Icon For Hire – Icon For Hire (Review)

Icon For Hire – Icon For Hire (Review)


Tooth & Nail Records

Released: October 15, 2013

Reviewed by: Micah Garnett

Just two years ago Icon For Hire burst onto the music scene with Tooth & Nail Record’s highest debut album to date. Two years later, they’re back with a self-titled album.

Icon For Hire is far from being Scripted (part two). The lyrical themes are the same, but the music has evolved. This album takes the best features from Scripted and improves upon them substantially. You’d be hard-pressed to find a track that doesn’t include heavy electronic or hip-hop elements. This may be polarizing to some, but the band pulls it off. Ariel’s rapping is one of the highlights of the album, and it’s exciting to hear her raps overlaid to killer rock beats.
The optimism found in Scripted is almost completely gone. This is a much darker album than their debut. Most of this stems from Ariel’s brutally honest lyrics. She’s not afraid to call anyone and anything out, from confronting a selfish victim mentality, to digs at our society’s obsession with pop culture. The song “Rock and Roll Thugs” might be the darkest, most introspective song on the album, as Ariel sings about the pain of growing up in a household where rock music was frowned upon.

“You never did approve of the fix I found. Bury all the records in the backyard. When you’re not looking I’ll go dig them back up. You can bury my body in the backyard. When you’re not looking, I’ll go dig myself up.”

It’s clear Icon For Hire took some major risks on their sophomore effort, and they’ve developed a sound that works for them. “Sugar and Spice”, “Hope of Morning”, and “Watch Me” can best be described as three minute epics. “Pop Culture” and “Nerves” both boast enormous hooks, and are two of the catchiest songs on the album. The biggest surprise is the incredible “Think I’m Sick” which is straight up hip-hop, further proving that Ariel is a talented rapper and lyricist. However, “Watch Me” could be controversial to some, with the lyric “I’m calling it, you’re full of sh…”.

Overall, Icon For Hire is a great second effort for the band. Everything about the album shows the maturity a couple years has brought to the band. Icon For Hire isn’t as easily accessible as Scripted, but it should grow on you. This is one of the best rock albums of the year.

Grade: 4/5

Tracklisting:

  1. Cynics & Critics
  2. Nerves
  3. Sugar & Spice
  4. Hope of Morning
  5. Sorry About Your Parents
  6. Pop Culture
  7. Watch Me
  8. Slow Down
  9. Rock and Roll Thugs
  10. Think I’m Sick
  11. Fix Me
  12. Counting on Hearts



About Micah Garnett

Micah Garnett is from Goshen, Indiana and is a reviewer for Christian Music Zine. He is an avid fan of hip/hop and rock music. Some of his favorite artists include Icon For Hire, Skillet, Flyleaf, RED, Lecrae and Andy Mineo. He is currently studying Music Business at Visible Music College in Memphis, Tennessee. More Posts

3 Comments to “Icon For Hire – Icon For Hire (Review)”

  1. No offense intended to anyone or to the band if I’m wrong, but why is this band being blogged here? I don’t think they’re really considered part of the Christian music scene (the blog is title christianmusic-zine, after all…)

    • Simple answer – They’re Christians. Same reason radio stations like RadioU cover them.

    • Jared Heersema // November 5, 2013 at 3:04 pm // Reply

      Icon for Hire is not considered a Christian band by the strictest definition, but they did play at the Ichthus Music Festival in 2012, which is a Christian music festival. The members are Christian, but their lyrical content is not limited to specifically Christian subjects. Aside from the “artistic license,” which I support, in the “full of shh” line, the lyrics are squeaky clean, if a bit brutally honest. They are Christians in a rock band. They appeal to Christians and non-Christians alike. The fact that the music is “safe” for Christian audiences is, to me, reason enough to call their music (in the context of this blog) “Rock for Christians,” without being “Christian Rock.” There is definite Christian hope in these lyrics.

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