have never made ‘mature’ music, choosing instead to cater to a younger age group. And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with appealing to a certain audience; you have to market your music to someone after all. But the fact that Quinn thinks his writing is any more ‘grown up’ than anything he’s ever done before is genuinely laughable – if anything, he’s gone backwards since his earlier work. The whole album is a mashup of terrible clichés and false sentiments.
But that’s not to criticise the musicality, because I feel like that has taken a massive step. While I feel like the whole album is a backing track for Quinn’s ego, praise must be given to the rest of the band for their part in it, because some of the songs have great instrumentals and sweeping soundtracks. In fact, the musicality of the album would put it above all of their other albums if it wasn’t for the cringeworthy content that I will go on to talk about.
Now onto my main problem with the album; the lyrics. Some are bad, some are awful, and some are downright harmful. Now, I can forgive one or two cringeworthy lyrics, but in this album no song is without them. Each verse is full of a mess of clichés and self-aggrandisement from Quinn, telling people that he’s a ‘one man army’ and ‘can’t fight without winning’. And that’s not to mention the godawful closing track ‘War’. To write a song about the horrors of war when you’ve never experienced them yourself, you need to get it spot on (for example, ‘Hero Of War’, by Rise Against), but this falls short of the mark by miles. It feels like cheaply capitalising on a horrific issue so his legions of young fans will think more of him, and that is completely unacceptable.
It doesn’t stop there either. ‘Cheers’ has a couple of references romanticising drug culture, and ‘getting high’, and for an album so clearly marketed at younger fans, especially ones as dedicated as this bands’, it just doesn’t sit right with me. After all, why wouldn’t a young, impressionable fan listening to their hero singing about ‘getting high on 5th avenue’ think that that sort of thing is normal. Not to mention the fact that there are lyrics on the album that are derogatory at best, and just plain misogynistic at worst (‘watch that pretty mouth before you go and try to speak’). Ignoring the fact that these lyrics are unacceptable in modern society, you don’t want young fans believing that saying things like this are normal.
In conclusion, this album is not only harmful, but just outright bad. I do, however want to praise the musicality, composition, and production of the album, because those aspects of the album are very well done. It’s such a shame all of this good work is ruined by the rest of it.
Best song: Empire To Ashes