Jordan Benjamin, known professionally as grandson, is an alternative artist. Popular for his blending of genres, the 25-year-old often features political issues in his songs. Considering this, it is no surprise that his new album, A Modern Tragedy vol.3 covers similar topics.
All five songs, excluding “Put Me Under”, contain explicit language. The language used limits the potential audience. Additionally, one should note that, despite the absence of curse words, “Put Me Under,” does include mention of drugs.
The album has two distinct genres, Rock and Dubstep. The different sounds of each genre creates an interesting separation within the album itself. Despite the division of genres, the album has a common overarching theme to it. Each song uses different methods to address it, with the basic message being that we, as a society, need to step up and create the change we wish to see. It also seems to say that, despite how bad things may seem now, we must exercise caution, lest the situation further devolve.
Some of the songs have very clear messages. The song, “Rock Bottom,” is an excellent example. The tone of it is very angry and somewhat remorseful, expressed through the lyrics and instruments. Alongside the heavy guitar and drums, one of the main lines of the chorus is, “Tell me, how did we get here?”. Unfortunately, some of the songs have more confusing messages, like “Destroy Me.” Based on the lyrics and instrumentals, it seems like a love song, and if so, it is out of place in the album.
While each of the songs are good on their own, there is a clash when one listens to the album as a whole. “Rock Bottom,” and “Oh No!!!” the first and second songs on the album, are full of harsh drums, guitar, and bass, whereas “Put Me Under,” the third song, is softer in all aspects, including the lyrics. Grandson should’ve made the transition smoother, but as it currently is, the switch is pretty harsh. Also confusing is the fact that after switching sounds for “Put Me Under,” and “Destroy Me,” the sound switches back into rock for the final song on the EP, “Die Young.”
There were a few flaws with the album, that, had they been a little smaller, would’ve been dismissable, but for now, are too large to ignore. Grandson is a great artist with a message that should be shared, but the language he uses restricts who will listen to it, not only with its level of explicitness but also in the level of political issues he addresses. Another issue is the genre imbalance. Rock and Dubstep are such different genres that it is more than a little shocking to go from one to the other. This makes it a bit of an odd choice, and it makes the album a bit difficult to listen to all at once. Despite its flaws, a modern tragedy vol.3 is a fairly good album.