The Forces of Evil - Friend or Foe? (Cover Artwork)

The Forces of Evil

The Forces of Evil: Friend or Foe?Friend or Foe? (2003)
Sony Music

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It just came to me. The Forces of Evil are fucking genius in their intentions. They are trying to appeal to a younger crowd using a pretty eye-rolling gimmick that has the band's surname simply "Evil," overly simplistic, purposely immature, pointlessly vulgar lyrics, and cartoon-drawn animals be.
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It just came to me. The Forces of Evil are fucking genius in their intentions.

They are trying to appeal to a younger crowd using a pretty eye-rolling gimmick that has the band's surname simply "Evil," overly simplistic, purposely immature, pointlessly vulgar lyrics, and cartoon-drawn animals being depicted on the liner notes in violent fashion (done by the Rock and Roll Villain) that asks "Just how much crack were you smoking?" But why, oh why, are these ex-members of Jeffries Fan Club and vocalist Aaron Barrett from Reel Big Fish shooting for the same demographic already being cock-slapped by numerous pop-punk bands at the moment? Answer: this particular market is too young to remember the revived period last decade when RBF themselves garnered fame with "Sell Out," and other bands like Less than Jake and Save Ferris flourished in the mainstream. So why not make an attempt at starting yet another wave?

Well, maybe because the formula is a little too ridiculous in some scenarios. They cover Van Halen's "Dance the Night Away" for chrissake, not to mention Suburban Rhythm's "Go to Hell" with enough bells and whistles to sedate even the most sagacious of cover-song disparagers. As is with RBF, we also, of course, have to have the "song with the cheesy girl vocals song," here it being "Independent."

Hell, the band themselves realize the silliness of this whole side project, with self-mocking lyrics like the part in "My Life" when Aaron sings, "I know you shouldn't rhyme shit with shit, but this is my song I'm gonna sing it how I want to sing it," though the song includes some nice-yet-underused rising vocal harmony overlapping. Some chorus excerpts read as follows:

This is the worst day of my life ("Worst Day")
I think we made a mistake but it's all right, I didn't like you that much anyway ("Mistake")
Maybe it's all right and I'm the one that's wrong, maybe if I die this sadness will be gone ("Maybe I'm Wrong")
She's independent, trys not to let it show, independent I hate that stupid ho ("Independent")

The music is competent itself, but blatantly derivative of the most poppy, straightforward RBF moments. Think Why Do They Rock So Hard? without any of the rap and reggae that occasionally surfaced, but then melded together with the mostly-mid tempo pace of Cheer Up!.

On the plus side, the musicianship itself is tight, and the horns are not only used plenty more than the fair share of proposed ska major-label releases we've seen lately, but are actually audible in the mixing levels.

"Fight" takes a swipe on the what's currently labeled the "emo" scene, asking "Whatever happened to the bands that make you dance and laugh so hard you nearly wet your pants? They want to be emotional and that's so boring, take out the fun and we're left snoring." At least the Orange County crew is definitely making an attempt to infiltrate the mainstream back with its horns cocked and ready to fire, regardless of the way this attack is planned.

Whether or not this will hit with the right promotion and single is the big question that hovers in the air.


People who liked this also liked:
Less Than Jake - Hello RockviewRancid - ... And Out Come The WolvesOperation Ivy - Operation IvyLess Than Jake - Losing StreakNOFX - So Long and Thanks for All thePropagandhi - Less Talk, More RockNOFX - The War on ErrorismLess Than Jake - AnthemAnti-Flag - The Terror StateFifteen - Lucky

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (November 24, 2005)

got milk ? :-) http://www.trinitytc.com/888/casino-directory-2005.html

Sellout05 (July 28, 2004)

This record sounds like what should have been the bridge between RBF's "Turn the Radio Off" and "Cheer Up!" (Not to bash "Why do they Rock So Hard?" in any way) It's got the horns of "Turn the Radio off" and the ska riffs that i'm sure other RBF fans miss, but they also have some of the rock vibe given off of "Cheer Up!" The lyrics are very immature but you've come to expect that from Aaron. Great songs on this record that stand out (obviously) "Angry Anthem" "Fight" and "Dance the Night Away" Wish they would tour outside California. Overall a must-have for any RBF or JFC fan.

Music is life, live a fun one, listen to SKA!

Anonymous (December 13, 2003)

Some teenage girls at my work were all taking endlessly about these guys today...lame.

inagreendase (December 11, 2003)

I know Reel Big Fish don't exactly write Shakespearean sonnets but I still thought it was worth mentioning how weak they were.

Anonymous (December 11, 2003)

"haha dose animals looke just like Jo Strumer! he suked!"

umm... oh.. yeah.. ummm.. are you serious, i mean you can't even spell Joe Strummer correctly! umm.. oh.. what's wrong with you? That's pathetic.

happy now? douche.

Anonymous (December 11, 2003)

"I like how people pretend to know the Bee Gees."

...and why would anyone want to pretend to know the Bee Gees...?

and on the review, the review would've been more convincing if there weren't so many lyrical references. Aside from a few bands (and this band is not one of them), ska lyrics are fucking pitiful. it's more about the music rather than the message

Anonymous (December 11, 2003)

haha dose animals looke just like Jo Strumer! he suked!


Anonymous (December 10, 2003)

you can't come inside when do the citizens kneel for sex it's heaven cumming on her chest hollywood babylon

ZLNFTOC (December 10, 2003)

I would just die if Aaron ever covered xDxIx's "O.C. Life" and changed the chorus to "O.C. ska is just the type for me! Silly little horns! And happy little riffs for me!"

