Best known by their major label debut album "Don't You Fake It" released in 2006, spawning singles "Face Down" and "Your Guardian Angel," Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is still making an impact on the world after leaving Virgin Records in February 2010. Due to several complications with the label, including poor promotion and lack of interest in the band's second album "Lonely Road," the band decided that doing their own thing more independently was the way to go. New album "Am I the Enemy" isn't entirely self-released, however—they are signed to their management's newly launched label called Collective Sounds. According to lead singer Ronnie Winter, the money is split 50/50 between the band and the label and they are fully hooked up with widespread distribution from Sony RED. "[W]e basically have full control over anything that we want to have an opinion on. Anything else that we don't really know about necessarily they handle. I'm definitely enjoying the relationship so far, and I recommend it to any band out there that's not already locked into a four or five album deal," says Winter.
The album was released on August 29, 2011 and topped the iTunes Rock charts for the following week. It's no wonder, because this could be the band's best release to date. It showcases their ability, diversity, creativity, and boldness. One of the most intriguing aspects of this record is how Ronnie Winter boldly tackles politics and spirituality in his lyrics. Winter stated that conversations he had with his grandmother spurred him to use the songs on this album to be more open with these subjects. "She and I have had conversations about using the band as more of a vessel for expressing spirituality," says Winter. The first single "Reap" is a perfect example of this. It opens with chugging guitars and electronic beats, goes straight into a screaming verse, then melts right into a melodic chorus where Ronnie sings "If you gain the world by trading your soul / Remember you'll reap just what you sow."
Politically-driven lyrics can be found in the title track, "Am I the Enemy," which is about feeling oppressed and taking a stand. Winter said that he was inspired by the rebellions going on at the time in Libya, Egypt, and other places around the world. "Obviously war is never a good thing. Taking a person's life is probably the absolute worst thing that could ever happen, not only to that person who died but to the person who has to kill another person. But when you have an oppressive society and you treat women like slaves and all the things that were going on, eventually something's going to happen. Somebody's going to take a stand and say 'we don't deserve to live like this,'" says Winter. "That's what was going in the world at the time we wrote the song."
Musically the record gives homage to their 2006 debut with some added edge and electronic sounds. This is partially due to producer John Feldmann, who is the frontman of Goldfinger and has worked with bands like The Used and Story of the Year in the past. The band ended up wanting him to produce the album after some good songs came out of a writing session he had with Ronnie in LA. It is very tightly produced but still has a rock and roll edge. Fans who were displeased with the musical direction of Lonely Road will be pleasantly surprised.
This album is highly recommended. Whether you're an old RJA fan, never heard of them before, whether you enjoy deep lyrics or simply love rocking out every once in awhile, you'll definitely find something to get out of "Am I the Enemy."
A deluxe edition of the album can be purchased on iTunes which includes a radio edit of Reap, two bonus tracks, two lyric videos, and an iTunes LP. You can also find the standard version on iTunes, the band's online store, and various stores such as Hot Topic and BestBuy.
Check out an in-depth audio interview with Ronnie Winter about the album here: http://listenin.org/interviews/archive/artists/Red+Jumpsuit+Apparatus_2100_+The/default.aspx
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please login or sign up in the upper right of this page.