The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
A Folksy review by Sean M. Hebner
Exclusively written for
4 “Whosawhatsits” out of 5
Welcome to the first installment of “IT CAME…FROM MY WIFES CD WALLET!” This is a series where I’ll randomly take a CD from my beautiful wife Loretta’s collection and give it an honest listen and review.
I should point out that my wife and I have vastly different tastes in music. This will create the cognitive dissonance required to create a HILARIOUS review. Also, when I try to take an unbiased approach to music, I don’t generally have an emotional attachment to it which helps me become a REAL writer!
However, I’ll admit that this particular review is kind of cheating. I’ve been a fan of Folk and Filk music as long as I can remember. One of the first tapes I ever enjoyed as a child (that wasn’t Weird Al or Elton John) was Bay Filk 3, which was recorded in 1983 and featured a younger Mercedes Lackey (on backing vocals on one song) and an aging Peter S. Beagle (author of “The Llast Unicorn”). My mother owned the tape as it featured my former Cousin MEW (www.mewsic.com). Little did my mom know, that my eventual lust for Power Metal and other Folk infused genres of music would stem almost exclusively from this tape.
I say all this to imply that “Civil Wars” is a Folk album. I happen to like it a lot, thank you. Every spin of this record brings out new, exciting positives. The lyrics are a “joy” (HA GET IT!? This album is depressing!), a great mixture of classically influenced Folk and modern, poetic explorations of poetry. You could probably use some of these lyrics in a poetry class. They’re THAT GOOD. Take their single “Poison and Wine,” for example.
“Poison and Wine”*
I find it rare that a song so bitter and honest gets main stream air play. “Poison and Wine” has been referred to as Country and I can see why: once upon a time, this genre was this depressing:
I don’t love you and I always will
I don’t love you and I always will
I don’t love you and I always will
Editor/Boss-man Eric doesn’t know it yet but I’m going to make him cry again. (Editor/Boss-man Eric: Manliness challenge accepted)
I’ m fairly close to crying as I type this. That’s some lyrical heaviness neither of us has encountered since “The Magnetic Fields.” I’m sure Eric has heard more depressing lyrics, but perhaps not something we’ve been mutually exposed too.
Anyway, “Poison and Wine” starts out with the line “You only know what I want you to/I know everything you don’t want me to” and there is only a grand total of like 50 words to the song …and yet it instantly brings to mind relationships from my past. Specifically, dysfunctional relationships where the words “power balance” didn’t exist and from which the pain long dissipated is temporarily restored by these potent lyrics. Thankfully, they indirectly teach me to never repeat those mistakes and should a legitimately REAL problem arise in my marriage to just frickin’ TALK about it. This paragraph brought to you by Life©, ain’t it somthin’? (Editor/Boss-man Eric: life is the only thing worth living for)
Hope, the only thing left at the bottom of “Pandora’s Box” as a way to combat the evils of the world, feels in short supply on this album. I mean it IS here. However, the duo broke up last year only to reunite to make a new album this year, but they will NOT tour.
It seems that one member wants to get famous and the other wants to be a non-sellout. All the turmoil in the band has me thinking that the hope that’s tucked within this album is more superficial than I realized. For a duo this powerful to give up after existing since only 2008, it’s a wonder that they even lasted this long. I’ve found no information to tell which one wanted to end it and which one wanted to take off …your guess is as good as mine.
Not that I like proving my wife wrong about stuff, but while writing this review I told her “wow this is a really ‘hopeless’ album!” Of course, she immediately said “NO ITS NOT!”
The marriage argument game had begun! I countered her witty retort with my own, elucidating that “okay, maybe not ‘hopeless’ but it’s fairly dark…”
Then, I decided to look up the lyrics to the rest of the songs just to see if my instincts on the album were correct. Ammunition is important in this vital arguments, my friend. If you’re married, I know you’re nodding your head in agreement, male or female.
Well anyway, the first track is about a deadbeat father who, after 20 years, won’t claim responsibility for a child from a one night stand. Boom.
The title track “Barton Hallow” is about a man wanted for Murder in…heh, heh…Barton Hallow. He is never going back to the place that was once his home town. Boom boom.
In fact, reading through the lyrics revealed three songs focused on unrequited love, murder, regret, prostitution or just plain loneliness. Mostly Hopeless. Three out of 14 tracks is A LOT of dark….and I LOVED every minute of it.
Heck we can even dabble in cover songs that they did to see if their overall mood as a duo is better when being “casual.” Nope. The Civil Wars covered Portishead’s song “Sour Times” and Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean”, another song about denial of parental responsibility. They are a tour de force of depressing and heartbreaking heartbreakyness.
“My heart, in the parking garage, with the guitar…you win Civil Wars”
What can I conclude about this venture into my wife’s CD wallet? First of all, my wife’s favorite band is freaking awesome. However, I’m not surprised that they aren’t sustainable. Country music fans dip their toe into the depressing aspects of real life, but tend to confine them only to Johnny Cash or Willie or some other old hat star.
A new group that puts out Cash caliber depression doesn’t really work (at least as a business model) in a world of Brad Paisley or Taylor Swifts.
