Bad Press: Love letters from the abyss

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My job is a thankless one. I consider it my duty and my sacrifice to listen to bad music so you won’t have to. Sometimes people disagree with me and that’s all right; everyone is entitled to their opinion, even when that opinion is dumb and wrong. Unfortunately, music is apparently one of those hot-button issues over which normally rational, sane human beings will transform into raving, foaming-at-the-mouth fanatics. It has been my experience that an individual’s taste in music trails somewhere behind religion and politics as one of the most dangerous ways to insult someone.

For instance, if it weren’t for the fact that their listeners consist almost entirely of 13 year-olds who shy away from sunlight and – I suspect – lack the ability to read, I could say that an Insane Clown Posse CD is a waste of plastic, better served as a coaster than as a source of music, and I would be inundated with dozens poorly-spelled letters of righteous, pathetic fury. People latch onto music as a means of defining themselves. When that comes under attack, they lash out, as if defending their young from a cold-blooded predator.

This is why the e-mail I received in response to my column last Friday perplexes me. I have re-read the e-mail several times and I cannot figure out what exactly upset this person so much that he had to rush to a computer and let out his anger through a frantic mashing of keys. However, it is clear that he is angry at me about something. I am simply too untrained a detective to find out for myself.

Let’s examine the scene of the crime:


Subject: reviews

Why don’t you review something you know because music isn’t it. Ska (who the **** listens to that ****) maybe if your gay. I’m not much into death metal or Otep but as far as metal musicians looks and styles yeah some do look the same but so do you and all the ****ing preps at SMU. Oh bye the way Evil j is the bass player you might try better informing yourself next time.

I imagine that it is a highlight of a music critic’s day when they receive a haphazardly written hate letter. I know it was the highlight of mine. But soft: let us continue our examination of the evidence, one sentence at a time.

“Why don’t you review something you know because music isn’t it.”

First of all, let me commend you on your exceedingly clever e-mail alias. Bonghit63. It possesses a raw power, a subtle, yet forceful zest that rolls off the tongue like the finest Dutch chocolate. It explains so much, particularly the rudimentary language skills and the proclivity to crude profanity. It is rare that I see an e-mail address that conveys so much information in a single word. And back to the question: I would, but they won’t let me review the quadratic formula, nor do I think I would want to.

“Ska (who the **** listens to that ****) maybe if your gay.”

If my gay what? I didn’t even know I had a gay, but now I know that my gay might be doing something that I am unaware of, possibly involving ska. Please write back soon with the thrilling conclusion to this sentence. I am on the edge of my seat.

“I’m not much into death metal or Otep but as far as metal musicians looks and styles yeah some do look the same but so do you and all the ****ing preps at SMU.”

A couple points here. First, if you’ve ever seen me, you’ll know that I’m about as far from “prep” as a human being can possibly be, short of a caveman maybe. Cavemen are not very prep. Although, I would like to see a caveman with a popped collar, I think that would be funny. Where was I? Oh yes. Secondly, for someone who “isn’t that much into death metal or Otep” you sure get antsy when I say negative things about them. Are you sure you’re not in death metal denial? I’m sure there are doctors out there who can help that sort of thing.

“Oh bye the way Evil j is the bass player you might try better informing yourself next time.”

You are correct, according to Otep’s website, Evil J is the bass player. I used the album jacket for my information, which was evidently struck by either a printing error or an overzealous production designer. The typeset was off throughout the entire inside jacket, rendering it virtually unreadable, save for brief pockets of clarity here and there. Upon closer inspection of Evil J’s listing, it reads “Evil J – bass; guitar on tracks 4 and 5.” “Guitar” is one of the clean words, as is “Evil J,” but everything else is blurry and incoherent. But I’ll concede the point anyway – Evil J is not the lead guitar of Otep. He is the bass player. Thank you, bonghit63. I think everyone’s day is a little bit brighter now.

All in all, I give this letter a D. I don’t recommend buying it at the store, but if a friend has a copy, hey, it might be your thing.

Let’s review just one real album before I sign off for this week:


I Am The Fun Blame Monster!

Okay, okay, this is really a “good press” thing more than a “bad press” thing. This album comes packaged in what is probably the coolest CD cover I have ever seen. It looks handmade, with a strip of (real) black tape serving as a CD spine. The paper itself looks repeatedly photocopied, with doodles of some kind of dragon thing on the cover. The cool part comes in when you open it. It “unfolds” into a sort of pop-up cartoon dragon head that holds the CD in its hand-drawn maw. Now that’s cool. I wish more bands packaged CDs like this.

Also, the music is kinda catchy in a quirky, jam sort of way. So yeah, I liked it. Even if the music itself was abysmal, it’d still get top marks for the “jewel case.”

That’s all I have for this week. Have a fun, safe Spring Break and remember: just say “NO” to bad music.

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