After three years since their last album, Grammy nominated band RED releases “Rated R” as their eighth studio album. The follow-up to 2020s chart-topping “Declaration”, the first release on their own independent label the thought-provoking new album finds the band tackling several resonant and relevant topics while centering on the ideological and interpersonal divisions
On its eighth studio album Rated R REDs evocative artistry takes center stage by consistently fusing high-end instrumentation with challenging songwriting compelling performances and grippingly personal lyrics. The band tackles a number of important and timely issues on their thought-provoking new album while focusing on the ideological and interpersonal divisions conflicts and suffering of contemporary society.
The albums opening track Surrogates, that released before the album on August 4th, will also serve as the albums first music video drawing on the bands previous filmic endeavors and symbolizing how overwhelming the media can be with its negative news report noise.
Following listens always prioritize thematic content and Rated R finds itself covering a lot of the same ground that I have come to anticipate from a RED release. Whether it be exposing the hypocrisy of the wealthy and well-known with lyrics like,”The darkest sky is your paradise” “Faceless fame on a heap you reign”, and “You leave the hate but you still play the saint” or coping with internal conflict brought on by trauma recovery in “Your Devil is a Ghost.” Anthony Armstrong the songs primary author doesnt hold back when discussing these more sinister subjects but he also makes sure to emphasize the hope found in the One who has the power to forgive and mend the cracks inside of each of us. One of my favorite lines from the song “Tell me How to Say Goodbye” when lead singer Micheal Barnes is, “Peel away the shame so I, can tear apart my ribs to shed the dark, and let the sun inside tell me how to say goodbye, kiss away the stain of lies, tear apart my ribs so I, can let the sun inside.” The crosss redemptive power provides the remedy and a way to say goodbye to our old selves in this world of hurt shame and pain. This is the pinnacle of the hope found in Scripture. The songs “Our Time Will Come”, “Last Forever” and “Emergency” all contain hints of optimism similar to this. The songs in this collection are among Reds discographys most powerful and upbeat song collections.
RED finds themselves really hitting their stride by fusing the ferocity of “Declaration” with the moody atmosphere of “Beauty and Rage”. The big question that resides in any review especially when the band is a stalwart veteran in the Christian Rock industry such as RED, is how does this release stack up to their other work. A band with a renewed sense of mission and drive that even in and through human depravity and darkness there is a path to change and hope can be seen when the mix of in-your-face technical riffs passionate vocals and emotional lyrics are present throughout the entirety of the record. And even if they dont go overboard in expressing Who they have found hope in they still open the door to conversation which is sometimes the hardest barrier to overcome in our regular cross-cultural interactions. Be sure to give the album a listen for yourself, HERE on Spotify, but can also be found across other listening platforms. Check out their music video for “Surrogates” linked down below too!