The Mezunian

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

It’s Finally Time for Nostalgic Novelty Noughty Nickelback

Yup, you knew ’twas coming — just like how Chad Kroeger’s cumming on his girlfriend’s dress, leaving white stains ( seriously, that’s a line in 1 o’ the songs we’ll be looking @ ). I need not introduce the 1, the only. Unlike Papa Roach or Breaking Benjamin, who are most forgotten outside the realm o’ SiIvaGunner rips ( & I still haven’t heard any Breaking Benjamin there, which needs to be remedied ), Nickelback is the most cliché punchline for “bad music” round. ¿So why am I covering them, when this series focuses on underrated gems? Well, I have 2 reasons, & they revolve round the album I’ll be looking into.

Your 1st expectation when seeing that I’ll be looking @ Nickelback is that the album I’ll be looking @ is All the Right Reasons, with such infamous meme songs as “If Everyone Cared”, a cheesy ballad ’bout how nobody will die if e’eryone cried & nobody lied & anyone tried; “Rockstar”; & the 1, the only, “Look @ this graph”:

I will not be looking @ this album: this is well-tread territory by this point. Nor will I be looking @ their 1st breakthru album in the US, “Silver-Side Up”, with its catchy breakout hit, “How You Remind Me”. But if you want, some guy on YouTube critiqued that album. ( Spoiler: he thinks it’s boring ).

No, the album I’ll be looking @ is “The Long Road”, which, according to memes, is the 1 e’eryone forgets, but is the 1 that introduced me to this band as a li’l kid, before I had heard o’ all the memes ’bout the band — in fact, before those memes e’en existed, as “All the Right Reasons” hadn’t come out yet — & while I was still blissfully ignorant o’ such things as music criticism. & as an innocent kid, my opinion o’ this album was… I thought ’twas all right. Honestly, when I 1st encountered the meme ’bout Nickelback being the worst band e’er, I was always bewildered, not ’cause I thought they were good, but ’cause I was surprised anyone could feel any passion for the band, e’en hatred. ( Also, I knew much worse bands that have been forgotten by this point, like Puddle of Mudd & Theory of a Dead Man ).

1. Flat On the Floor

As a kid I always skipped this 1. I’m not sure why: most people I’ve heard talk ’bout this song list it as 1 o’ their better songs, since it’s loud & fast-paced, clocking in only 2 minutes, with verses & choruses that last ’bout 10 seconds each.

Grade: C

2. Do This Anymore

This was always my favorite track, ’cause I always liked the spooky opening with the “Woooooo” with the squeaky noises ’hind it, backed with gradually rising trainlike chugs ( which is fitting, since the 1st line is talking ’bout being on a train ). Honestly, this song is full o’ weird noises that may be made with an actual guitar, but is probably made with a computer. That obviously puts this song on the same level as “Paranoid Android”.

Grade: B

3. Someday

This song, which I think was the big single ( I don’t think I e’er heard a song from “The Long Road” on the radio ), is sort o’ a meme in that it s’posedly sounds just like “How You Remind Me” & someone made a mash-up to “prove” it. Personally, I ne’er made the connection myself, & if mash-ups prove anything, then clearly Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” & Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” are the same song.

I think I liked this song as a kid, but it hasn’t aged as well for me as “Do This Anymore”. I tended to be fine with Chad’s screechy voice, but e’en I kind o’ cringe when he sings, “Now that since we’re here anyyyyywayyyyy”. I also find the chorus to be way too bombastic with way too much jingling pop noise, with the twinkly notes & the weird extra voices that might just be Chad’s voice warped by computers in the background. It just sounds like fuzz.

I also find the line, “now the story’s played out like this, just like a paperback novel”, perplexing. ¿Why a paperback novel, & not a hardcover? I guess he means an airport novel: a cheap thriller, rather than literary fiction. But both literary & genre fiction come in both forms: e’ery copy o’ Ulysses I own ( & I own a’least 3, including the infamous Gabler version ) is a paperback, while I have hardcover collections o’ James Bond novels.

