Sometimes you have to hit bottom before you can rise high above your personal demons and inner struggles. Drug abuse and the effects it takes on one man and those around him is the main theme that drives The Awakening by P.O.D [Payable On Death].
The Awakening marks the official tenth studio release from P.O.D, also marking one of most thought provoking dark themes the band has ever done. What can be gained from this album that comprises of 10 tracks?
Answering the above question is simple. Listen to the album and carefully sift through the lyrics and instrument progressions and drops in harmony, melody, and depth of feeling.
The Awakening is a dark ride through one man’s journey of battling his inner demons and trying to overcome the problems that seem to be constantly stacking in his paranoia and anger that rise. While all of this is some pretty grim stuff, P.O.D have outdone themselves on the effect this story can take on the mind and soul.
Am I Awake – The dark and turbulent ride starts here as the album is off to a adventurous conceptual start of rocking proportions. Am I Awake features all the heavy melody and dark harmony we have come to know and love about P.O.D.
What that said, Am I Awake features a outro that introduces us to our protagonist on this journey as well as noting the start of his descent into rock bottom territory.
This Goes Out to You – Leading as the first single with an official music video, This Goes Out to You is stated by the band in several interviews as a song of thanks to their dynamic and ever evolving fan-base that continues to support them.
This song has all the appeal of Nu-metal roots and that rap rock style that gave P.O.D a unique foothold into the music industry, by far this will be a song to always return to if the whole story of this album is a bit heavy or just not your style.
Rise of Nwo – New world orders and paranoia of martial law drive the protagonist to the breaking point of ideals of fallen authorities and riots in streets. Clearly we aren’t at the climax of the protagonists inner battle.
P.O.D. has been a special band to me. Before my pre-teens Fundamental Elements of Southtown was an album that opened my eyes to a new level of music that can be thoughtful and fun to listen to. The Awakening ignites a feeling and different perspective the past few P.O.D albums have not. And I love that feeling.
Criminal Conversations – Featuring In This Moment frontlady Maria Brink, this song features as intro of our protagonist waking from his bad dream to call his love interest, who is married with children. It also reveals that drug use may be part of the protagonist’s inner struggle and reason for his paranoid delusions.
Maria’s vocals match Sonny’s with intensity and chemistry that makes you imagine this song as an issue both are facing while being with each other.
The paranoid delusions keep on rolling through as the protagonist is voiced as sensing impending doom in the next track Somebody’s Trying To Kill Me. This song is a bit slower and really bring forth the issue of drug abuse and the adverse effects it can cause on the psyche.
Get Down is a song that reveals the protagonist only worsening before he can get better as he commits a serious crime. P.O.D are always motivational and thoughtful in their works, this album as a whole may shake the foundations a bit on its theme but it brings the protagonist to a place of realization as the album follows on.
Speed Demon – Our protagonist at this point commits theft as he steals a car that “Has his name on it”. Once the intro is done a fast paced wide open song ensues as the band puts you in the driver’s seat of a fast car driving without a care of your surroundings but speeding right through traffic.
One of the more fun songs along with This Goes Out To You, Speed Demon can be separated from the darker themes of the other songs and filed under songs to play while you are driving your car 75-90 mph on the interstate. Or take all that lead foot syndrome to a proper race track? That would be the safer and wiser option I say.
Want It All – Taking all the previous song’s angering themes and darkness away into a morning after our protagonist is arrested and released from his joyride, the song creates a relaxing atmosphere and wonderment of life as the protagonist more than likely is contemplating his strange and crazy life.
Want It All is above all else my favorite song as it drives home the point we should all be thoughtful as to the mistakes we make and not want to repeat the things that hurt us and those around us who care.
Revolucion – Audio Samples of chaos and speeches of anarchy take all that calmness of the previous track away as our intermission from the aggression has ended. P.O.D bring those punk roots to the fore as Sonny’s fast talking vocals bring that Black Flag vibe out in the open as the boys on the instruments pound each section into a punk pace.
Revolucion tackles the more political and unrest of the world as a whole rather than just what the protagonist is frustrated by. The band in no way endorses negative protests or acts of violence to usher in change. This song is more of a war cry for those who take the non-violent and smart approaches to bring change.
The Awakening – The grand climax to an album of ups and downs and pulsing rhythms, The Awakening is the end of it all. The Protagonist has confronted his inner demons and approaches someone who was the catalyst to his problems.
Our protagonist is heard as he approaches his father and forgives him for the years of abuse and turmoil as he takes life back into his hands and embraces the strength needed to rise above all the oppression and damage received over a lifetime of hurt.
This is where we hit the true depth of P.O.D always remaining positive and giving the message of staying motivated to fight the obstacles life throws in front of us.
From the initial hitting of rock bottom to the anarchy war cry and into the conclusion of epiphanies and realization of changes needed to be made. The Awakening by P.O.D is a special concept of a heartbreaking and inspirational story of man’s struggle to sobriety and a better life.
Whether or not you can take that view from each and every song, that is up to you, but from my perspective this is a fantastic story needed for today’s current landscape of things.
This will bring the track by track analysis to conclusion as I have went way overtime just to share the inspiration and deep message in this album by one of my all-time favorite bands. Take a listen and find the motivation to share with others and to look into yourself to make this world a better place one soul at a time.
For more information on P.O.D, please visit the following Links:
Personal Favorite Tracks: While I usually put those here, every single song has a connecting theme and should be appreciated as a whole, not just the separate pieces.
Written by James West 8-26-2015