|Studio album by Icon for Hire|
|Released||August 23, 2011|
|Recorded||September–December 2010, Nashville and Seattle|
|Genre||Alternative metal, hard rock, electronic rock, pop punk|
|Label||Tooth & Nail|
|Icon for Hire chronology|
|Singles from Scripted|
Scripted is the debut studio album by American rock band Icon for Hire. It was released on Tooth & Nail Records on August 23, 2011, and went on to break the label's new artist record for albums sold during the first week of release.
This is the band's first label release; they had released two EPs prior to being signed, Icon for Hire EP (2008) and The Grey EP (2009). Three songs from those recordings reappear here with altered arrangements and lyrics: "Off with Her Head", "The Grey", and "Only a Memory" (originally called "Pernilla"). This is also the band's first recording without original bassist Joshua Davis; Josh Kincheloe would be brought in to replace him in 2011.
Recording and production
The album was recorded during the last quarter of 2010 and was co-produced by Rob Hawkins and Aaron Sprinkle. Recording was done in two parts: first with Hawkins in Nashville, then with Sprinkle in Seattle. Frontwoman Ariel commented on working with the two: "Their work selves could not have been more opposite. We worked with Rob first and it was like go, go, go from nine to five everyday solid and [then] we get to Aaron. He was just like so chilled. Just hanging out. He’s like, 'We’ll get to it when we get to it.' So, it was a lot of adjusting to the two extremes of work styles."
Release and promotion
"Make a Move" and "Get Well" were both released as singles (the former as a lead single) and both had music videos made for them. "Make a Move" gained popularity on RadioU and its video premiered as an exclusive on Guitar World's website on August 15, 2011.
|The Christian Manifesto|||
|Christian Music Zine|||
|Indie Vision Music|||
|Jesus Freak Hideout||
|Louder Than the Music|||
|New Release Tuesday|||
|The Phantom Tollbooth|||
The album received mostly positive reviews from the critics. The album received two four-and-a-half-star ratings from About.com and New Release Tuesday, which it got one nine-star-out-of-ten rating from Cross Rhythms. The project got three four-star ratings from CCM Magazine, Christian Music Zine and Indie Vision Music. The lowest positive ratings came in from AllMusic, The Christian Manifesto, CM Addict, Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesus Freak Hideout, Louder Than the Music and The Phantom Tollbooth, which all gave the album a three-and-a-half-star rating out of five. The lone truly mixed review came from Michael Weaver of Jesus Freak Hideout, who gave the second staff opinion.
Kim Jones of About.com wrote that "Scripted offers fans of rock a lot of passion, completely authentic lyrics and hard-hitting music that will appeal to your inner head banger, regardless of your age. Icon For Hire has a lot to offer and their debut album satisfies while leaving you wanting more." Jamie Maxwell of Cross Rhythms praised the "sheer energy" of the guitar work, as well as the "real honesty and originality" of the lyrics, he conceded that the band "straddle that fine line of credibility between an honest, edgy statement and an embarrassing copycat act," although ultimately claiming to be "fairly satisfied that Icon For Hire manage the former, and they manage it better than the vast majority of mainstream artists, let alone those in the Christian music scene." New Release Tuesday's Kelly Sheads vowed that "Scripted does not disappoint."
Andy Argyrakis of CCM Magazine found that "there's actually many more facets to its label debut Scripted", which this is found in the instruments used such as "brooding guitars, monstrous drums, and ferocious vocals," and noted that "there's a harder overall edge, merged with and underlying pop sensibility. All the while, the group sings of shedding depression and seizing each day, which is just as vital and powerful as the accompanying sounds." Christian Music Zine's Tyler Hess said that Scripted is "full of tracks that can both rock your face off and edify you hearts." Indie Vision Music evoked how "This album does show hints of similarity with acts like Flyleaf & The Letter Black, but at the core this album genuine."
David Jeffries of AllMusic was complimentary, calling the band "intense and infectious in equal measure" and praising their "fresh attitude and sense of purpose". The Christian Manifesto's C. E'Jon Moore found that "Scripted is a strong debut that stands on its own and demands our respect", which that is because "Scripted features all the necessary pieces without feeling derivative." Grant Yoder of CM Addict surmised that "Overall this album is very good, but left me wanting more." Louder Than the Music's Jono Davies said that "The production on this album is top notch, for a band made up of three members they seem to have created a full sounding album." Matt Crosslin of The Phantom Tollbooth stated that "Regardless of influences the songs are catchy and filled with passion and energy."