That being said, “I wish you’d unclench your fists and unpack your suitcase” isn’t a bad line…

Grade: D

4. Believe It Or Not

I like this song’s main riff, but the lyrics are repetitive fortune-cookie shit, repeating the phrase, “Believe it or not, [insert “hang in there” poster line]”. & I, in actual fact, don’t believe that e’eryone “believe [sic] in something above”, since I know atheists exist. It’s like a weaker “If Everyone Cared”, which a’least had the cheesy inspirational music to fit. This song’s grimy music doesn’t fit @ all.

But that’s OK, ’cause after the 2nd chorus, the riff suddenly drops, & we get some acoustic noodling that sounds both bland & incoherent while the singer continues the same refrains.

Grade: D

5. Feelin’ Way Too Damn Good

This song has stronger verses than the chorus: they have a kind o’ jazziness to them. Also, as cheap as it is, I like that weird bass note ’tween the 1st 2 verses. The chorus, meanwhile, is OK, with the only notable part being when Chad goes “¡OW!” @ the end like he’s orgasming.

Honestly, the best part o’ this song is the part where the attendant announces boarding for a flight to Los Angeles round the bridge.

Grade: C

6. Because Of You

I completely forgot this song existed, & I have a sneaking suspicion I will forgot it ’gain after I’m done with this article.

I guess the 1 thing o’ note is how perplexing the lyrics are. Most o’ it seems to be ’bout someone dying in the hospital, but then we get these lyrics:

now that you did this, you ask for forgiveness
doctor, ¿could you be my priest?
you say you’re mistaken, but look what you’ve taken
you laugh as you lie through your teeth

¿Is the singer implying that this person is killing themself just to spite the singer?

For the record, Genius currently has no annotations for any o’ these songs.

¿Is it me, or do the drums @ the beginning o’ this song sound like Lars Ulrich’s infamous trash can drums in St. Anger ( which I like, by the way — which goes to show how low my standards for music are )?

Grade: C

7. Figured You Out

O’ all the songs on this album, this is the biggest meme song, thanks to the big opening line, “I like the pants around your feet”, which spawned the brilliant DJ Cumberbund remix, “Pantsfeet”.

As a kid I always hated this song ’cause it’s gross, but now I kind o’ respect it a bit mo’ for it, specially with how detailed it is. For a band that’s notorious for being cheesy & boring, I don’t know a lot o’ boring bands who would write the line “I like the white stains on your dress” or talking ’bout freckles on his lover’s chest or dirt on his lover’s knees — tho, I ne’er understood why she has dirt on her knees. ¿Are they fucking outside on the grass?

The negging phrase “you’re my favorite disease” was copied by other buttrockers nobody remembers anymo’, like Rev Theory, but it’s possible Nickelback took the phrase from Saliva — tho they used it in a mo’ negative way — mo’ a toxic relationship than kinky sex… ¿I think? Honestly, that song’s chorus & verses don’t match @ all: he’s bragrapping the verses ’bout how he smokes a lot o’ weed & killin’ all the competition, but then sings ’bout how sad he is in the chorus & bridge.

Basically, what I’m saying is, this song is a worse Saliva song.

Actually, looking @ the rare Genius annotation for this song, this song may be ’bout what Saliva’s choruses are ’bout:

Chad Kroeger about the meaning of Figured You Out:

Sometimes you get into a little fling and you think you know the person, and the next thing you know, you’re dating a cokehead who’s interwoven into some underground drug world with Hell’s Angels and movie stars and models and you’re like, “What the @#%$ am I doing?

The song starts off like most relationships do; very physically oriented. And then you start discovering things about the person you’re with it’s like ‘’‘OK, I don’t like that about you, or that, or that……OK, now the only thing we have on common is we have great sex so there’s no point in us being together.

¿How the hell does this come from “I like the white stains on your dress”? ¿Is it sarcastic? The meaty, Fred-Flintstone way Chad says it doesn’t fit. ¿Maybe it’s like Stone Temple Pilot’s “Sex Type Thing” — a much, much better song — & is an ironic depiction o’ the kind o’ meatheat who would say something like this?

Grade: B

8. Should’ve Listened

This was, weirdly, 1 o’ my favorite songs as a kid. I’m not sure why: it’s pretty hokey, specially with the “la, la, la”s in the background during the chorus & the jangling guitar work thruout. I do like the sensory details ’bout what a shitheap the singer’s exgirlfriend left his place in before she left dodge.

