Radke’s revamp has no teeth

Chronicle columnist and emo music connoisseur, Shaun McLeod thinks Falling in Reverse missed the mark revamping "I'm Not a Vampire". Photo credit: Shaun McLeod

The latest offering from Falling in Reverse and frontman Ronnie Radke, “I’m Not a Vampire (Revamped)”, twists a classic emo song from their 2011 debut album The Drug In Me Is You into an operatic ballad.

The song follows the same format of the reimagined version of “The Drug In Me Is You” from 2020, but fails to reach the same highs as the original.

While “The Drug In Me Is You (Reimagined)” was an almost perfect update to the song, putting its lyrics in a new light behind Radke’s softer vocals and piano arrangement, “I’m Not A Vampire (Revamped)”’s lyrics don’t hold up under the new theme of ­literally being a vampire.

The lyrics: “Hi my name is Ronnie, I’m an addict. Daddy should have never raised me on Black Sabbath,” work in the original version of the song because it’s a reflection of what Radke was dealing with in 2011, and it fits the playful nature of the song, but the delivery of the line feels dated in the new vampiric setting.

There is some redemption for the song in Radke’s vocals regardless of what he’s saying. Over the last five years, Radke has proved that he has the ability to blend into genres that most emo singers could only dream of and his vocal range is on full display here. From soft verses to screaming bridges, Radke never seems out of his element.

The skill it took to put together this arrangement is obvious, every harmony and guitar solo makes its way to the piano and strings without missing a beat, it’s just hard to shake the cheesiness of the song, and this stands out even further on repeated listens.

In a time when emo music, including the 2011 version of “I’m Not a Vampire”, is romanticized by Gen Z on TikTok, it would have been easy for Radke to play it safe and find success in releasing music that fits that mold, but Radke isn’t afraid of taking musical risks, even if they occasionally miss the mark.

“I’m Not a Vampire (Revamped)” shows the limitations of Radke’s early song writing, while showcasing his musical talent at the same time but it never comes together to form a coherent package.

Sometimes classics are better left untouched.

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