Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is a unique band. I was first introduced to them with one of their hits “Your Guardian Angel” and quickly became a fan. I thoroughly enjoyed Don’t You Fake It when it came onto my radar. Years later, for me, the album holds up. After this initial success, I felt the band faded a little. However, this past spring the band released The Awakening, which I feel is on par with their debut album.
The Awakening was released March 30th, and I didn’t hear about it until the middle of August. This is unfortunate because the album is a fun ride. As always, there is a deeper meaning to the lyrics and songs Red Jumpsuit Apparatus produces. I find this very appealing, as it essentially doubles the content on the record. You can listen to albums like this twice and get a totally different message and batch of emotions each time. Even without diving into the subtext, The Awakening is enjoyable, especially for fans of Don’t You Fake It.
The Awakening is not a sequel to Don’t You Fake it. I’ve always classified Don’t You Fake It as an alternative rock album slathered in emo themes. To me, The Awakening is a straight rock album.
All of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’ music is overshadowed by Christian themes. You certainly do not have to be a member of the Christian community to appreciate their lyrics. I’ve found many of their songs are written to have a double meaning. This is especially true with The Awakening.
The Awakening is a concept album. The story isn’t in your face and obvious, unless you listen to the songs as a whole. Each song is like an episode in a TV show, they advance the story and offer a little more information about the protagonist and their adventure. The story, as I understand it, is rather simple. The main character goes on a journey, as the chorus of the opening track goes, to: “Hope against all hope, That I’ll find love somewhere out there”. Soon after the album begins, they reach a point where they are too broken to carry on, they call out for help and someone comes into their life “like a shooting star”. Eventually, as the album comes to a close, the main character is rescued and restored, despite their constant failure.
Musically, The Awakening isn’t anything crazy or new. However, the attitude behind the music is refreshing. It has a raw edge, like Don’t You Fake It, though this passion is controlled. This is a sign of the band’s maturity and experience.
Songs Worth Investigating
I found the opening track, “Fight Everything” fun and exciting. It’s loaded with thrilling little hooks and fills that announce the band’s return to mainstream rock. And, this song sets up the album. It launches the protagonist’s quest to “find love somewhere out there”.
The closing track, “Unfinished Business” is another good tune. It serves as a good ending point, wrapped in the alluring coat of an emo-ballad. If this song were taken out of the album and played on its own, it would have a brilliant message that everyone can relate to: I messed up somethings in my life, but I’m still trying.
“Saul to Paul” is one of the more obvious “Christian” songs on the album. But, this does not make it a bad song or one that only Christians can appreciate. This song, like many Christian rock songs, can be taken as part of a conversation between a couple that is utterly in love: “I blamed it all on you, I was just hiding from the truth, And still you loved me”.