But what I love most is the Genius annotation:

This is song is about an utter moron who expects anyone listening to sympathize with him for deliberately using his own house as a place to party and now it’s destroyed and is a mess. Which is his fault.

Wait, ¿what party? There’s no mention o’ a party in this song. The implication, specially with lines like “why’d she take both sets of keys”, is that his now-ex-girlfriend trashed the place before she left. I mean, that is an interesting interpolation: that the singer’s being vague ’bout what caused his place to be trashed & mentions the 1 thing his ex did, take the keys, to imply that she caused the rest, while leaving out the whole party angle. I can’t imagine someone whining for pity would choose to bring up a party going on. Also, since the singer can’t remember much, he probably did get plastered. I always took it that ’twas his alcoholism that caused her to leave, not a bitchin’ party going on.

This man (the narrator of the song) was not abused sexually or physically nor did he have any harm inflicted on him, he is some foolish frat guy who wants you to feel sorry for his stupidity.

¿Where the fuck did this come from? ¿Who’s implying this? ¿& how do we know nothing happened to him? He certainly wouldn’t know — he’s too drunk to remember anything.

But Nickelback fans are dumb enough to think Chad Kroeger wailing really pathetically (after being “manly” bragging about raping an inebriated woman in the song just before this one Figured You Out”, of course) means this song must about something serious.

Damn, this is the 1st Genius annotation I’ve read that just straight roasts the song ( & the previous song ) & the band. ¿Are there seriously Nickelback fans who think this song is ’bout a man who got date raped? ¿Why do I have a feeling this is a retort gainst some men’s rights activist using this song as a rallying cry gainst “those hoes” that I haven’t read?

I cannot be [sic] believe to this day, that I was told by someone on RYM who “demanded that Dark Horse in it’s entirety be played on the radio, because it was “so good” […]

You’re right, I can’t believe that, either: that album fucking sucks, & this is coming from someone saying nice things ’bout fucking The Long Road. That album, by the way, which probably ended Nickelback’s towering height after All the Right Reasons, is the 1 whose lead single was “Something In Your Mouth”, ’bout how someone would “look better with something in your mouth”. It, in fact, makes things come out o’ my mouth.

Obviously the person who told this is a serious “song”, also said that “Hip hop music and culture as whole supports and condones rape and is “degenerate” and also that everyone who oppose the genocide of Palestinians is a “angry muslim who is upset that “the gays” aren’t being hung”, so it’s not exactly coming from a very intelligent person.

( Laughs ). ¿What the fuck? God damn it, I can’t e’en ’scape people giving their ill-informed hot takes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a Nickelback review?

And also this is the early 2000s we’re talking about, Korn got radio play despite graphic song lyrics and subject matters for their songs and they still got radio play. I bet this song wouldn’t even be censored, that is how easy it is for this song to get radio play.

I love how this “annotation” just completely goes off the rails from trying to ’splain the meaning o’ this song & just argues gainst some mysterious opinions from somewhere on the internet ’bout how this song isn’t too hot for the radio. Here’s an experiment for you: take these comments I made here for this review, but remove all the quotes o’ the review itself. Incomprehensible, ¿right? That’s how I feel reading the 1 side o’ this conversation.

If I may be devil’s advocate, I don’t think the song is advocating for viewing the protagonist as an innocent hero & the ex-girlfriend as a trifling ho: lines like, “a little trick I picked up from my father: in one ear and out the other”, imply that, in fact, the protagonist is to blame. It seems this reviewer, like a stereotypical /r/badreads candidate, cannot comprehend a protagonist who isn’t morally white by the composer’s morality.

I can’t believe I just wrote a multi-paragraph treatise on a fucking Nickelback song. Clearly this means that The Long Road is just as much a complex, woven tapestry as OK Computer & the heartbreak, sundering relationship, disarray, & chaos o’ this song represents the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Grade: 🧐

9. Throw Yourself Away

So, I always thought this song was a hokey morality play ’bout someone who gets pregnant in high school. But reading the Genius annotation & reading the lyrics mo’ deeply, — something I ne’er thought I’d do for a Nickelback song, but here we are — it’s a hokey morality play ’bout a real-life event where a high school student… ¿gave birth in the bathroom during prom & throws the baby into the trash, for which she gets caught & sentenced for manslaughter? ¿What the fuck? This is such a rare, absurd situation, but Chad treats it with such straightfaced outrage that it’s ridiculous. ¿Was Chad’s hope to end this epidemic o’ throwing babies in prom trash cans? ¿Was he hoping that the baby-trasher would hear this song on the radio & feel such deep guilt that great rock gods Nickelback talks bad ’bout her? ¿What’s the point o’ this song? ¿Were there not mo’ pervasive problems in the world for which to write a protest song? This is a far fall from “Should’ve Listened”’s bold protest gainst Israel’s genocide o’ Palestinians — ¿or was it protesting the protests? I already forgot.

