LabelTooth And Nail
3. Make A Move
4. Get Well
5. The Grey
6. Off With Her Head
8. Up In Flames
10. Only A Memory
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The difficulty with evaluating a record like Scripted is to what degree can you suspend your genre prejudices and interact with the album on its own terms. For those of you who have read some of my reviews in the past, you know that this is not the sort of thing I usually enjoy. It’s an album with an alternative touch (is that a breakdown buried in “Make a Move?”), but one with its eyes on the radio nonetheless. But this is just the sort of record where I am challenged as a listener to engage and find things that I like, to not make blanket generalizations and to analyze to what degree Scripted succeeds in, or even transcends, its niche.
The cover art, lyrical conceits, album titles, et cetera point to a band that is infinitely more self-aware than most pop acts; vocalist/frontwoman Ariel is keenly aware of the role that is expected of her, and much like a Pink, she both trades on these expectations and vehemently denies them. Like some sort of ironic tug-of-war, I could spend the majority of the run-time trying to draw lines in the sand, which would be to miss the point, or I could acknowledge the self-awareness and admire how adeptly the band bandies it about, delivering pop hooks with a wink.
In this sense, the album is definitely a success. On musical counts, the requisite production and contemporary pop flavor are very much intact; this is a release aimed at a specific demographic, though, and I can’t escape the idea of the band as a pre-packaged product. Trading on convention can only get you so far before, returning to the Pink parallel, there is the inconvenient little fact that the music is almost exclusively locked on one goal.
In summation: the tiny rays of something deeper, the coy subversion of expectation, and Ariel’s pipes make Scripted a cut above the average pop rock record, but that it stubbornly refuses to break with the musical constraints prevents it from being much more.