The Mezunian

Die Positivität ist das Opium des Volkes, aber der Spott ist das Opium der Verrückten

Some Moomer like you, giant stick up his ass, age, ¿what, 32? ¿He’s just going to Break Benjamins? – Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal

Pro tip to album cover artists: don’t make your album cover depict the expression o’ someone who might hate your music; you’ll just open yourself up to mockery.

Breaking Benjamin, which is probably not a nu-metal band, but an alternative rock band inspired mo’ by The Smashing Pumpkins ( in fact, Billy Corgan worked with them on We Are Not Alone ) than Korn or Limp Bizkit, is not a band that people think ’bout much when thinking o’ cheesy 2000s bands, which is too bad, as they’ve got some amazing lyrics — & by amazing, I mean amazingly cheesy. They might be 1 o’ the most common sources for the weird Spanish titles or alternative titles I create for my poetry.

In line with this series’s duty to bring light to such 2000s meme fodder lost in dark obscurity, we will be taking a look @ what was, I think, their big breakthru album, We Are Not Alone. This was, a’least, the 1st album I heard from them, discovered where I discovered most o’ the early music I listened to, lost in a sea of ol’ CDs my mother had in a bunch o’ leather cases, & had the 2 songs I heard on the radio most from this band, “So Cold” & “Sooner or Later” ( I think “Phobia”, which came later, & honestly is probably a better album, was bigger, & I’m almost certain “The Diary of Jane” is their biggest song ). But most importantly, I picked it ’cause it has the most memorably cheesy lyrics, which is what matters most in this series.

1. So Cold

I believe this was the biggest song on this album, played in a bunch o’ Halo games or commercials or something. It also received a remix with some woman I’ve ne’er heard o’ without the singer’s input that pissed him off & caused him to fire the rest o’ the band. Thinking ’bout it, it’s odd that the lead singer’s gainst that kind o’ butchery, but fine with this deep, brooding song playing in a shoot-shoot video game.

As a kid, I ne’er understood the hype, but that’s just ’cause it’s a slower song. I’ve come to appreciate its dirginess better. I mean, I can’t deny that the slow opening is memorable. Also, it seems like they put mo’ effort into the lyrics. “In this land of make-believe, dead and dry” isn’t Leonard Cohen, but it’s better than the vague lefto’ers found on the tail-end o’ this album.

Apparently this song was inspired by a movie.

Grade: B

2. Simple Design

Here we have some memetic lyrics:


Yes, it’s shouted like that.

The rest o’ the lyrics aren’t any saner. Look @ the 1st verse:

i live a chemical life
i’m on a mission to try
you went insane for the day
i’ll have to shove it away
my only option is gone
smile as they break and they fall
you want a simpler life
you can’t erase what was mine

I swear none o’ these lines connect. ¿A mission to try what? This reminds me o’ that poem the Seventh Sanctum Writing Prompt Generator wrote 7 years ago.

According to Genius this song’s ’bout Ben trying to get his ex to understand & accept that he cares mo’ ’bout himself & his band than her. That’s not a new sentiment — I believe Led Zeppelin had a song ’bout choosing music o’er one’s lover — but worded this way is just hilarious & makes the song e’en funnier.

Grade: A

3. Follow

( Featured here is the “radio edit”, so our Christian grandmothers lets us listen to it ).

I still have no idea what “I don’t know why you lie so clean” ( which I always interpreted as “laugh so clean”, which I actually think would be a better line ) means, but I love the way Ben pronounces “clean”, putting his whole throat into it.

Genius gives no greater explanation than that Billy Corgan o’ The Smashing Pumpkins co-wrote this song. That actually ’splains a lot.

Grade: B

4. Firefly

Like Papa Roach’s “Revenge”, it’s criminal that this song has no memes ’bout it. Imagine an angsty, loud nu-metal song with a deep, scraggly voice shouting:


I also love the lines:

bring me your enemies
lay them before me
& walk away

I don’t care what Ben says: I’ve decided this song is ’bout the singer sacrificing people to a giant daemonic firefly. Such are the vile powers “Death o’ the Author” gives me.

The best part is that this song was apparently used in wrestling video games. I can only imagine the bathos o’ watching some beefy wrestler storm out the stage while a song blasts ’bout fucking fireflies.

Grade: S

5. Break My Fall

You almost think this is a normal Evanescence song till the bridge when you hear these weird intercom voices say, “MAY DAY, MAY DAY, WE’RE IN DANGER OF CRASHING” before we’re back to the solemn guitars & sad, soulful singing.

Also, tho the line makes sense in the context o’ the song, I love the line, “I will clean your fuckin’ mess”, said with just the amount o’ bitterness you’d expect. “All right, I’ll clean the milk you spilt, you lazy asshole”. ¿Why have I not used that line yet?

Grade: C

6. Forget It

I already did.