As for the song itself, it sounds like shit.

Grade: F

10. Another Hole in the Head

No, you can’t follow a song ’bout a high school student who gives birth in the bathroom during prom & throws the baby into the trash with a generic breakup song.

Like, uh… ( checks back ) “Feeling Way Too Damn Good”, I like the verses better than the chorus, with the jazzy notes @ the beginning, while the chorus is just generic riffing & shouting that isn’t all that loud.

Grade: C

11. See You At the Show

¿Is it me or has Nickelback been gradually transforming from a mediocre post-grunge rock band to an increasingly shitty country band as this album goes on? It starts with “Should’ve Listened”, with its hokey story o’ drunken breakups & Israeli genocide gainst Palestinians, & then culminates in this song, which is just fucking awful. The way this fucking Canadian drawls e’ery word in this sing-song fashion with this novelty-shop southern accent makes me want to puke. “Cotton-Eye Joe” has mo’ dignity to it. Also, the way he says “till we burn it down” always sounded like “till we’re in bunny town” to me as a kid, which I always thought was stupid, but is mo’ interesting than describing casual acts o’ terrorism.

Grade: F

Posted in Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal

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

Posted in Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal

Let’s Take a Look @ Some Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal with America’s Greatest Rock Band, Papa Roach

If I may be so arrogant to say so, I have done a great job o’ destroying my credibility o’er the last decade with my hot takes on video games, like my criticism o’ Ocarina of Time & Super Mario Galaxy; or my hot takes on literature, like my criticism o’ To Kill a Mockingbird & 1984; but in this whole decade I’m surprised I’ve spared you all from my spicy takes on music, despite the fact that I don’t go hardly a minute without wearing headphones — & I mean real music, not nerdy shit like the music from the SimCity games. This is specially great, since unlike video games, which I’ve actually practiced making ( still working on that game, by the way ) or obsessively analyzed level design, or literature, which I’ve been writing for a decade, too, I have no understanding o’ music, beyond some crappy MIDI I made almost a decade ago.

Like all moomers, which is what I shall call millennials from now on till the next millennium, my artistic tastes have been permanently crippled by having grown up in the wasteland o’ the noughties — called that way ’cause the cultural value the 1st decade o’ the 2000s had was naught. This was the era o’ GameCube & nu-metal, banging my head to “One Step Closer” while fighting Captain Falcon in Mushroom Kingdom II ( which was really Sub-Con ). Now, I’ve written ’nough ’bout crappy GameCube games that I loved as a kid, like Super Mario Sunshine; but the only glimpses I have given to the mysterious underbelly o’ nu-metal are lyrics quoted in the titles o’ my poems.

I have started with our good friends Papa Roach not ’cause their name is ridiculously better than their music, but ’cause in my youth they were actually somehow my 2nd favorite band o’ all time, right below Linkin Park & right ’bove Three Days Grace. Now, long before e’eryone jumped the bandwagon o’ praising Linkin Park after their lead singer Kurt-Cobained himself, I was already defending them, & we’re still waiting for the rest o’ the world to wise up & come to appreciate the amazing vocals o’ Three Days Grace’s former vocalist Adam Gontier; but Papa Roach is a band that hasn’t aged so well — & in fact, were probably not all that good to begin with.

’Course, we will be looking @ their 1st big album ( they had a few EPs & obscure releases before, but hardly anyone knows ’bout them, so we can ignore them for now ), Infest. This was, actually, the only truly nu-metal album they made, as they saw the mold begin to sprout relatively quickly & packed their bags for hard rock, & then whate’er trends were current on their following albums. I think their latest album is trying to sound like Imagine Dragons, which is the smartest idea, since Imagine Dragons are such a beloved band & their sound won’t e’er go out o’ style.

