Album Review – The Ready Set – The Bad & The Better

Is your guilty pleasure technopop music that makes you dance like you’re learning how to fly? Then check out The Bad & The Better, the newest release of Jordan Witzigreuter (better known as The Ready Set). The album contains upbeat and often empowering songs that will most definitely take you “Higher.”

“Higher” is the first track on the album, and it starts off with a rhythmic acoustic guitar and Witzigreuter’s lyric packed vocals. By the time the chorus comes along, the track is rushing with Witzigreuter’s classic falsetto and The Ready Set’s dance sound established in the band’s previous five studio albums.

The Ready Set follows up “Higher” with a prominent bass-line and an infectious chorus in “Freakin Me Out.” The first line, “Hey, I’d like to stay a little longer, but I wouldn’t wanna come off like a hope-monger,” exemplifies Witzigreuter’s conversational lyrics, and the song’s syncopated synths and vocals create a groove that will have you moving for at least three minutes.

But one of the coolest tracks on the album is “Castaway.” The song stands out with its full chorus that builds to a crashing chant of “Everyone is a castaway.” The instrumentation of the song swells and ebbs, embodying an ocean-like quality, and the lyrics talk about how everyone is a castaway if they don’t have the support of others. The bridge of the song features a rap by Jake Miller talking about the importance of staying together, and the rap closes with, “When the water gets rough and you’re fed up / just stay strong, keep your head up / if you start to fall remember that we’ll always be here to help you get up / cause we are castaways.” Definitely one of the more powerful cuts on the album.

If you’ve been following The Ready Set, you’ve been listening to “Give Me Your Hand (Best Song Ever)” since it was released as a single in 2012. The Bad & The Better features the pop song as its eleventh track, followed by “For The Better,” a song that Witzigreuter calls a tribute to Taylor Swift. “For The Better” is a commentary on Swift’s breakup with Harry Styles, and its chorus takes the melody of Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

Each track on the album has a unique sound and message; just listen to “Fangz.” The song offers a dubstep drop behind Witzigreuter’s vocals with the line “Take what’s yours, and let em see your fangs.” The song is then followed by “Carry Me Home,” which brings back the pop-driven chorus and the playful lyrics that have become The Ready Set’s signature. But the album as a whole is held together by its effective combination of rhythm, attitude, and Witzigreuter’s hooky and well-thought-out songs. Listening to The Bad & The Better is time well spent, but if you’re looking for “the better,” check out The Ready Set live as they headline the Vans Warped Tour this summer.

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