Album Review: WHYDFML – badXchannels

With this piece, I wanted to move to an album review and because I haven’t written one of these in quite a while, this album review will actually be for a five-song EP that was recently released. Today, I introduce you to yet another aspect of Craig Owens’ musical career (Chiodos, D.R.U.G.S.) under his new moniker “badXchannels” with his debut EP WHYDFML (What Have You Done For Me Lately).

Owens has given his fans music spanning from post-hardcore, to acoustic, to even grindcore (see Bea5t). And with his new project he explores another genre that is familiar to a few other vocalists in the alternative scene; R&B/Soul. This genre has been attempted by vocalists Tyler Carter (Issues, ex-Woe, Is Me) and Jonny Craig (ex-Emarosa, Slaves) with fairly successful results…but this EP? I think this is the best attempt yet.

The EP opens up with the first single released titled One Car Funeral, my personal favorite on the EP. This track opens up almost with a feeling that Owens is comfortable in this new persona and he’s not afraid to let you know who he is now, through heavy bass drops accompanied with those familiar soaring choruses (with a little more edge this time), and lyrics that are unforgiving to whoever this song may be about…I definitely wouldn’t want to be the victim of these lyrics.

The EP then moves into You Know I Will, which gave me a Justin Timberlake vibe (you know, the new Justin Timberlake music that’s actually good), with Owens stealing the show early with his delicately melodic vocals over instrumentals that are leading to an impressive chorus. The whole song ebbs and flows together and feels as though every aspect of this track moves in unity in a very fluid motion.

Speaking of Tyler Carter, the charismatic frontman features on this EP on the track Complicated. The most mellow track on the EP, this track further exemplifies the many songwriting talents that Owens possesses, and once again, features a very fluid motion between the soft and slow instrumentals and the vocals of both Carter and Owens, who complement each other very well. Lyrically, we see the Owens exploring some suggestive lyrical content with this newfound persona (I wanna be the Mozart in your sheets/Conduct a symphony that makes you scream/But you should know that this will never end well). 

As much as I’m going to miss Chiodos, I honestly feel that this new musical direction is working for Owens, who claims he would like to continue this for as long as he can and maybe make a few albums with this. Owens even recently had experience working with Dr. Dre, being featured on Dre’s most recent album entitled Compton, which could have had some influence on this new direction. Keep it up, Craig…you’ve shown the world that you can do no wrong. Let’s see what you can make of this.

badXchannels released their debut EP on Nov. 18, 2016 via Sharptone Records


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Twitter: @kodyferrin

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