Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Track by Track Review: Diamante’s ‘American Dream’

Diamante has been making a name for herself in rock since 2015 when she was just a teenager, with her first EP Dirty Blonde released when she was only 18. The success of her 2018 debut album Coming in Hot, led by singles “Haunted” and “Hear Me Now,” landed her an opening act gig with Breaking Benjamin and performances with Three Days Grace, Chevelle, and Shinedown among many others.

Her latest album American Dream is her first since parting ways with Better Noise Music and becoming an independent artist. Co-produced by the Judge & Jury team of Neil Sanderson (Three Days Grace) and legendary rock producer Howard Benson (Halestorm, My Chemical Romance, The All-American Rejects), it is a loud announcement to the world that the 24-year-old is here to take over rock music. From the taunting “I Love Myself For Hating You” to the emotional “Unlovable,” this album shows off Diamante’s range and ability to combine great songwriting with powerful vocals. Every song is a gem, which is why we’re reviewing the album track by track.

American Dream

“American Dream” is a catchy song that sets the perfect tone for the rest of the album. It has a sexy hook that immediately makes the listener pay attention. The lyrics show off Diamante’s writing ability, with multiple references to rose neck tattoos and “nicotine and palm trees.” It’s a fun song that promises the listener that the rest of the album will be just as good as the opener.

Ghost Myself

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One of Diamante’s defining vocal traits is her ability to growl lyrics without resorting to screaming, and “Ghost Myself” is a prime example of her prowess as a performer. The chorus is angry, and her gravelly delivery makes you feel that rage. The lyrics match the performance, with stunners like “‘Cause I’m haunted by a shadow that I can’t escape/See it in the mirror right behind my face/I could build a fire and burn down my life.” Add this song to your “I’m mad at the world” playlist and scream along on your bad days.

Serves You Right

Whoever inspired “Serves You Right” should be scared, because this song proves revenge is a dish best served cold. Instead of the almost-screaming delivery of “Ghost Myself,” “Serves You Right” is delivered in a matter of fact tone, as if the singer is just sitting back and watching her evil ex burn. Diamante’s lyrics again get the point across directly and perfectly: “If they find out you’re the villain, so what?/Serves you right/Serves you right/You only play the hero for the attention/’Cause it serves you, right?” This song deserves to be screamed by the audience at a concert when concerts return.

Obvious

The tone of “Obvious” is much darker than the previous singles, and the song leans more towards a hard rock vibe that calls to mind songs like “Diary of Jane” by Breaking Benjamin or “Going Under” by Evanescence. Diamante’s vocals clearly show the pain of the situation described in the song, in which the singer watches her partner fall in love with someone else while the partner refuses to acknowledge that it’s happening. “Obvious” is the best song on American Dream and proves that Diamante has the chops to be the leader of the pack of the new hard rock bands and singers making their debut in the last several years.

Unlovable

In another tone shift, “Unlovable” is an introspective ballad about trying to find the reason why a relationship has ended when the problem seems to be you. Diamante’s voice takes the lead here, and it showcases the touching lyrics well. When she sings “Is there anyone left to believe?/Is there any good still left in me?/I keep slipping further underneath/I just want a love that never leaves,” you believe in the pain she’s feeling.

Wake Up Call

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“Wake Up Call” is a song for anyone who’s ever left a terrible relationship just to thrive on the other side while the other party watches. The protagonist of this song has moved on and she makes that clear, from promising that “I could hurt you like you hurt me” but “it’s not worth the energy” to teasing “Bet you hate that I don’t even need you.” The vocals are lighter, and Diamante infuses a free attitude throughout.

Unf**k You

This one is just pure fun. From the unique musicality to the great guitar hook (not to mention Diamante’s gravelly delivery making its appearance again), “Unf**k You” is a taunting, sexy anthem that should be played on full blast for maximum effect. Will it annoy your neighbors? Maybe. Will it be worth it? Oh yes.

I Love Myself for Hating You

“I Love Myself for Hating You” is a great song that deliberately pays tribute to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ “I Hate Myself for Loving You.” Built perfectly for live performances, this single is destined to be memorable. Unlike its inspiration, “I Love Myself For Hating You” takes the view of someone who is proud to have finally recognized that their former flame is actually a terrible person who didn’t deserve them rather than someone who still loves their ex despite their behavior. As Diamante says, “forever your loss.”

Iris (featuring Breaking Benjamin)

“Iris” is one of the most easily recognizable songs from the early 2000s. Covers of the classic hit by the Goo Goo Dolls are ubiquitous in many different genres. The song has been featured in so many movies and television shows, it can sometimes lose its impact. This particular cover is so good, it puts all the others to shame and reminds listeners why the original is as popular as it remains. Sung as a duet between Diamante and Breaking Benjamin’s lead singer Ben Burnley, “Iris” reclaims the song’s rock roots while adding an edge of pain and punk.

Hopeless

If Taylor Swift decided to embrace hard rock, she’d write “Hopeless.” “Hopeless” shows the moment a cynic falls in love and leaves behind their preconceived ideas of what a relationship could be, and it’s a beautifully written song. The specific imagery presented paints a picture for the listener, like this lyric about learning to trust: “Rain pouring from the sky/Sharе cigarettes inside/You takе a drag and say you’ve always wanted this/So why the hell do I keep trying to resist?”

Obvious (Acoustic Version)

The acoustic version of “Obvious” puts the focus on Diamante’s voice rather than the production, which shows how versatile a song it truly is. It functions as an acoustic ballad or a hard rock rager, and including this as the final track proves once again how well rounded and dynamic Diamante is as a performer.

American Dream is out now wherever you get your music. For more on Diamante, you can head to her official website.

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Jules
I am a nurse and dedicated nerd from Boston, MA. When I'm not at work, I'm rewatching old favorites like Supernatural or discovering my new obsessions (too many to count!). When not fangirling, I can be found reading, writing, or listening to a true crime podcast. You can find me on Twitter @juleswritesblog for more nerdy nonsense.

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