1. Infest

This song introduces the band with the line “¡viva la cucaracha!” ( “¡long live the roach!” ), which is fine ’nough, but then then follows that with the Shakespearean lines, “my name’s Coby Dick / Mr. Dick, if you’re nasty”. See, ’cause “dick” also means “pee-pee”. ( Now that I think ’bout it, considering Shakespeare wrote lines like, “these be her very Cs, her U’s and her T’s and thus makes she her great P’s”, maybe it isn’t that far off from being Shakespearean… ).

The lyrics in general are a mangled mix o’ attempted vague social commentary. For instance, we got takes gainst the lame-pee media & the big government with the chorus: “What is wrong with the world today / The government, the media, or your family?”, while the 3rd verse talks ’bout being “shackled to your feet” & “beaten like meat” & how “people are the problem today”. The problem for what is unspecified. ¿Problem for people? ¿What’s the solution, kill all people, to help the people? I’m clearly thinking ’bout this mo’ than the lyricists did.

I actually still like the grimy guitar during the pre-chorus, but the vocals sound surprisingly weak compared to later songs. Señor Dick doesn’t sound all that enthusiastic ’bout all this infesting he’s doing ( save for the parts where he screams it — in the background, ironically ), singing, “We’re going to infest / We’re getting in your head” almost in monotone.

For some reason I really liked this song as a kid & in fact put it on some top 10 list I had to make for school that I only hope has been lost fore’er. Now I feel it had potential to fit the scuzzy aesthetic that Papa Roach was going for, but fails to meet that potential, & o’ all the songs on this album sounds the most like a joke novelty song that isn’t really funny.

Grade: D

2. Last Resort

The big meme song, where Coby states in robotic monotone how he wants to commit suicide, with the music video taking place in a wrestling ring o’ all places. I guess, to be fair, considering all the pain & suffering wrestlers probably endure ’hind the limelight from all the bruises they get while performing probably does lead a lot o’ wrestlers to feel depressed, but it still leaves an odd tone here.

It may be shocking to know that as a kid I ne’er really liked this song & was baffled as to why this o’ all songs would be chosen as the hit single. Cheesy, stupid lyrics I could vibe with, specially if it had loud yelling & banger music, but this song was just monotone announcing this dour topic as if ’twere a thesis paper & also had generic “DUH-NUH NUH-NUH, NUH-NUH NUH-NUH” riffs that ne’er stood out to me.

Grade: D

3. Broken Home

I’ve also ne’er loved ballads, & this is basically the ballad to this album. This was ’nother song I ne’er felt belonged as a single as a kid, but I still preferred it o’er “Last Resort”, & I would actually say out o’ all songs on this album, I think my opinion has, if anything, improved on this mo’ than on any o’ the others, & I think I understand better why this was a single ( in fact, knowing mo’ now ’bout how much bands have softer, poppier songs as singles for wider appeal, I can definitely understand why this was a single ). For 1, none o’ the lyrics stand out as cheesy or dumb, with maybe the exception o’, “Stories that I tell are non-fiction”, which struggles to fit the song’s meter. Granted, the lyrics aren’t particularly inspired, either; — specially lines like “Pain bottled up about to blow like a gun”.

But the music has also grown on me, which, fittingly, is mo’ subdued than the chug-chugs o’ the rest o’ the album. I kind o’ like the weird BWOW, BWOW, BWOW, BWOW… riffs thruout the song, specially the surprising urgency to the song, which is rare for ballads, which always have to be slow & boring. I also love those sick ol’-school rap whispers — I don’t know what they’re called — in the background repeating “push it back inside”. Actually I still don’t know how this weird-ass song became a single. I think all the weird-ass 1-hit-wonders from the 90s prepared people to accept whate’er nonsense on the radio.

Grade: B

4. Dead Cell

I actually still like this song. It’s a certified™ banger & is what the rest o’ the album should’ve been, with those grimy riffs & vague lyrics talking ’bout sickness & bombs:

born with no soul, lack of control
cut from the mold of the anti-social
plug ’em in & then turn ’em on
process the data, make yourself the bomb

¿What are these lyrics e’en talking ’bout? ¿Who cares? Spooky cockroach man raps ’bout bombs & computers.

