The Mezunian

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

Fry up some cheese, ’cause we firin’ up dat Skillet — Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal

Skillet is a band most people have probably completely forgotten ’bout. If you don’t remember them, the best way I can describe them is, “they were the band whose songs e’eryone made Naruto AMVs for”. No, not Linkin Park — tho they also had plenty o’ Naruto AMVs &, in fact, made the official music video for their recently-released “Lost” — somehow still sung by the deceased Chester Bennington, presumably during breaks from hanging out with Tupac in hiding — a professionally-made AMV.

They are also, like our good friends Thousand Foot Krutch, yet ’nother example o’ that holy genre known as Christian nu-metal. & unlike most ✝-rockers who try to downplay their association so they don’t get conflated with weirdos like that rainbow-haired dude with the sign who murdered people, Skillet’s lead singer, John Cooper, isn’t ’fraid to go full-Flanderization: a couple years ago he perhaps tried to scam his band back into relevancy the same way Trapt did by saying something idiotic & backward; in this case ’twas less dramatic than expressing admiration for male students being raped by female teachers & mo’ laughably pathetic: comparing the song “WAP” to Hitler speeches or something. Clearly he’s not fucking with that wet-ass pussy: he only fucks pussies that are as dry as a desert. Like most things conservatives say nowadays, ’twas an incoherent jumble o’ conservative gripes & memes that don’t fit together & aren’t e’en quite right: @ 1 point he whines that “you cannot sell” some Dr. Seuss books on eBay, when you very clearly can, — in fact, thanks to the fears sparked by this controversy, one could probably make much mo’ money than usual selling these now-scarce books on eBay — presumably referring to Dr. Seuss Enterprises voluntarily ceasing publication o’ new editions o’ books with racist depictions, much as Warner Bros. had done to certain racist Looney Tunes shorts way back in the late 60s to no controversy.

Anyway, we won’t be focusing on that inanity, but on the music itself, which, sadly, is a bit mo’ competent than Thousand Foot Krutch, but also less funny. Said album I have chosen is the generic-titled Awake, released in 2009, @ the end o’ the age o’ nu-metal, but not too late for this album to go double-platinum & having its singles play regularly on the radio. Admittedly, their 2006 Comatose, with hits like “Whispers in the Dark” &, well, “Comatose”, probably has a greater hold on people’s memory — to the extent that this band does still remain in people’s memory — & is the mo’ well-regarded for the good reason that it is much better than this album… — tho it didn’t sell as well as Awake, only going single-platinum — but ’cause o’ that it is less funny & memetic. In truth, there is 1 song in particular I want to talk ’bout & it is on Awake, not Comatose.

1. Hero

You have no idea how disappointed I was when I read the Genius lyrics & saw the line “I’m not superhuman” where I always distinctly heard sung, “I’m not superheroman”, which is a far funnier, & therefore better lyric. As you can expect, this song’s lyrics are generic — tho here they fit a bit better, given its evocation o’ silver-age-style superhero comics, which also oft spoke in clichés. If anything, I wish this went the full way & actually used lines from comics, like, “With great power there must also come great responsibility”, from Spider-Man or, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, from Marxman.

Since Skillet is considered a Christian Rock band, his savior could be interpreted to be Jesus Christ. However, since there is no direct reference to His name, the titular “hero” could refer to anyone that’s willing and able to save him and this world from self-destruction.

Genius annotation

Obviously this song is ’bout Bibleman.

As for the song itself, it is standard Skillet, with plenty o’ bombastic strings & singing, tho the backup singing by Jen Ledger… exists, I guess. It’s mildly catchy, tho not quite on the same level as their big hits from Comatose.

Grade: B

2. Monster

This is the whole reason I’m writing ’bout this band, so enjoy it before we have to waste time on 10 generic songs afterward.

& that reason is the end o’ the bridge, where the oft-repeated line, “I feel like a monster”, is sung in a Frankenstein’s-monster-like growl & it is the most amazing thing.

Outside o’ that, this song is a clear ripoff o’ Three Days Grace’s “Animal I’ve Become”, which came out ’bout 3 years before this, but obviously not as good. That’s not e’en close to Three Days Grace’s best song, or the best song off its album, One-X, but, spoiler, this is the best song, musically a’least, on this album, so that lets you know how these 2 albums compare. Still, I’m savoring that Three Days Grace lite sound as long as I can, ’cause I know it’s going to go downhill from here.

Grade: A

3. Don’t Wake Me

LOL that they made a Skillet AMV using footage from Elfen Lied, given all the fan service in that anime ( so I’ve read: the only fan service that gets me off are news outlets jerking themselves off ). Cooper may not be fucking with that wet-ass pussy, but Skillet’s fans sure are fucking with that anime-ass pussy.

Speaking o’ going downhill from here… ¿What is this Nickelback-ass shit? You dare to follow the amazing “Monster” with this fucking slush. “Don’t wake me” is right: sleeping is better than listening to this. The chorus legit sounds like Nickelback’s “Savin’ Me”, in the chorus where Chad Kroeger-brand sings, “& sing it for me, sing it for me”. ¡Go back to ripping off Three Days Grace!

No, ¡wait! I’m thinking o’ the chorus o’ Nickelback’s, “Far Away”, where he sings, “I love you, I loved you all along…”. That was the song.

Grade: F

4. Awake and Alive

Ah, there’s that Three Days Grace lite I was looking for.

Actually, I kind o’ wish this song sucked as hard as the last song, as while I much prefer listening to this mildly nice & catchy song, there’s nothing interesting to write. I do kind o’ find the “¡waking up, waking up!” part @ the beginning o’ the bridge funny, with the sing-song way it’s sung that makes it sound like the singer is singing to a child.

¿What kind o’ title is “Awake & Alive”? Obviously you’re alive if you’re awake: dead people can’t be woke, which is why Republicans love dead people so much.

