Awake or Comatose re-packaged? | Posted September 16, 2009
Comatose was huge. Almost as huge as it was unnecessary to tell you how huge Skillet’s 2006 smash CD was. Throughout the band’s thirteen year career Skillet never came as close to success they enjoyed Comatose with any other album, despite tinkering with hardcore and techno-rock. So why depart from the hard rock/rising rock/inspirational ballad approach style that made Skillet’s album Awake so anticipated? Well there really isn’t a reason other than to please some fans which are constantly craving for ongoing development and musical progression. So Skillet decision to stay with Comatoses’ formula to the letter should provoke a change of title. How about Comatose 2 or Comatose: the Sequel. Or perhaps the most telling title of all: Comatose: the expanded edition.
The comparisons from Comatose to Awake are so deep that the words ‘innovation’ and ‘original’ have no place anywhere near Awake. Setting aside the sound for a minute even Awake’s track listing is unbelievably close to that of it’s processor. Both share two grueling rock songs to begin the album and their even share of ballads to go along with a punk-wanna-be song (“Should’ve When You Could’ve”) at the same place as “Those Nights” on Comatose. On difference though is Comatose ended the CD with the epic rock song “Looking For Angels” which closes out the album far better Awake’s ending ballad, “Lucy.”
The album does kick off well though with “Hero” which features a great electric guitar played throughout which counteracts new drummer, Jen Ledger’s, over-hyped vocals. The album then proceeds to the monster rock song “Monster” which delivers an unoriginal, but great hard rock tune which matches lead singer John Cooper’s vocals brilliantly. And then the album just rolls on in the typical Comatose fashion with the only difference being that this album was named Awake. “Don’t Say Goodbye” shows up in the form of “One Day Too Late” while the technical title track (the melodic “Awake And “Alive”) is reminiscent of Comatose’s flowing title rock track. The production and showmanship of Awake might be overall better than Comatose but it’s no doubt that musically Skillet’s original template is far superior.
One aspect about Skillet that worked was the carryover picture of sleeping (Comatose) to suddenly waking up (Awake). However, lyrically Skillet wasn’t that clever. Skillet’s “Hero” really doesn’t offer much of an original concept the title track won’t wow any listener with ‘I can feel you in my sleep/In your arms I feel you breathe into me/Forever hold this heart that I will give to you/Forever I will live for you’. Even it feels as though “One Day Too Late” has only been recycled a dozen or so times over the years, the spin Skillet took on forgiveness on “Forgiven” was solid. One positive element of the lyrics on Awake was that despite Skillet’s Mainstream success and their management balking out of performing at a Church, the band has stayed true to their Christian roots and values.
Putting Awake in the simplest of terms would be something like this ‘Alien Youth and repeat were in a boat; repeat jumped off. Who was left? Collide and repeat were in a boat; repeat jumped off. Who was left? Comatose and repeat were in a boat; Comatose, the successful giant, jumped off. Who was left?'. It’s not hard to fault Skillet’s decision to run with the exact formula with Awake as they used on Comatose but at the end of the day the album really has the reply value of Comatose Deluxe Edition. That being said Skillet’s refined rock act is still one of the best in the business