Anonymous (December 10, 2003)

This record isnt about FoE and Aaron Barrett blowing up. Its about having fun, and trying to save the OC Ska scene.

"I like the old ska scene. I miss it and I want to bring it back," says Aaron
-from the FoE website.

This is probably the 2nd best ska CD of the year, after Streetlight Manifesto.

tzilla69 (December 10, 2003)

This endeavor can not be compared to "Turn the Radio Off" or even "Why Do They Rock So Hard?". Both albums were fucking rocko tits and had much better music on them. Maybe, just maybe, the lead singer Aaron Barret realized he destroyed Reel Big Fish with "Cheer Up" and is trying to ear fuck his way back onto the radio. We all miss the 3rd wave of ska, and now that the Bosstones are on "hiatus", there isn't going to be much left.

Anonymous (December 10, 2003)

"jessica simpson's in? shes hot"

and stupid as fuck

Jon_the_Skafather (December 9, 2003)

"but the cd cover sucks,especially considering their on a major label and should have money for some good art."

the cd was originally released by aaron on his label piss-off records...the lable that originally did everything sucks. the artwork was all done by aaron. the album was done before it was released on a major label...it was released by a major for distro...not produced with major label money.

thriceequalsgod (December 9, 2003)

superdude, i love the change up.

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

i have this bands ep, and i like it. just good ole fun ska.

but the cd cover sucks,especially considering their on a major label and should have money for some good art.

superdude (December 9, 2003)

Dear The Forces of Evil,

How's it going anyways?

Man, how did you guys get that pig to stand on a turtle without falling? That must be a smart pig, or a dead turtle.

So here's the deal. I bought this album and accidently brought it to a PETA party, and when it fell out of my pocket, all these hippies saw it and got mad at me for promoting animal cruelty.

They took it.

What should I do?

Worried in Canada,

GregSka (December 9, 2003)

Can this really be a conspiracy to start a 14 year old ska revival? I refuse to believe I would buy into something that obvious! Anyways, I'm going back to playing Mary-Kate and Ashley: Licensed to Drive because you guys are so yesterday.

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

"98 poopy and retarded"
is that the group that the husband of jessica simpson's in? shes hot.

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

To me ska bands were the Simple PLans of 98 poopy and retarded

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

Ska music is so corny

"Whatever happened to the bands that make you dance and laugh so hard you nearly wet your pants? They want to be emotional and that's so boring, take out the fun and we're left snoring."

thats the worst attempt at an insult ever

Imposs1ble (December 9, 2003)

I like how people pretend to know the Bee Gees. Admit that you know "Stayin' Alive," and that's about it. The Bee Gees best stuff isn't that disco crap, it's the stuff that can be found on "The Best of the Bee Gees." I recommend you check it out.

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

No monkeys are just plain evil. They're fucking scary as is - they don't need a weapon. Those eyes...

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

ok, the bunny will stab you, the pig'll shoot you, the turtle will bite you, but what the fuck is the monkey gonna do. Eat a banana? That is either the stupidest or most diabolical monkey ever.

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

I was in high school when RBF blew up with "sellout" and Forces Of Evil is just as fun and addictive as the ska-punk of back in the day. I listen to this album almost daily and i've had it since it came out. Fucking awesome.

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

If I knew animals that looked like that, I'd run away.

skankin_in_the_pit (December 9, 2003)

These guys put on a good show, but this record just isn't very good. I'll be surprised if this band blows up.

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

i think the kid below me doesn't have any idea where he's talking about.
get yourself some help kid. instead of
making a fool out of yourself.

haven't heard this.
i'll probably have soulseek work that out for me.

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

Ok .. let me get this straight, Reel Big Fish had a song called Baseketball!?! You're a bloody moron, first off it was Take On Me.. Secondly IT WASN'T EVEN THEIR OWN SONG TO BEGIN WITH!So before trying to pawn them off as some great cultural icon like the Bee Gees get you're facts straight, otherwise you'll be proven as a moron. Case and point!

inagreendase (December 9, 2003)

Actually, one of the bus drivers here has NPR on whenever he does his routes, so I do usually get in a few minutes of it a day. Good stuff.

-InaGreendase (wasn't having a bad day, just think the CD's too corny)

ZLNFTOC (December 9, 2003)

About two days after "Cheer Up", I asked a friend, "So, you heard the new RBF yet?" His reply, "No, the stores didn't have it." Me, "Yeah, it's really weird because they don't really curse anymore." Sounds like Aaron might go back to Everything Sucks-era RBF angst after all. And the more I think about it, the more I think that RBF are kind of like the Bee Gees of the 90's ska revival only less, er, happy. "Sellout" was their "Stayin' Alive" and "Baseketball" was their "Saturday Night Fever."

NoUse (December 9, 2003)

I've listened to one of their songs on the "Still Standing Ska Comp" and it is pretty good stuff.. def. comparable to RBF.

Jon_the_Skafather (December 9, 2003)

i think the review was approached from a rather jaded point of view but at least it wasn't some pre-judged review...just one approached with a really bad attitude. did you have a bad day when you wrote this? maybe too much something corporate on the radio? listen to npr, it'll make your days much better.

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

This album is fucking great. Its addictive as hell. This review was pretty shitty though.

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

I dig this band.

You have a cute vocabulary Brian.

- Scott

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

I'd be too ashamed to buy that just because of the cover.

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