I’m genuinely shocked that this o’ all songs was a single. Most o’ this song is meh, specially the chorus which is just repeating “Forget it”. Granted, I do like the pre-chorus with its grand philosophical question: “¿how can I believe when this cloud hangs over me?”. ¿Belief in what? ¿God? “I can’t believe in God if I can’t see them, & I can’t see them with this dumbass cloud in their way”.

From Genius, Ben’s own review o’ his own song:

It’s very cool – both structurally and melodically. It’s subtle, but listen closely and you’ll hear the song move up a half-step every verse and chorus. As a vocalist, that’s really challenging because it forces me to sing in a different key every time. It’s definitely unusual, and had it not been for Billy, I probably never would’ve tried something like that.

¿Did this cracker just do the whole Noel Gallagher “I’m a fockin’ genius ’cause I did a key change, wanka”?

Grade: C

7. Sooner or Later

This song, which I knew was a single, since I’d heard it on the radio, has a music video, but the only 1 I could find on YouTube looks like a blurry mess & will probably be taken down someday, so I didn’t bother.

I made the mistake o’ looking @ the lyrics, — something I’ve ne’er done in the years I’ve listened to this album — as apparently what I always heard as “I am a lava-hater”, which I ne’er understood, is “I am a lover-hater”, which… I actually understand e’en less. Fuck that: Ben hates lava, it’s canon.

I tell e’eryone my personal mantra is “just call my name, you’ll be ok / your scream is burning thru my veins” & they look @ me & put me in an insane asylum where I belong.

Also: “sooner or later, you’re gonna hate it / go ahead & throw your life away”. I also love the way he rolls his R’s when saying “drrivin’ me under”.

Man, these Genius annotations are a bizarre whiplash, trying to interpret these songs as being a multilayered tapestry, which seems positive, but then casually throwing in stuff that e’en I think are a bit too low, like, “we all know that ben is alcoholic”, which was probably intended to sound far less insulting than it came ’cross. Dude, the guy got a serious disease from it. Also, I’m pretty certain he went clean, so it’s not e’en accurate.

I legitimately love the menacing bass lines seeming to bubble under the verses. I think that was 1 o’ the 1st legit critiques I’ve given to these songs.

Grade: A

8. Breakdown

Mo’ amazing meme lyrics:


Also love the line that introduces it:


The odd piano notes @ the beginning, followed by an awkward pause, & then sudden loud rock, only adds to the unhinged energy.

Genius annotation:

Breakdown is about a relationship that has fallen and ended and the other wants to keep it up but the other person keeps moving away from that idea, making you feel like you about to have a breakdown in all the madness thats happening.

I feel like I’m having a breakdown trying to decipher this annotation.

Grade: S

9. Away

I was going to say I usually drop off the album @ this point, but ’pon listening thru this song ’gain it came back to me from some dormant decades-ol’ memory. It’s a nice song, I guess, but that’s probably just that pleasant nostalgic feeling o’ re-encountering an ol’ song you forgot. I kind o’ like the chrous melody, but the verses are boring.

Also, ¿“only God could save you / if you knew your way to the light”? ¿Was Breaking Benjamin a Christian rock band this whole time? ¡This isn’t the Thousand Foot Krutch ( yes, that’s a real rock band ) or Skillet episode!

Grade: C

10. Believe

O, yeah, I remember this song, too. The chorus is just Ben shouting from ’hind his hands like he’s pretending to be a military commander, with the line, “shut up, smart little bitch”, which is probably the closest Breaking Benjamin has come to sounding like a nu-metal band. I do kind o’ like the bass-heavy “DOW DOW DOW-DOW DOW DOW DOW-DOW-DOW” @ the beginning & end. I guess it’s kind o’ a banger, but not very memorable beyond the weird shouting chorus.

Honestly, the Genius annotation is mo’ inspiring:

Believe is about a person who is self devoted and only cares about themselves and is always hostile and aggressive towards the other and doesn’t care about the other and kinda hates them a good bit.

I love this long Biblical parataxis ’bout being “always hostile” toward someone else, but then ending with the understatement, “and kinda hates them a good bit”. Yeah, that’s how I’d describe someone who is always hostile & aggressive & doesn’t care ’bout “the other”.

Grade: C

11. Rain

( Serious, whoe’er is running the official Breaking Benjamin YouTube channel, upload these music videos already so I don’t have to rely on videos with the resolution o’ a GBA game uploaded by “bassroxpunkrock” ).

Long before recent hood classics like “ABCDEFU” & “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bitch”, Breaking Benjamin made a song whose chorus literally starts with “rain, rain, go away, come again another day”. As someone firmly in the pro-rain camp, I could not disagree mo’. Apparently these lyrics & the bland acoustic strumming with some weird water dribbling sounds lightly in the background required the assistance o’ Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan.

According to YouTube music, there was an “Alternate Single Version”, which is called “Rain (2005)” by the official YouTube channel, & which has some distracting electronic notes in the background, but better, mo’ forceful singing, specially the final chorus, which is built up with a bunch o’ drums. Honestly, that ending ’lone bumped this up to a C, where it otherwise would’ve been a D.

Grade: C

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Posted in Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal