Should Have Stuck to the ‘Script’

Courtesy of Phonogenic

The Script’s newest album, “#3” is a strikingly misguided departure from their previous work. Despite this Irish trio’s affinity for dropping perfectly soaring pieces of pop rock, the group inexplicably strays into the realm of hip-hop on more than one occasion. I use the term hip-hop quite loosely here: Danny O’Donaghue’s rap skills pose no immediate threat of dethroning Drake or Kanye from their reign of rap anytime soon.

The album’s first single, “Hall of Fame,” gives listeners a hint of The Script’s new urban vibe with the help of Black Eyed Peas’ Will.I.Am. The pairing between O’Donaghue and Will.I.Am — the brainchild of their recent stint together as judges for “The Voice UK” — is about as awkward as you may expect. Among the suggestions: “Be believers / be leaders / be astronauts / be champions.” (Astronauts … really?) The lyrics sit uncomfortably throughout — a blight that plagues the album almost in its entirety.

Lists don’t typically make for outstanding choruses and this is no exception; though, true to Scriptian form, the lyrics capture a certain essence of heartbreak, especially in steps one through three: “First, you think the worst is a broken heart / what’s gonna kill you is the second part / and the third is when your world splits down the middle.” Phase two is apparently a fatal mystery, but three is what really tugs at the heartstrings.

One moment in which the rapping actually sits somewhat comfortably is in “If You Could See Me Now,” an emotionally charged homage to the musicians’ departed parents. As a radio hit, this track would tank, but it feels so fiercely personal that it seems a privilege to listen to.

Despite the regrettable carnage I have just inflicted on this album, there are a few moments in which The Script we know and love shines — or rather flickers — through.

The standout track in the rubble of this album is the opener “Good Ol’ Days.” This song is a perfect blend of the old Script with the new — a seamless mix of O’Donaghue’s smooth voice and his new rap exploits — which, all lumbering awkwardness aside, possesses a certain Irish-accented charm.

That being said, a moment’s long reprise from the hit “For the First Time” in this track had me wishing that The Script had given us more from their good old days.

Rating: 2 out of 5