Music Monday: ‘Scripted’ by Icon for Hire Review
I found the punk-rock band, ‘Icon for Hire’ after doing a simple Google search for “bands like Evanescence.” No matter how much I love Evanescence (who I have yet to feature on Music Monday) and rock music in general, Icon for Hire has never been on my radar before, but I’m glad I found them. Scripted is a fantastic album – from the lead singer Ariel’s powerful vocals and the hard-rock guitar melodies, Scripted is nothing far from being one of the most memorable debuts* I’ve heard in a while.
*Icon for Hire released to EPs before ‘Scripted’, but this is their first full length album.
The album begins with a short, 30 second electronic-influenced track titled Overture. I couldn’t imagine listening to Scripted from the beginning without Overture, because it sets the stage for the songs following it, and blends seamlessly into the next song, Theatre. I love every song on ‘Scripted’ but Theatre is really an anthem for anyone that needs a boost of confidence. The lyrics in the chorus, “I wanna live like I lost the script & scream every line, like “this is it!” present a simple, but meaningful message – To live in the moment, and enjoy it. Every song on this album speaks to me. Every song has a message that I can relate to and appreciate. That rarely happens. I can imagine Scripted and Icon for Hire being very popular with teenagers and young adults.Though the title of the album is Scripted, many of the songs talk about what I would consider to be some of the most candid moments of a human’s life. Pain, depression, anxiety, loss of confidence – it’s all expressed in the lyrics.
Next is the band’s first single from the album, Make a Move. The lead singer Ariel has said herself that this song is about the ‘selfish’ nature of human beings. I take it as a statement about the lack of people taking action in society, and also the hypocritical nature of people. The song is not about Ariel saying that she is ‘making a move’, but she instead expresses how hard it is to be proactive and stand out from the crowd – even if you no it’s the right thing to do. Get Well, is the second single from the album, and one of my favorite songs lyrically. The chorus, “I meant it when I said I wanna get well, I wanna get well. Are the rest of you so content? Stay where you are but it hurts like help”, will speak to those who are in pain, and desperately want to be happy and get better. However, the song also talks about just how hard it is to ‘get well’, after you’ve become used to the current state you’re in…
”…What did you expect, pretend it all away, And all we’ve got left is a sorry pile of hearts…” - Get Well
The Grey is one of two slow, ballad-like songs on the album. If I’m correct, it’s about being stuck in a ‘haze,’ and I’m guessing it’s a haze caused by depression. This version of The Grey is a bit different from the version they had previously released on an EP, but it’s still a great song. Off With Her Head was and is still one of my favorites on the album. I love Ariel’s vocals during the chorus, and as far as the meaning of the song goes, I think it’s about something along the lines of self-judgement and being overly self-critical. Again, I could be wrong, but with Ariel belting during the chorus “Don’t let go ’cause I don’t wanna be this, I don’t wanna be this” and “Your way of life has only showed me what a fool I am,” during the second verse, I think it’s safe to assume that it’s about looking at the world and lingering on everything you believe is wrong with yourself. Fight has a self-explanatory message, and features catchy verses and the headbang-inducing choruses that are present throughout the album. To put it simply, Fight is an anthem of survival, and just like the previous song, seems to be about the inner struggle of fighting against yourself during depression, or moments of emotional pain. Ariel reaffirms this in the chorus with the line, “How could I forget that I’m better than this?”.
Next is Up in Flames, a song that never seems to get old no matter how many times I listen to it. The verses are fast-paced, and the chorus is a power-pop dream that will have you on your feet, dancing. I listen to this album while working out, and Up In Flames is my favorite to listen to. I absolutely adore the next song, Iodine. Lyrically, this song is excellent. As far as I can tell, it’s about the experience of depression, and the desperation one experiences when they know they’re depressed. It’s about an addiction to pain, and the warmth one can feel from it. The lyrics are chilling, “Depression’s like a big fur coat, It’s made of dead things but it keeps me warm” but you can’t help but listen to it.
Only a Memory is the second rock-ballad on the album, and is another well-written song. From the title of the song, you’d think it’s about ‘a lost relationship’ or the pain of losing someone. What it’s really about, however, is what it’s like to have a negative relationship with your self. Ariel repeats through out the song “You’re only a memory, This isn’t my identity”. Though it is not my favorite song on the album, but I still enjoy listening to it when I’m in the mood for a good rock-ballad. The album ends with Pieces, a great wrap-up track for the already lyric-heavy album. Of all the songs, Pieces fits the them Scripted the best. It’s about trying to forget the past, but not taking the time to heal – essentially, leading a ‘scripted’ and dishonest life.
In conclusion, Scripted is not just strong musically, but lyrically as well. Some would say their sound is a mix of the popular female-fronted rock bands Flyleaf and Paramore, but Icon for Hire has a certain quality that makes them stand out from the crowd, and that is the undeniable honesty in their lyrics.
Note: I could be wrong about the meanings/messages behind some of the songs, but until the true stories behind each of the songs is confirmed, these are my personal interpretations of the music.