Plus, miraculously, Jacoby actually sounds like he has a flow & has energy to his rapping & singing, which, considering the earlier songs, is quite a whiplash.

Grade: A

5. Between Angels & Insects

¿This song was a single? ¿Really? They definitely put a lot o’ care into this music video, with its arbitrary zoom-ins to peoples’ faces & random stuff, only to then take a break to show people spitting up water for some reason.

This song has nothing to do with angels or insects, but is a bougie anthem gainst money & how Jacoby “doesn’t need that shit”, which any socialist knows is false: in a capitalist society e’eryone needs money to live ( Papa Roach weren’t giving this shit ’way for free, after all ), which is why money needs to be redistributed to ameliorate the suffering o’ poverty. The idea that the problems with money come from people choosing to become obsessed with money is an idea that only people well-off ’nough to ne’er worry ’bout being too destitute, — for whom it’s not a question o’ destitution vs. sufficiency, but a question o’ sufficiency vs. excess, — could take seriously. Thank you all for listening to my Marxist analysis o’ Papa Roach.

In contrast to “Dead Cell”, Jacoby’s flow falls ’gain, & the cool, imagery-ladden lyrics full o’ malaria-vomiting barriers is replaced by stiltedly-rapped broad lyrics that millions have already written by then:

you’re a slave to the system
working jobs that you hate
for that shit you don’t need
It’s too bad the world is based on greed

Still, I kind o’ like that distorted guitar in the background, as cheesy as it is. I take back what I said: this is the ballad o’ this album.

Grade: C

6. Blood Brothers

Here we have a song so shitty Papa Roach replaced it on the clean version o’ the album with a song that had mo’ profanity in it ( that is also a much better song — honestly, having relistened to it, too, it’s better than most o’ the songs on this album, which makes me wonder why ’twas left out ). I outright hated this song as a kid & my opinion hasn’t softened since. You can’t save a song that starts with the lyrics, “watch your back, ’cause the next man is comin’ / & you don’t know if the next man is dumbin’”. I shit you not, those are actually the lyrics, & e’en a young me who ate up lyrics like “Mr. Dick if you’re nasty” & the kind o’ lyrics Disturbed in the House We’re Droppin’ Plates was writing on The Sickness was confounded.

E’en the music sucks, with those annoying squeaky guitar riffs that sound like broken, bootleg Rage Against the Machine & those clacky, weak drums. & the chorus, what should be the catchiest part o’ a song, is just saying broad, vague, empty nothings like a robot, repeating o’er & o’er, “It’s in our nature to kill”… I think that, too, is s’posed to be RATM, but RATM actually chose memorable slogans. There’s a reason people quote “Some of those who work forces are the same who burn crosses” the millionth time a black kid is murdered by a cop & not vague shit like “It’s in our nature to kill”.

Worse, ’cept the 1st 2 lyrics, this song isn’t e’en funny bad, just boring. ¡Next!

Grade: F

7. Revenge

¡Here we go! Now here’s a song that’s funny bad. It is criminal that this song doesn’t have memes ’bout it. I would almost go far as to say that it’s this song ’lone that inspired me to write this article.

Take a serious subject like domestic abuse & absolutely fill it with bathos-injected lyrics struggling to fit the meter like…

beat his ass with a bat, face sunk like silly putty
you all can sit back so I can study
destruction of the family design
and how the morals of society decline
essentially is beats to rhymes, like grapes to wine


while the drama gets deeper I puff on the reefer
she took the last step and sent his ass to the reaper

Which always made me feel as if the narrator is in the background just smoking blunts while this is going on.

But this song becomes amazing during the 3rd verse, when it drops into an insane rant wherein our domestic abuse victim, who has, as the song says, gotten revenge on her abuser, s’posedly goes “too far” & becomes Godzilla:

kill it, before it reaches you
missiles won’t work it’s approaching the mainland
what if it reaches the metropolitan areas, cosmopolitan areas
secure the lines and prepare for departure
calm, calm, calm
it is a, a big business & seems to be advancing underground
because my style is underground
i’m green with my red eyes mad tint
flee, fly, flow, ¡rápido! ¡rápido!
she feeds plentiful, electrifying the nation, electrifying the nation

Just reading the lyrics aren’t sufficient to appreciating them; you have to listen to this & hear Jacoby’s legendarily hammy rapping.