Grade: B

5. One Day Too Late

God, this chorus sounds like it belongs on a kid’s show. I’m certainly not in the mood for hearing a song ’bout making the best o’ my time when I’m writing ’bout a fucking Skillet album — masturbating all day like Jon Arbuckle sounds downright productive in comparison.

¿& does e’ery verse need to start with an ad for Tiktok? ¿Hath this devout band not read the 11th commandment, “Thou shalt not be a fuckin’ sellout”?

I shouldn’t need to tell you that the jingly guitarwork & squeaky singing are intolerable. I don’t e’en know what this is ripping off, but I dread to hear it.

Grade: F

6. It’s Not Me, It’s You

O’ all the Three Days Grace songs, this is the most Three Days Grace, from riffs @ the beginning, the way the singing builds, & the shouts o’ “¡You!” @ the end, which is just like the shouts o’ “¡Home!” in Three Days Grace’s, um, “Home”. Obviously, it’s not as good: the music is too clean & o’erprocessed ( e’en compared to Three Days Grace, who are not exactly Velvet Underground ) & the singing sounds weaker & mo’ weaselly.

But lyrically this is on the same level, if not better, & is, unironically, the best-written song I’ve e’er heard from this band. O’ all the breakup songs I’ve heard, — & given all the angsty nu-metal & post-grunge I’ve listened to in my teens, that’s a lot — I don’t think I’ve e’er heard a song that twists the mealy-mouthed, “It’s not you, it’s me” cliché into this bitter invective, but it’s great — & especially coming after all the lame-ass Sunday-school songs before, such a bitter song starting with the line, “Let’s get this story straight: you were poison”, like the singer is sick o’ this bullshit already, is heaven to my ears. Hell yeah. More o’ this, please.

Grade: S

7. Should’ve When You Could’ve

Sigh. It seems I have to resign myself to getting a shitty song e’ery other song, like Skillet was thinking, “All right, we can’t spoil them: they’re too happy, so let’s give ’em shit now”. In contrast to the iconic, “It’s Not Me, It’s You”, which is a clever title for a song, “Should’ve When You Could’ve” is the corniest shit e’er, & the sassy way the singer sings, “better luck next time, girl”, makes me want to die. & the music is so cheese, it e’en ends with the cliché noodly boops so many pop-rock songs end with & has millennial woahs in the chorus, e’en tho nu-metal is far too early for millennial woahs.

Grade: F

8. Believe

It says something when I’m grateful they’ve gone back to sounding like Nickelback. Actually, this country-sounding song is hilarious, with its dime-store twanging notes & the way the singer sings, “I can’t fill the emptiness inside since you’ve been gone”. ¡Move o’er, Johnny Cash! Also: the smarmy way the singer sings, “I know I said things that I didn’t mean” in the bridge.

Speaking o’ the bridge, I love the guitar solo @ its beginning, which starts with standard Skillet strings, & then melts into those dime-store country guitar twanging, which devolves into rapid fire notes that sound like they’re being played on a plastic Guitar Hero guitar.

That being said, I unironically like the end to the chorus, with its bombastic, “you’re all that I need / just tell me that you still believe”, as generic as the lyrics are, especially @ the very end.

Grade: A

9. Forgiven

O, now we’re aping Evanescence, with those opening notes that sound very similar to the iconic opening to “Bring Me To Life”. Too bad the singing is nowhere near as catchy. In fact, it’s so monotone, & yet sung with such intensity, that it’s annoying. Same goes for the “ho-woah-woah”s @ the beginning o’ the bridge.

& the lyrics fall into the same Cartmen syndrome where I can’t tell if this is ’bout God or someone they want to fuck — or both. It doesn’t help when you have lines like this:

I get down on my knees
feel your love wash over me

Like, come on, they had to know. I don’t care if you’re Todd Fucking Flanders ( weird how Ned would give his son such an unholy middle name ), if you read these lines, your 1st thought is wishing for God to shower the singer with coconut cream pies.

10. Sometimes

( Note: ’twas a statistical inevitability that 1 o’ the AMVs I randomly chose for 1 o’ these songs would end up having an upskirt in its thumbnail ).

¿How could the band who made “Comatose” make a song so boring. I can’t emphasize how bland the chorus is, both in lyricism & its failure to form an interesting melody. I guess this song has a somewhat interesting guitar sol — No, fuck it. It’s not interesting. Nothing ’bout this song is — woah. ¿What the fuck are those beeps @ the end. ¿Why the fuck isn’t that the song?

Grade: D

11. Never Surrender

“Na-na, na-na, na-na, na-na”… Zzzzzz… This album has 14 songs. Many albums had only 12. ¿They couldn’t afford to cut these obvious filler tracks out?

Grade: D

12. Lucy

The opening is literally just someone hitting 1 fucking note on a piano repeatedly. It’s so annoying.

Because I have a working brain — well, I do so far; we’ll see if this album finally breaks me — I assumed that these smaltzy lyrics were ’bout this singer’s fucking dog dying & was hoping it wasn’t ’bout an actual adult woman, as the lines, “now that it’s over / I just want to hold her” sound idiotic in that context ( well, they sound idiotic in any context, but e’en worse there ). But then I read Cooper’s explanation for this song’s meaning & remembered that Cooper doesn’t have a working brain, but has 1 that has been melted by too much exposure to Jesus’s warm rays:

Listen up while I tell you a story about a young girl and a young guy who found themselves in a hard situation. They didn’t know what to do when they found out that she was pregnant; they were young, they didn’t have any money, they were scared, they didn’t want to tell anybody, they didn’t know what to do, and the only option that they could see was to terminate the pregnancy. So that’s what they decided to do… they went to a clinic, they had the procedure done, and at first they felt relieved that all their problems had gone away. But then something happened that they did not expect, and then over the next few weeks, which turned into a few months, they began to feel an intense sadness… and a pain and an agony and a guilt that wouldn’t go away. They didn’t know what to do, so they finally went to see a counsellor [sic]; they said, ‘look – tell us what to do, we just don’t know,’ and the counsellor [sic] made a suggestion. The counsellor [sic] said, ‘here’s what you need to do – stop acting like you had a procedure, and act like you had a death in the family.’ So the couple went home and they made three decisions; number one, they decided to have a funeral service for the baby; number two, they bought a tiny little headstone; and the last decision to make was what to name the baby. After a couple weeks they finally decided they would call her… Lucy.

John Cooper (Quote from Genius)

I’ll give Cooper 1 thing: it’s creative — in that such a thing would only happen on an alien planet, not real life. I don’t know any counselors — e’en the misspelled ones with too many L’s — whose 1st inclination when trying to soothe a couple grappling with the trauma o’ abortion would add to that trauma by insisting to them that that abortion was a “death in the family”, which was not necessarily the idea they already had, much less inventing a bizarre ritual where they hold a funeral for this fetus, rather than, I dunno, just telling them, “It is common for people to feel guilt after something like this”, & maybe saying something ’bout moving on. Fun tip: the psychological community tends to not look highly on fixating on past mistakes or trauma, especially when it involves weird rituals, & in contrast to what Cooper thinks, most health professionals, in fact, do think o’ abortions as procedures, not “deaths in the family” — that’s why they perform them & don’t rub their hands afterward & twirl their moustache & say, “¡Now my kill count is e’en greater than Dr. ikillbabies23!”.

E’en worse, you only get to hear this fanciful story in this garbled recounting, not in the song itself, which is so vague I mistook it for being ’bout a dead dog. Yeah, there’s the line, “I’ve got to live with the choices I made”, which I now see as a wink-wink, nudge-nudge gainst “pro-choice” people, but without this context could just refer to the dumbass singer accidentally leaving chocolate out that the dog ate. ¿Was Cooper trying to hide this song’s true meaning for fear o’ alienating his audience till he felt it had become accepted ’nough to reveal its true dark meaning, or is he just a bad lyricist? Considering P.O.D. made a song called “Abortion Is Murder” & nobody gave a shit ’cause nobody gives a shit ’bout ✝-rock, I’m going to guess the form — hold, on, ¿what’s the 1st line o’ that P.O.D. song?

you are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge

Bitch, ¿you’re blasphemous ’nough to sample the iconic opening o’ Straight Outta Compton in vain for your lame-ass ✝-rap song?

Grade: D

13. Dead Inside

You have no idea how excited I was when the previous song ended on Spotify YouTube Music & I found myself suddenly listening to “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” by Panic! At the Disco. { ¡There are only 12 songs on this album? ¡I’m free! }. But I saw those other tracks on Genius & forced myself to check out the “deluxe” edition, so we’re not free to listen to better music just yet. You could e’en say I feel dead inside.

As trite as it is to say, the best way to describe this song is, “¿What if someone AI-generated a Skillet song?”. It sounds distinctly Skilletlike: it’s got those blasting strings & bombastic choruses, but it lacks the interesting melody twists that make their better songs listenable.

Cooper is begging God to save him from his severe depression.

Genius annotation

& I am begging God to save me from this album.

Grade: D

14. Would It Matter

No, this song will ne’er matter, which is why it wasn’t included on an album that had standards low ’nough to include “Sometimes”.

This song is an alternative metal ballad by Skillet. It is a bonus track from “Awake”. This track has never been performed live. The basic context is about a person who no one cares about and hence wants to leave this world.

Genius annotation

E’en the author o’ this annotation doesn’t think this song matters. This is the most clinical description o’ a song. @ this point “sonic material” is a mo’ fitting term than “song”.

Despite this song not mattering, I was still able to find an AMV for this song, ’cause it is against the law for there to exist a Skillet song without an AMV.

Grade: Doesn’t Matter

15. Monster (Alternate Radio Version)

This is the “Wicked Monster” ( unlike Thousand Foot Krutch, not in the good way ): much as the “Wicked Bible” corrupted the LORD’s words by replacing their demand not to commit adultery with the command to commit adultery, the “Wicked Monster” replaces the aforementioned memetically amazing line, “I feel like a monster”, in a monster-growl voice with 1 that sounds like the normal singing used thruout the choruses — apparently for the radio, presumably ’cause square executives didn’t think ordinary listeners could handle such memetic cheese. ¡Cowards! Thus I have not included a AMV, tho I’m sure I could’ve found 1 with this version, as nobody should listen to this abomination.

Grade: 👹

Posted in Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal

Disturbed is finally in the house & we’re droppin’ plates – Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal

I know what you’re thinking: “Yawn, here we get to hear some hilarious memes ’bout being down with the sickness ¡OOO-WAH-AH-AH-AH!”. Well, I’m sorry to inform you that we will not be looking @ their 2000 debut, The Sickness, with such certified hood classics as “Droppin’ Plates” & the 1, the only, “Down with the Sickness” — a’least not now. No, we will be looking @ their much less funny & memetic 2002 sophomore “Believe”, an album heavily influenced by the death o’ lead singer David Draiman’s Orthodox Jewish father, with whom he had become estranged, & thus has heavy religious themes ( tho much, much less, um, sunday-school-like as Thousand Foot Krutch’s magnum opus we looked @ previously ) & an album that had largely become forgotten, I remember, e’en during part o’ the height o’ their popularity, when releasing their 3rd & 4th albums. This isn’t that uncommon in nu-metal: nobody remembers Papa Roach’s Lovehatetragedy, either. As early as 2002 many bands associated with nu-metal were already starting to realize ’twas a goofy fad & were trying to sneak out into mo’ respectable genres. If I actually took seriously “nu-metal” as a specific genre & didn’t just use it as “metal from the noughties”, which apparently includes Nickelback, for my own conveniences, I wouldn’t include this album.

¿Why did I choose this album, which is their least funny & memetic, & also the least representation o’ their sound? I promise it is not due to certain recent events that have reignited last October ( ¡I said no politics in October, world! ) & which shall go unnamed for now. I would actually say the answer is in the question: ¿wouldn’t a very unfunny album that sounds significantly different from their normal styles ( I would say their 3rd & 4th album have noticeable differences in style & they wouldn’t really solidify their style till their 4th album ) be very interesting to look @? ¿No? Well, tough shit, ’cause that’s what we’re doing. I’m driving the car round here.

1. Prayer

This was the 1st single on this album & very, very rarely played on the radio — a’least after their 3rd album came out & this song was no longer fresh.

I always assumed this song was ’bout Draiman’s father dying, with lines like, “another life that I’ve taken from you / a gift to add onto your pain and suffering”, but the elders o’ Genius strangely make no mention o’ this well-known background fact. Instead, they emphasize it being inspired by the Book of Job:

The theme in the song is inspired by the book of Job, in which God allows for Satan to test Job’s piety with multitudes of different curses. Instead of turning away from God, Job however is strengthened in his religious fervor, he refuses to turn away from God no matter what the trials.

&, yeah, a Biblically-inspired work ’bout one’s strained feelings ’bout God are inevitably going to reference that big Bible story ’bout humanity’s strained relations with God ( tho if one wanted to be exotic — or emo — one could reference “Ecclesiastes” ). Howe’er the way Genius says it makes it sound like a ✝-rock Sunday-school lesson, whereas if you listen to the lyrics, there is a clear sarcastic tone to it — which, to be fair, is mo’ in line with the real Job rather than the way Sunday schools have sanitized him. Like Job, Draiman sounds less “strengthened in his religious fervor”, as Christians interpret the story, &, mo’ in line with Jewish sentiments, resigned. Thus, if I may be so blasphemous, I must politely disagree with Genius’s interpretation. Also, Christians totally get the Book of Job wrong, as well as most o’ the ol’ testament — seriously, Isaiah was talking ’bout his wife, not some virgin giving birth.

Genius also claims that in the music video “the band members go through a modern interpretation of Job’s trials”. Unfortunately, the YouTube link they provide is gone now, but if you watch the music video I provide ’bove, you won’t really see much o’ Job’s trials, ’less you think Job seeing homeless men & prostitutes were his trials ( spoiler: they weren’t ). I certainly don’t remember any scene in Job where he & his useless idiot ”friends” who just shit-talk him thruout the story rock out o’er urban rubble. Admittedly, the story might’ve been improved if it did, but they didn’t have the technology back then.

Honestly, I think this album had better choices for a single, specially the 1st. I do like the melodic bridge & choruses ( well, ’cept when Draiman interrupts his soulful pleading with an abrupt, “¡ROCK!” ), & I do like the crunchy texture o’ the guitar riffs, which I’d know how to describe if I knew anything ’bout music; but the actual guitar composition feels plain, as do the verses.

Grade: B

2. Liberate

“Liberate” is a song about having an open mind, to liberate ones mind from conflict based on blind hatred and different beliefs. It’s calling for the day that every major religion has foretold; the coming of the messiah and the end of days.

Holy shit, these Genius annotations are by someone who thinks Disturbed is a Christian rock band. I ne’er thought Disturbed lyrics would be o’er the head o’ Genius, but that is the world we live in. As anyone who knows any religion but Christianity knows, “the coming of the messiah and the end of days” is most definitely not a part o’ e’ery major religion. This annotation misses the sarcasm ’hind the line “waiting for your modern messiah”. This song was released a year after 9/11 & when war was being stoked by the religious right with heavy Islamophobic sentiments. The meaning ’hind the sick reference to Isaiah in the bridge “nation shall not raise sword gainst nation / & they shall not learn war anymore” could not be clearer. It is, in fact, an expression o’ an ol’ tradition o’ religious criticism: pointing out hypocrisy.

This song, the 2nd single & the 1 that was played way more oft, is the most nu-metal-sounding on this album, & the only time Draiman does his patented scatsinging. Since Draiman clearly was mo’ concerned with having words that fit well with the meter than the profoundest words, the verses & pre-choruses ( which are just repeated the 2nd time ) are rather vague & basic… But damn are they catchy & fun to sing ’long to — & let’s face it: in music, that’s what matters most. This song is very cheesy, specially with the liberal uses o’ “motherfucker” in the verses contrasted gainst the sorrowful pleading chorus & the dignified scripture verse in the bridge, but that kind o’ weird mixture is what I like most o’ nu-metal. Certified nu-metal expert J. J. W. Mezun proclaims this to be a banger. Amen.

Grade: A

3. Awaken

This is, in my opinion, the most underrated Disturbed song o’ all time. I don’t mean due to memes or any extreme cheesiness ( tho the parrotlike “¡ACK!”s & “SHUAH!”s strewn thru the chorus would be a candidate if Draiman didn’t make much weirder sounds on other songs, as well as the repeated line ’talking ’bout how the narrator wants to “play with your evil side” 😉 ). I just think this is his best singing with the most range, alternating ’tween the menacingly quiet & tepid verses & angry choruses, specially the bridge, which goes e’en further with the menacing quietude. I e’en like the very noisy guitarwork, which I’m usually not crazy ’bout from Disturbed, specially the way it transitions the 1st chorus & the 1st verses & the stringlike sound o’ the guitar & baseline under the bridge.

Genius clearly doesn’t agree with me, as they ain’t said shit ’bout this song. To be honest, I have no idea what this song is ’bout & ne’er felt burdened by that lack o’ knowledge. I think I always assumed ’twas ’bout the temptation o’ sin, which, now that I think ’bout it, is what later songs on this album will be ’bout, too.

Grade: S

4. Believe

This feels like a better “Prayer”, laying on e’en thicker the cynicism on religious belief, specially with the quiet, sing-songy verses ( matched with a sing-songy main riff that goes DUM-DUM, DUH DUM-DUM, DUM-DUM, DUH DUM-DUM ), only to build-up to louder chants for a chorus telling the reader that their beliefs are useless, they’re still rotten, sinful creatures, only to become an intense thumping rhythm during the bridge, only to end with the very soft line, “burn your lie”.

Genius has this to say ’bout this song:

“Believe when you lie, teaching the art of deception. It is the teacher speaking to the student. The theologians continuing their legacy of lies. For the perpetuation of such false beliefs, penance cannot absolve your sin.”

I don’t know if this is a quote from Draiman explaining the song’s meaning or the anonymous author wanted to rant their sick philosophical beliefs & decided the annotation for a Disturbed song was the best place. Sadly, the YouTube link is as lost as the Annals o’ Solomon. ( The Anals o’ Solomon, howe’er, can still be found on RedTube ).

Grade: A

5. Remember

When I 1st heard this album, I wasn’t in love with this song, but my opinion on this song has probably risen mo’ than any other song on this album. While the singing lacks the variety that “Awaken” has, it is, specially the choruses, hands-down Draiman’s best singing. The music, while certainly not terrible, is kind o’ basic, tho.

The music video, which I’d ne’er seen — probably ’cause MTV was probably playing their 100th reality TV show @ the time instead — doesn’t do the drama o’ the song justice, howe’er, as it seems to be the band jamming out while watching Phantom of the Opera porn — probably with a name like “Phantom of the Cock” or “Phallus of the Opera”.

Grade: A

6. Intoxication

This song’s a fine ’nough banger, & I like how the fast-paced, shouting verses make way for the erratic pre-chorus rhythm, both o’ which fit well for a song ’bout intoxication, & then the slower, mo’ soulful chorus as the singer laments said intoxication. I do think the verses could’ve been mo’ fast-paced. I mean, “Liberate” was mo’ fast-paced, & that was just ’bout liberating your mind, man, which, I guess, some people would say is a better drug. ( “¡you’re better than drugs!”. ¡No! ¡We’re not s’posed to talk ’bout Skillet yet! ).

Grade: B

7. Rise

I’ve ne’er been crazy ’bout this song. It’s a bit schmaltzy. I mean, the verses & main chorus with its generic lyrics telling you to rise up ( gamers ) in such an “inspiring” voice is the only time this album begins to sound like ✝-rock. If it sounded less generic, I’d buy it. & while it doesn’t sound bad, I don’t know how I feel ’bout the cheesy line in the pre-chorus, “¿do you really think i covet like you do?”. I mean, ¿maybe? You are the guy who sang “Meaning of Life”’s “give in, give in, decide”.

That said I do like the downtuned guitars in the post-chorus where he asks, “¿am I precious to you now?” & the very quiet quaking sounds after the 2nd post-chorus. & believe it or not, I don’t mind the ending with the cheesy lyrics o’ “pure emotion falling from my eyes”, which a’least don’t sound smug like the “covet like you do” line, but its mood is ruined by the return o’ the generic chorus. ’Gain, if the chrous were really good, I’d appreciate it, but there are much better songs that do what this song does.

Grade: C

8. Mistress

I’m not the biggest fan o’ Disturbed’s instrumentation, but I will say that I think this song’s opening riffs are ’mong their best. In contrast, I’m not wild ’bout Draiman’s singing here, which is way too high-pitched.

I’m not sure what this song has to do with this album’s general theme o’ spiritual inner conflict, & like many o’ the nu-metal bands we’ve looked @, the lyrics seem hopelessly vague & abstract:

to stand on the edge of the knife
cutting through the nightmare from which
I just cannot awaken
stand on the edge of the night
living inside a moment
from which I will never awaken

That’s deep, bro.

fallen again for another
mistress of burden to idolize
hoping that 1 of them will decide
to let me in

look at what you’ve done to me
you’ve become my enemy
poisoning the world for me

This is disturbingly starting to sound like an incel anthem. Let’s move on.

Grade: B

9. Breathe

Ne’er been a big fan o’ this song, either, from the weird DUH-DUH-DUH DUH-DUH-DUH squeaky guitar riffs, bizarrely mixed with the stilted, slow singing, specially since the lyrics are specially vague & uninspired here, with generic lines ’bout “releasing your life” repeated in the verses, choruses, & e’en the bridge. It’s very repetitive, & without the fun o’ “Liberate”’s internal-rhyme-filled scatting.

& then you have the chorus with its awkward “DAMNS” that sound like Shadow the Hedgehog is singing this song:

you’ll never leave alive
now, do you think you’re too DAMN good
for the killing kind

This just reminds me o’ that Nickelback song, “Feeling Too Damn Good”, or whate’er ’twas called. I’m pretty certain only dads use the phrase “damn good”; the hip kids o’ today say, “pibbfizzing”. If Mr. John Disturbed had said that, this song would be good.

Grade: C

10. Bound

Genius returns to annotating to tell us this is a breakup song, which doesn’t fit with this album’s otherwise mo’ serious religious themes, & makes the mo’ somber music & singing that are still on this song seem o’erwrought. I mean, this song starts by shouting, “¡darkness cover me!”. & yet the lyrics don’t sound anywhere near upset, but mo’ just annoyed:

o, I’m not ready to die, girl
because of what you don’t tell me
i’m not willing to compromise the man I want to be

think you’re a little bit closer
to changing me
you’re never winning me over
you’re wasting time

Honestly, e’erything ’bout this song — the guitar riffs & drums, the singing, the lyrics — sound like generic filler. The tempo & tone o’ singing changes rapidly & jerkily, but not in a way that’s interesting. ¿What is the tone o’ this song s’posed to be? It sounds like the singer’s s’posed to be going thru a comic mental breakdown, specially when he shouts, “¡ready!” & “¡darkness cover me!” out o’ nowhere.

Grade: D

11. Devour

Mo’ squeaky guitarwork. Still, the menacingly slow verses & melodious chrous are better than the past few songs, tho not as good as songs in the 1st half o’ this album. Plus, it’s funny to imagine Draiman singing ’bout wanting to eat the listener, especially with how serious the singing is. This song should’ve gotten a music video instead o’ those other songs.

Grade: C

12. Darkness

You would think Disturbed doing an acoustic ballad would be a terrible idea, — certainly their infamous cover o’ “The Sound of Silence” would lead one to expect such — but I actually think this was well-done & makes a perfect album ender. The lyrics feel mo’ broad than generic, which is helped by the slowness o’ this song providing few words. & the singing has just ’nough variation in tone to keep it from sounding monotonous, which is the common flaw o’ boring slow songs.

If anything, it’s too bad this song is preceded by all the weak songs that come before it. Hearing Draiman sing ’bout wanting to eat the listener leading directly to this is quite a whiplash.

Grade: A

All right, next month I’ll review an actually funny album.

Posted in Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal

Let’s Celebrate ¡Hey Seuss! Christopher VII Rebirth with the Raddest Band Your Grandmother Lets You Listen to, Thousand Foot Krutch — Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal

All right, all you sinners: get out your angel horns &, as their biggest song goes, get ready to ¡MOOOVE! & step into the circle & shake like green dew ( I don’t care if the official lyrics say “like we do”: as a kid I heard “green dew”, & nobody will change my mind on this subject. The 1st Council o’ Nicaea has made their decision ).

1. Phenomenon

This song’s lyrics are less cringe & mo’ miracle-spherical word-taco rap that any 5th-tier rapper could spit & I wouldn’t spit out my drink. Like a lot o’ Thousand Foot Krutch songs, there’s a lot o’ vague incitements to dance with only vague references to faith: “raise up the lighters, praise to the righteous”. ¿Isn’t raising your lighter usually something you do for slow, moving songs, not bops? If you’re following the advice o’ a later line to “¡roll! open your soul, maybe lose control” then you’re liable to accidentally fling your lighter or bump it into someone & possible start a fire. Awfully irresponsible for this godly band to inspire pyromania.

Other lines are weirder:

don’t let these spiders crawl up beside us
they want to bite us, inject the virus

¿What does Thousand Foot Krutch have gainst spiders? The only place where they’re mentioned in The Bible is the book o’ Job, 1 o’ the world’s earliest emo songs, where he just calls their webs useless. It wasn’t spiders who tasted o’ the wicked fruit o’ knowledge. Spiders are innocent & will all be written in the book o’ the saved when the floods come once mo’.

Mo’ puzzling are these lines from the bridge:

i’m not invisible like you
next time things get a little messed up

¿Who’s “you”? ¿Me? I’m not invisible. ¿Why does Thousand Foot Krutch ( I’m gonna get sick o’ typing that name ) assume their audience is invisible? They don’t learn “Vanish” till they get the Phantom magicite from the Magitek Research Facility.

This is mo’ absurd when you consider the lines that come just before:

tired of being ordinary
don’t care if there’s people staring

I mean, if your audience is invisible, they should definitely not care if people are staring. ¿Staring @ what? ¿People dancing? That’s what people do in the concerts this song was clearly aimed @. ¿What idiots would be gawking @ people dancing @ a rock concert?

Genius’s annotation for this album includes this line:

The song is about being bold and confident in your faith, and getting down to the beat of this Christian song.

This was either written by an middle-aged youth pastor or someone making fun o’ people who listen to this band. I refuse to believe that e’en 80% o’ the people who listen to this band unironically would use the phrase “getting down to the beat of this Christian song”.

Vague lyrics aside, I have to admit that this song is catchy, tho not nearly as much as “Move”, which, now that I think ’bout it, is clearly just them doing this song ’gain, with its vague lyrics exhorting its listeners to dance. For 1, this song’s actual music, its guitar riffs, bass riffs, & drumbeats, are generic, whereas “Move” had cool high-pitched noodly notes.

Grade: B

2. Step To Me

See, now this song’ got a pretty cool bassline. Tho I don’t know how I feel ’bout the weird muffled “dow-now-dow-now” riffs that come up e’ery now & then.

& like “Phenomenon”, this song has a catchy chorus with lyrics that are hopelessly vague.

Actually, this song’s chorus falls right into Cartmanesque love songs for Jesus territory, asking someone to “hold me tight in your arms tonight” while later telling this addressee “you’re my answer to the question why”.

This becomes e’en mo’ confusing when we look @ the verses, which take a much different tone:

i’m sick of letting you control
me & all the places that i go
i’m never giving in to you again
take, take another look @ me
take another look
& tell me what you see
all of these cats tryin’ to get under my skin
but they can’t step over me

Now the person he’s talking to ( ¿the same person? ) is an antagonistic figure whose not going to step to them, bro. Indeed, near the end o’ the song the singer asserts, “but you can’t hold me”, which is the exact opposite o’ what he was requesting in the chorus. Either the chorus & verses are aimed @ different people & the lyricist didn’t bother to connect them or the singer in this song is a tsundere.

Deep within all these vague words o’ “I love you” & “No, you cats ain’t controllin’ me, son” is this weird line:

couldn’t see it ’til I multiplied you

These lyrics are building a consistent case that Thousand Foot Krutch are engaging in witchcraft & must be burned @ the stake ( that song, which is a hard S-grade, is a treat to you, the reader, for being good ).

Let’s see if Genius can elucidate these quandaries:

“Step To Me” depicts TFK frontman Trevor Mcnevan’s battle in his beliefs between accepting and allowing God to be in control of his life, and being in denial and frustrated by God.

So it is decreed canon by the priests o’ song meanings: this song is ’bout wanting to hate-fuck God. Real rad o’ Thousand Foot Krutch to cover a Nine Inch Nails song.

Grade: B

3. Last Words

When I was young I always thought this song was just a less-good “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind. Howe’er, thanks to Genius’s annotation & rereading the lyrics, I have discovered that rather than this song being an uplifting song from a nonsuicidal person toward somebody considering suicide, it is, in fact, ’bout the dead person apologizing for dying:

i’m sorry i left you
i’m living in a world of regret
don’t cry if you can hear me
i never meant to hurt you dearly
i’m so wrong sincerely
don’t stop
take life seriously

Now, Genius only says that this person “probably killed themself”, &, indeed, the lyrics are vague ’nough that it could just be someone dead regretting how useless their life was sitting round just masturbating all day before dying o’ diabetes ’cause they ate nothing but McDonalds — or how sinful was their life sitting round just masturbating all day before dying o’ diabetes ’cause they ate nothing but McDonalds. That’s a good thing for TFK, as writing a song depicting a suicidal person as the asshole is, ironically, an assholish move in itself. Actually, ’less this person was a real asshole in life ( ’gain, the lyrics are so vague that we get no information beyond “there’s so much I’ve done wrong” & mumblings ’bout “all the times I’ve lied and hurt you”, which could be referring to anything from Walter White running a secret meth business to secretly masturbating to porn all day in shame ’hind their loved one’s back ), depicting the dead person as an asshole for being dead is still an assholish move.

Anyway, the singer then goes on to exhort the listener — you — to treasure life & all its sunsets & to “thank God in the morning for another day” — preferably before or after you start your morning jerk-off session, as God doesn’t want to talk to you while you’re doing that kind o’ thing, or while you’re using the bathroom, by the way, you weirdo.

But halfway thru the 2nd verse, the advice gets confusing:

those people
please love them
don’t hate them
we’re not above them
you can have everything but have nothing
listen I’ve got to tell you something

¿Who are “those people”? ¿People who die? ¿Suicidal people? ¿Sinners? I’m listening, but you’re not telling me anything @ all.

Unfortunately, ’cause o’ this, this song didn’t work for me, as I still just ended up wasting the rest o’ my day masturbating, & now I still haven’t caught up on my ¡Mega Microstories! backlog. Worse yet: ¡I forgot to thank God this morning for creating ’nother day! ¡How rude! ( They make 1 e’ery day: @ a certain point it stops becoming impressive & starts becoming rote ).

The chorus is decently catchy, but the singer’s voice gets real squeaky & annoying in this song. Also, the riffs, baselines, & drums just feel like random sputtering, specially @ the beginning.

Grade: D

4. This Is A Call

This is a hokey-ass ballad — & considering how white this band’s “hard” songs are, you can only imagine how supernova this shit is. I want to specially emphasize the chorus melody ,— what has, so far, been the best part o’ these songs — which is some square-dance “dum de dum de dum dum, dum de dum de dum dum” shit. I hate it.

The lyrics are the cheesiest shit e’er, including the vital inclusion o’ the mother with cancer. Best o’ all, the singer follows up this revelation with the rhyme, “& her friends don’t understand her”.

The 2nd verse is much less dramatic, being mostly ’bout some guy whose useless & has a boring life & probably spends all day masturbating. So that verse is ’bout Jon Arbuckle.

These are my favorite lines in this song:

take me to a place where nothing’s wrong &
thanks for coming, shut the door


well if you’re real then save me Jesus

Jesus: <I have some bad news for you…>.

Grade: S & F

5. Rawkfist


1st, ¿what the hell is that haircut that the guitarist has in this music video? Also, I love how @ the end o’ the music video — after the singer drops his final rawkfist — they all start glowing. Presumably God has looked down @ their wicked ( ¡but in a good way! ) tune & has prematurely given them eternal life so he can listen to their rad beats for eternity.

¿What else is there for me to say ’bout this song? As soon as you are hit with those immortal words screamed out loud —

¡throw up your rawkfist!
¡if you’re feelin’ it when I drop this!

— you know you’re in for the ultimate o’ nu-metal cheese.

If you don’t believe me when I tell you that Thousand Foot Krutch puts Kendrick to shame, let me show you these sharp lyrics:

show ’em how we slow this spot, let ‘s make it hot
let’s shock ’em with the bodyrock ’til the party stops
it’s time to take it up a notch & keep it locked
for all the headbangers in the parking lot
here we come if you’re ready or not
no time to talk ’cause we on the clock
bringin’ that ¡uhh! ¡uhh! to your block
let me show ya where we’re comin’ from, it don’t stop

Um, ¿what is this “¡uhh! ¡uhh!” they are bringing to my block? Perhaps they should keep that to themselves privately.

The chorus is, bizarrely, much calmer ’bout all it took to both make & break this amazing music. For the LORD said to Adam, “For dust thou art, & unto dust shalt thou return”; & so the LORD’s favorite rock band that their grandmother will let them listen to shalt say to their song, “For cheese thou art, & unto cheese shalt thou return”. Amen.

Let’s see what chapter 5 o’ the book o’ Genius says o’ this song:

A standout single from Thousand Foot Krutch’s first album with Tooth & Nail Records.

I mean, yeah, it definitely stands out.

Rawkfist is a fan favorite track, reaching #28 on Billboard’s U.S. mainstream rock charts in 2004.

I refuse to believe that hardcore Thousand Foot Krutch fans aren’t as hipster as the rest & aren’t saying shit like, “Um, their early work before they went mainstream was their true best work”. I mean, I read someone on TV Tropes claim that fucking Skillet apparently soured when they started touring with Papa Roach & Three Days Grace. Imagine having the delusion that Skillet is too good to tour with Papa Roach & Three Days Grace. Yeah, they totally belong next to Tame Impala & King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.

ESPN’s Sports Center used it for their Ultimate Highlight showcases during the program. The TV Series Smallville used it in the episode “Velocity” in season 3.

The idea o’ this song being used in these 2 places amused me so much that I had to look them up. I couldn’t find the 1st, but luckily I found the scene from Smallville:

Seeing this scene with youngster Superman locked in baby Lex Luthor’s devious trap where he’s poisoned with kryotonite ignited by race cars while this song plays is the very definition o’ heaven described in Dante Alghieri’s divine comedy — ’cause that’s what it is, comedy antikryptonite.

Also notable for being one of the few tracks off of Phenomenon that showcased their rap/hip-hop influences from their debut studio album “Set it Off.”

¿What? All o’ these songs so far ’cept the ballad have had rapped verses. ¿Did the person who wrote this not listen to the rest o’ the album?

Grade: 🪨✊

6. Faith, Love, and Happiness

O, right… There’s mo’ than half this album left. Whoopie.

Actually, I think I can sympathize with these lyrics:

everyone is up in my face
need to get outta this place
it’s hard to see with you in front of my face
just another perfect day
acting like they wanna talk to me
so fake
yet so friendly
my eyes can see even the back of me
¿won’t you just let me be?

O, wait, ne’ermind:

all I want is faith, love & happiness

Speak for yourself: I don’t want that shit.

I do like how they sneak in 1 mo’ misanthropic line just after that:

every time one runs away another one’s returning

You said, it, brother. Amen.

Hey, wait… ¿What’s this?

every which way I turn I’ve got the option of a million choices
every single word I say is judged by a million critics
every which way you turn you got the sound of a million voices
every single move you make is torn by a million cynics

Shit, they saw me comin’. ¡Turn the car around!

This is your 1st album anyone cared ’bout. Cracka, a million critics weren’t sayin’ shit ’bout you yet.

So spake Genius:

Generalizing the common issues and hardships that people face in this world, singer Trevor Mcnevan believes that in order to be content with our lives, we need a solid relationship with God.

Well, you can tell God — who I know was responsible for this being written, I know you’re there, God — I told them they need to give me some space, as I’m not emotionally ready for commitment right now.

Sonically, this song is fine. I kind o’ like the rhythm o’ the verses. Apparently TFK did, too, as they reuse it for the chorus. The music itself is just chugga-chugga rock riffs, tho.

Grade: C

7. I Climb

I fucking hate this stop-&-go melody all thruout the verses, pre-choruses, & choruses, not helped by the whining tone thruout the singing. There’s also an ugly airiness to how the instruments sound.

¿What does Genius have to say ’bout this song?, ’cause the lyrics are, like always, hopelessly vague:

Also likely a continuation of narration in the story from the previous tracks “Last Words” and “Faith, Love and Happiness,” this song is about how the individual(s) mentioned are struggling with their outlook on life, and how they are occasionally able to see past their problems and realize God’s love and care for them.

Ugh. ¿So it’s just a rehash o’ the previous song? I’m getting a sneaking suspicion that this band, like many mid-tier bands, had only a couple good songs & filled the rest with filler.

Grade: F

8. Quicken

This song is all o’er the place, specially the verses, which slow & speed up in erratic ways. Just listen to the 2nd verse. Sadly, none o’ it leads to anything catchy or interesting, & the lyrics are… what you expect.

Grade: D

9. New Design

Genius didn’t e’en bother to make an annotation for this song, presumably ’cause e’en the only fan who cared ’nough to write the earlier entries got bored & stopped listening by this point. Similarly, we don’t need to say anything ’bout this song.

Grade: 😴

10. Bounce

All right, we’re back to that rippity rapping:

it’s TFK
we rock the party
& keep the party jumpin’ in an old school way

¡Ha, ha, ha! “Old school”. Yeah, they’re rocking the party like Moses did in 1200 BC. ¡Real hiphop, honkey!

You know they slay like King David with lines like this:

play for a team that’s called “not to mess with”

O shit, I don’t mess with any team called “not to mess with”. ¡They be endin’ those sentences with prepositions, dawg!

& check out the scenario

You know, I was going to make fun o’ them for ripping off A Tribe Called Quest, but then realized I mixed up their lines “Check the rhime [sic]” & “¿What’s the scenario?”, so that hilarious joke doesn’t work. But, you know what, you readers have been so patient with these boring album-end filler songs that I think you deserve a treat in the form o’ an actually good rap song, so here you go:

Grade: ⚔️

11. Ordinary

This song is so lazy it just repeats the exact verse twice. The singer also doesn’t bother keeping any kind o’ coherent melody thruout this song, with a particularly boring chorus melody. I would make a joke ’bout this song being ordinary itself, but it’s actually a weird mix o’ weird, but not in an interesting way.

Genius also had nothing to say ’bout this song. In fact, spoiler, they have nothing mo’ to say ’bout the rest o’ this album, as e’en the hardcore TFK fan who was writing them fell off before this point. I may be the only person lame ’nough to go thru this whole album.

Grade: D

12. Break the Silence

¡The last song! ¡We’re almost free! ¡Thank you LORD up high!

This song sounds just like the previous few, with the exception o’ the Korn-like “om-ne-om-ne-om-ne-om” scatting in the bridge. The chorus melody isn’t bad… but it’s not good ’nough that I will e’er listen to this song ’gain.

Grade: C

It’s unfortunate that this album fell off so hard @ the end, as the 1st 6 songs offered so much potential. Such is the risk o’ me stupidly reviewing an entire album.

Posted in Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal

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