The Higher - On Fire (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Higher

On Fire (2007)


You heard it here first, folks: The world has a new worst band ever, and their name is the Higher. This fact may be obscured by Epitaph doublespeak in the same way real estate brokers use "cozy" and "as is" to mean "tiny" and "no give-backs," so I'll walk you through the language labyrinth:

Epitaph says: "Hear the new sound of emo, pop, and R&B colliding in a dance party explosion."

Read as: "Hear the sound of shit hitting the fan as punk is exploited to its furthest stretch since New Wave married MTV."

Epitaph says: "The Higher prove that dance beats are the new power chords."

Read as: "The Higher prove that metrosexual is the new dance beats."

It's hard to describe how bad the Higher actually is, but I would liken it to living confirmation that the only thing worse than Maroon 5 is a terrible emo knockoff. The music is beyond bland, exceeding to intolerable levels of cheesy, narcissistic pop. Other possible genres include AbercrombiexandxFitchxCore, White-Kid-Dance-Crap, and Girls Night Out.

The Higher has a knack for taking tough, badass titles like "Weapons Wired" and "Guts" and filling them with inarticulate gushing/complaining about females, the former song of which provides lyrics that are almost unbearable: "And it's so over barring [sic] as I watch her move so steady / But she won't let her body stop / No she won't let her body stop."

The band also somehow manages to surpass even self-indulgent creeps like Escape the Fate and Self Against City with some of the most shamelessly egotistical lyrics I've ever heard: "If you want to see a show / Come with me baby and I'll show you how I roll / […] / When you see me from across the room (hey girl!) / You know what to do / Can you get me in the mood? / I'll make you want this / And make you want it more / It keeps on sucking me / Sucking me in."

The final straw comes as Patrick Stump of the second worst band ever provides an eight-minute remix of "Pace Yourself," originally from the Higher's Histrionics. The result? Proof of why white guys should stay the hell away from attempting R&B.

Since Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion owns the Epitaph empire, I think it would be a good idea to start leasing out Bad Religion titles for his Epitaph bands. The Higher can be the first. Instead of On Fire, it should be called No Substance: For Real This Time.

Epitaph might have heard a ca-ching when they decided to put out On Fire, but I just hear terrible music. I don't always agree with my oft-harsh colleague Scott Heisel, but he said it best considering the Higher: "This band is 100% worthless," and I couldn't agree more.