Jesus Freak Hideout reviewers Nathaniel Schexnayder and Michael Weaver; despite praising the production and finding the album overall enjoyable, Schexnayder found the lyrical quality mixed ("In their attempts to be poignant, the band’s lyrics tend to go over the top") and criticized the band and album for being generic and lacking a distinct identity: "To recap, complete with puns: although Icon For Hire’s first album is well-acted with slick, catchy refrains, they never deviate from the script to truly be a genuinely remarkable production." Weaver also criticized the band's unoriginal sound, but expressed appreciation for the band's "tongue-in-cheek mentality" and optimism that "album number two will be powerful and a little more unique."
Unanimous praise was given to lead singer Ariel's vocal work: Jeffries called her "a mix of powerful and approachable that might very well be the inspiration for the band’s tongue-in-cheek name"; Maxwell noted that "what is most notable, and most commendable, about this album is the sheer force with which singer Ariel delivers her vocals"; and Schexnayder reported that her "voice runs seamlessly through the tunes without ever going overboard like her fellow label mates in The Letter Black", calling her voice "gifted" and one of the reasons to be interested in the album.
|2.||"Theatre"||Icon for Hire||2:42|
|3.||"Make a Move"||Icon for Hire||3:03|
|4.||"Get Well"||Icon for Hire, Sprinkle||2:57|
|5.||"The Grey"||Icon for Hire||3:27|
|6.||"Off with Her Head"||Icon for Hire, Joshua Davis||3:05|
|7.||"Fight"||Icon for Hire, Sprinkle, Ben Kasica||3:00|
|8.||"Up in Flames"||Icon for Hire, Sprinkle, Christopher Stephens||2:48|
|9.||"Iodine"||Icon for Hire||2:32|
|10.||"Only a Memory" (originally released as "Pernilla")||Icon for Hire, Joshua Davis||3:50|
|11.||"Pieces"||Icon for Hire, Hawkins||3:54|
|12.||"Fall Apart" (Japan Bonus Track)||Icon for Hire, Joshua Davis||3:15|
|13.||"Call Me Alive" (Japan Bonus Track)||Icon for Hire, Joshua Davis||4:47|
- Ariel — lead vocals
- Shawn Jump — guitar
- Adam Kronshagen — drums
- Matthew Arcaini — digital editing, engineer
- Chris Carmichael — strings
- Matt Carter — bass, engineer
- Ryan Clark — graphic design
- Joshua Davis — composer ("Off with Her Head" and "Only a Memory")
- Brandon Ebel — executive producer
- Troy Glessner — mastering engineer
- Rob Hawkins — bass, guitar, composer, ("Overture" and "Pieces"), producer, programming, string arrangements, synthesizer
- Ben Kasica — composer/lyricist ("Fight")
- Cabel Kuhl — photography
- J. R. McNeely — mixing
- Ben Phillips — engineer
- Adam Skatula — A&R
- Aaron Sprinkle — composer, engineer, keyboards, percussion, producer, programming
- Christopher Stephens — composer ("Up In Flames")
|Chart (2011)||Peak position|
|Billboard Top Rock Albums||22|
|Billboard Top Christian Albums||5|
|Billboard Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums||16|
|Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums||7|
- Kim Jones (September 2011). "Icon for Hire Touring With RED and Brian "Head" Welch". About.com. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- Icon for Hire on TVU's Most Wanted (video interview), 0:54 - 1:18
- Bill Lurwick (January 2012). "Icon For Hire Goes Off Script" (interview). New Release Tuesday. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- TVU interview, 1:29-1:38
- Josh Hart (August 15, 2011). "Exclusive: Icon For Hire Premiere "Make A Move" Music Video". Guitar World. Future plc. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
- Jones, Kim. "Scripted". About.com. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
- Jeffries, David. "Scripted". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
- Andy, Argyrakis. "Scripted". CCM Magazine. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
- C. E'Jon, Moore. "Scripted". The Christian Manifesto. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
- Tyler, Hess. "Scripted". Christian Music Zine. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- Grant, Yoder. "Scripted". CM Addict. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
- Maxwell, Jamie (November 2011). "Scripted". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
- Shawn H. "Scripted". Indie Vision Music. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- Schexnayder, Nathaniel (August 2011). "Scripted". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
- Jono, Davies. "Scripted". Louder Than the Music. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
- Kelly, Sheads. "Scripted". New Release Tuesday. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- Matt, Crosslin. "Scripted". The Phantom Tollbooth. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- "Scripted". Billboard.com. September 10, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2012.