John5 is a well-known metal guitarist who tried out for Marilyn Manson not once, but twice. On the second shot, he ended up getting the gig. If that doesn’t show dedication (or delusion), I’m not sure what does. John5’s newest album is titled God Told Me To. What exactly God told John5 to do remains to be seen.
On God Told Me To, there are two distinct playing styles: one electric, the other acoustic. The electric songs seem to have been inserted into the album as an after thought. They aren’t very well composed and exhibit signs of severe ADD. The acoustic songs, on the other hand, are very well-played, and I can’t help but continue to listen to them.
Upon first playing the album, John5 lulls the listener into a weird trance with “Welcome to Violence”. It’s not a particularly well-written song, and the guitar playing appears to be all over the place. His cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, however, is actually decent. MJ’s original boasted heavy electric guitars, courtesy of Eddie Van Halen, so it isn’t that much of a stretch. “Ashland Bump” is where the album hits its stride: hearing John5 play the acoustic guitar allows him the chance to truly shine, and hearing this song’s strumming and John’s fingers dancing up and down the fretboard, it’s easy to appreciate his skill. Unfortunately, “Killafornia” sucks us back into the electric mess – the song is dizzying and doesn’t seem to have any set pattern or rhythm.
Halfway through God Told Me To, I had to stop listening to it because it was so bad. I couldn’t figure out where John5 was trying to go with the album and it didn’t seem to make any sense. He’ll play some really terrible electric songs and then toss an excellent acoustic song into the mix, which is confusing. If he had kept the album all acoustic, it could have been great, but instead he sprinkles in these electric guitar songs that don’t seem to fit. I think it would have been best for him to make two albums: one electric album that people could completely ignore, and an acoustic release that people would talk about for years to come. In short, don’t bother with God Told Me To; rather, buy “Lie You Live”, “The Castle”, “Creepy Crawler”, and “Ashland Bump” on iTunes and enjoy the acoustic songs. The electric songs are a waste of your time.