Jacoby then starts shouting, “¡SHOCKA! ¡DANGA DANGA!”, before having to audacity to try returning to the basic-ass chorus, “it’s alright, we’re in love / can’t live with or without”, as if anyone cares ’bout that anymo’.

This song also has a generic, but booming bass. I love how this song starts with a DUH, DUH DUH…, like it knew it’s announcing something crazy.

Grade: S

8. Snakes

Papa Roach follows that masterpiece with what might be 1 o’ the goofiest rap songs from a nu-metal band in a genre full o’ goofy rap songs. After we start with some militaristic riffs we get some tough lyrics ’bout the hood life:

i got a problem with the snakes that are crawling
thru my area
when the darkness has fallen
& mama told me that they love to bite
they stab you in the back
no shame that’s right
¿what? ¿what?

What I love most is that Jacoby ends both verses with:

1 for your money
2 for your girl
3 for your life
now, i fucked up your world

Like “1 for your money, 2 for your girl” is what a nerd would think sounds tough.

I almost want to just quote all the lyrics, ’cause they’re all gold.

’Nother highlight is in the bridge when Jacoby metal screams “¡what the fuck is up?”. I think e’en back then I thought this was a parody o’ rap rock.

We also get some sick record scratching in the back while some rapper goes “WHAT WHAT WHA-WHAT”, aw yeah, G dogg skillet I FEEL LIKE A MONSTER, we disturbed in the house droppin’ plates ( that’s actually the goofiest nu-metal rap song ).

Grade: A

9. Never Enough

Sadly, after the high point that was “Revenge” & “Snakes”, we get some snoozers. These are songs I didn’t so much as hate as forget as a kid, oft skipping them on playthrus. This song in particular is the blandest o’ songs in this album, with lyrics so vague e’en Genius says, “This song’s meaning is difficult to discern”, but guesses that it has something to do with “the numbing nature of Corporate America”. I don’t hear that @ all, but OK. It just seems like a generic song ’bout being depressed.

I mean, look @ this chorus:

never enough
never enough
¿do i deserve
what i got?

That had to be a 1st draft.

Grade: D

10. Binge

This is a li’l better, with those weird deep riffs that sound like they’re hungo’er & coming out o’ a greasy liquor bottle themselves. The singing also sounds hungo’er, mixing straightforward lyrics that leave nothing to interpretation with an unenthusiastic delivery. In essence, this song is as dreary to listen to as it is dreary being hungo’er. In particularly, the repeated, “I am on a binge” is both completely lacking in any catchy value & sounds ridiculous for anyone to just state outright. I don’t know if you noticed this, but Papa Roach were not much for subtlety.

Grade: C

11. Thrown Away

Like “Dead Cell”, I actually still like this song, e’en with goofy-ass lyrics, like “he’s born sick, nothing in his hands but his dick / he couldn’t handle pressure, he couldn’t handle shit” ( actually, I think the lyric I actually disliked the most was “unclear like gray”, which is clearly just padding out the meter ), & the kind o’ lyrical-spherical stuff that has made white rappers a punch line ’gain are enjoyable, since a’least they have color to them & Jacoby’s rapping has intensity & flow. It’s bizarre how the lyrics & rapping zigzag from the extremes o’ pretty decent & full o’ imagery to the vaguest, broadest, most stilted performance e’er. ¿Am I crazy for noticing a sharp contrast in quality ’tween these 2 songs & most o’ the other songs? Specially when these songs got the least attention.

& when the song does get monotone & repetitious, it actually fits the song, as it makes Jacoby sound insane, specially when he starts breaking out into screaming ’gain, finishing off with, “¡LAST REMAIN!” or “¡THEY’RE SCREAMING!”, or whate’er the fuck he’s saying.

Grade: A

BONUS: Tight Rope

Like many early 2000s albums, this album had a super secret track @ the end o’ the final track ( hence why it’s in the title o’ the video ’bove ). It’s a much calmer song, almost reggae — albeit the whitest reggae in the world. The lyrics are mo’ nihilistic social commentary ’bout how corrupt the world s’posedly is. I always found it a palate cleanser as a kid, but ne’er thought o’ it much. I still don’t know what to think ’bout it & don’t want to write anymo’ ’bout it.

Grade: C

Posted in Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal