Here at The Daily Campus, we receive a plethora of freestuff from record labels eager for some good reviews. Sometimesit’s little more than a sampler of a group’s latestefforts, sometimes it’s a full album. For the longest time,this mountain of music has remained untouched for fear of what liesbeneath its shrink-wrapped surface of bad cover art and exclamationmark-laden cover letters. After all, if a record label has resortedto sending full albums to a college newspaper, they must bedesperate.
But no longer — I have taken it upon myself to diveheadfirst into this stagnant pool of mediocrity and bring to thesurface the very worst that music has to offer. You may not agree,you may think I’m too harsh, but that’s the nature ofthis business. This is Bad Press.
Killradio — Raised on Whipped Cream
There was once a time when being political and angst-ridden wasa novelty. Granted, it was a long time ago, but the point is, itused to be fresh.
But after Rage Against The Machine and Nirvana crashed on therocks of the music industry, these kinds of acts are the rule,rather than the exception.
Now it seems as though every other musical act consists of a guyscreaming into a mic about how commercialism is destroying oursociety, how terrible President So-and-so is, and how bleak lifeis. It doesn’t even take effort anymore.
Killradio is one such act. Packing transparent, ham-fistedlyrics and thoroughly conventional musical accompaniment, Killradiosounds like every other “loud and angry” band that camebefore them.
They even pull the “opening a song with a long, drawn outscream” stunt on more than one occasion.
This kind of thing has been done so often that it has gonebeyond being “trite” and “unoriginal” intothe dangerous territory of being “incrediblystupid.”
And it won’t be the first thing in this album that earnsthat description.
Raised on Whipped Cream has a little bit of everything.You’ve got a vaguely anarchist song called”A.M.E.R.I.K.A,” for instance.
Killradio never explains what this acronym stands for, butI’m assuming they threw the “K” in there becauseit’s how all the edgy, pseudo-intellectual, upper-middleclass white kids spell it when they feel like raging against themachine.
How terribly original.
We also get a track called “Entertained,” which isessentially the musical equivalent of a nobody band shaking itssmall, insubstantial fist at the entertainment industry.
“Be the best entertained and the least informed, cause whoneeds information when you haven’t got a soul.” Thankyou, Killradio. I had no idea that the entertainment industry was avapid, shallow corporate plaything. It’s a topic that hasnever been addressed before! You are the first!
My eyes are open for the very first time.
The rest of the album follows this same pattern, beating thedead horses of “school sucks” and “advertisingsucks,” pausing briefly to explore the innovative subject of”war sucks.”
It’s not so much that the music is bad. It’s justbeen done a hundred times before, and done a hundred timesbetter.
With lyrics like something out of a sullen 13-year-old’s”poetry notebook,” Killradio doesn’t so much rageagainst the machine as whine against it.
Ironically, they dedicate the album to “music that isterrible.” I don’t think I even need to comment onthat. It kind of speaks for itself.
Macy Gray — The Very Best of Macy Gray
This album title is a lie. Macy Gray has no good songs. Theend.
Hazen St. — Hazen St.
Sometimes, when you take elements from several good things andcombine them, the end result is not very good at all.
Hazen St. is a band comprised of members from several New Yorkhardcore rock bands, like H20, Madball, Box Car Racers and theCro-Mags.
The product of this union is a group of almost stereotypicallyheavily tattooed thugs who name themselves after the street thatRiker’s Prison is located on in NYC.
As you can probably guess, many of the songs are about pastexperiences in prison and life on the rough streets.
Considering the roots of the band members, it’sdisappointing to see that the music they produce has less in commonwith hardcore rock and more in common with pop-punk.
Hazen St. has the requisite power chord riffs, the catchychorus hooks and radio-friendly melodies. These are not hallmarksof hardcore rock.
This is the kind of stuff that insipid bands like Good Charlottehave claimed as their territory. It sounds manufactured anduninspired compared to the harsh, raw quality of true hardcorerock.
Also, Hazen St. suffers from some of the same megalomania thataffected the previously reviewed Killradio. Convinced of their ownimminent success, Hazen St. closes with a track containingthe stirring chorus of “We are starting something, wewon’t back down, not for nothing.”
First of all, that’s a double negative. I don’t havetime for no double negatives.
Second of all, I hate it when bands sing about themselves ingrandiose tones. I don’t need you to tell me how great youare. I can figure that out for myself.
And brother, I can tell you right now, you’re nothing towrite home about.