Admittedly I hadn’t heard word one from MADAME MAYHEM until a short time ago. But when I was lucky enough to get my paws on her new album Ready For Me (out now, Headball Records) it was clear that I was missing out. This lady writes some foot-stompin’ rockers as well as slow tunes that show off her sensitive side and over the course of 13 songs she paints a picture that encompasses many different emotions. Overall the songs are well-written and catchy where they should be, and the fact she’s drop dead gorgeous certainly doesn’t hurt her. But this review will be all about the music, and nothing else. So let’s take a ride.
“War You Started” kicks off the album and it’s high energy. Right after this is “Wake Up (Enemy)” with this watery guitar intro that immediately grabbed my attention. It sounds so crystal clear that I had to go back to it several times. “Hurt Me” builds up slowly and reminded me a bit of HALESTORM, while “Innocent” steps into BREAKING BENJAMIN territory, arrangement-wise. Needless to say, this one was a favorite. “All Around the World”, according to MADAME herself, “is really about feeling like it’s you against the world, and racing against time. It’s about the pressures to succeed in such a short amount of time, people thinking they know best, and are only concerned about themselves.” It’s one of the more raw tracks in this collection as well.
“Number One”, if I’m interpreting the lyrics correctly, deals with people’s sense of entitlement, especially those millennials who grew up in and foster an environment of participation trophies and not having to try hard or work at anything. So obviously I loved it. “Stand Up” is the heaviest track on the disc, which also makes it one of the best. The riff is absolutely killer, and I can hear that New York take-no-shit attitude that I grew up around, and definitely have myself. A deceptive piano intro will have you thinking “Say Go” is a ballad, but during the choruses it moves in a more rocking direction. The contrast, that push and pull between verse and hook works well.
“Before You Burn” is interesting because once again, you have no idea where it’s going at first. I always find songs like this intriguing. And what we get is a slow burn that is very much a warning to the object of the lyrics. “Original” is a mid-tempo rocker that’s pretty good as well. Another standout right from jump was “So Wrong (Lay You to Rest)”, both musically and lyrically. It is evident that this girl has been through some trauma. Again, as she describes it, “It’s about some really dark messed up stuff I went through and the rage that was building inside me because of it – about laying to rest the stress I was having over the situation.” Powerful stuff, this one.
Closer and title track “Ready For Me” is a war cry that lets the world know that MADAME MAYHEM is coming, ready or not. It also features a ripping guitar solo. All in all Ready For Me is a very good, solid rock and roll album that anyone who appreciates honest, from the heart songwriting will appreciate. She is neither unafraid to bare her soul in her lyrics, nor is she unwilling to take us, the listeners, on a guided tour of some of the Hells she’s been through. And sometimes that is exactly the medicine we all need.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Ready For Me”, “Innocent”, “Number One”, “Stand Up”, “So Wrong (Lay You to Rest)”