Yeah, Taylor Swift is mad, but she’s adorable, adorably mad with still less issues than one ALBUM from a duo that’s a bit older and a bit worse for wares. Lastly, my wife thinks this band deserves a seven out of five on the “Whosawhatsits” scale. I’m thinking she’s right…this is some of the best stuff if not THE best Main Line Country music…nay Main Stream Music period has produced in the last 5 years. So I’ve changed my original score to match her request because it really is that good.
Tune in next week when I do, some more METAL YEAH! Goodnight!
The Top 5 Weirdest Older Judas Priest Music Videos
A List by Sean M. Hebner
Written exclusively for Culture Fusion Reviews
While researching my “Painkiller” review last week, I came to a realization: Judas Priest is weird as fuck. This became especially obvious to me when I was compiling a list of “Weird Metal Music Videos” and I realized that most of them are all from the same band…Judas Priest. Welcome to part one of a potentially ongoing list of weird metal shit. Today, we focus on the “Top Five Weirdest Judas Priest Music Videos.” Who knows where we’ll go from here.
Just for the record I like/love all of these songs and I’m not critiquing the music, lyrics or performance. Yes, I even love the song that appeared on Bennet the Sage’s “Bad Songs by Good Bands” list. Sit back, relax, and bask in the manly glory that is Judas Priest and their strange obsessions.
The first time I saw this video, “music piracy” was called “sharing” and dial up was the only connection available. My little brother Kyle “shared” this video when he was about 11 or 12. Amusingly, it appears to be the only video that follows the plot to the song. “Hot Rockin’” is about pumping iron and going out. And yep, there’s Rob Halford doing manly pushups while the rest of the band works out behind him with their shirts off. So THAT’s what hot rocking is!
I’ve never seen the video from beginning to end. My current living situation is without reliable internets, which takes me back to me and my brother’s childhood of stopping the video due to laughing too hard.
OHHH internets working now…POCKET SAND!
This one clocks in at number five as it starts out weird and ends kinda relatively normal. I’d rate this video on my “Whosawhatsit” scale at 2 ½ because it would be a little dull without the song being SUPER awesome. But come on, this song is a Proto-Metal anthem which set up a legacy for the ENTIRE Genre of Heavy Metal. Gods bless you Rob Halford, Gods bless you!
#4-Got Another Thing Comin’
At first, this one feels out of place but a slight hint of weirdness oozes out from the beginning. A dude with a briefcase is walking about the place and is totally out of place. Pretty weird right? Not convinced? Skip to the end last 30 seconds: Rob Halford’s manliness gave him FUCKING SUPER POWERS!
He can blow up heads and drop pants at the same FUCKING TIME!!! I can hear the gang now as the obvious dummy’s pants fall down and they all laugh till they pee themselves. I know I had a good chuckle watching that unfold. I also want to point out the MANLY arm THRUSTS he uses to summon his Hidden superpower of HEAD EXPLODY!
Overall, and in spite of the amazing HEAD EXPLOSION I’d give this video a solid 2 on my “Whosawhatsit” scale as it takes a bit too long to get to the best part. But boy, is it the best.
Now, this music video is really funny! Let’s go point by point here: first, there’s the printed “freewheel burning” on the side of the F1 Machine; there’s the amazing solo in the background while the kid plays “Missile Command”; and who can forget the Pac-Man sound effects at the beginning? Am I listening to Pac-Man Fever all of a sudden? I wish!
Best of all, they put that Surgeon General warning at the end about Heavy Metal being hazardous to your health. Obviously, but what about Rob Halfords invading your video games? That seems more scary than the power of metal.
I mean, why does Rob hate little chubby boys? He follows this poor chubster through two video games to end his life-force! I know: Rob has FUTURE SIGHT (of course he does, the man has more random super powers than Superman) and he must have seen that the kid was going to be a future Hitler or something!
I’d also rate this video a solid 4 “Whosawhatsits” out of 5 as its cool and the people who watch it are cool.
#2- Turbo Lover
Freaky…everything is shot in negative in the background. Do you know what that means?!?! DYSTOPIAN FUTURE bitches!
And Rob unveils another super power: TIME TRAVEL. Group time travel at that as he’s still surrounded by his clearly bewildered band maates.
You may question why Rob Halford would time travel to a dystopian future but there’s only one possible answer: he has traveled forward in time to bring the MULLET and the gift of dance to… skeleton-robot-things!?
Sure. Why not? Rob’s hair is strange in this video. His hair has never been truly unruly but his random MULLET adds to the weirdness of this video.
Other than that, and thanks again to crappy internet, I rate this video a whopping 3 “Whosawhatsits” out of five cause it’s fun to watch but not super exciting.
This one is a winner! We’re still in the same universe from the “Turbo Lover” video in which Halford, the bastion of Manliness that he is, is kidnapped by sexy ladies who want him to dance into their pants.
Wait…they aren’t wearing pants. Uh . . . so they want to sex him up? Good luck with that.
I love how devil may care the band is while breaking him out. Their attitude seems to be one of “this happens ALL the time.” I’m quite sure it did: the wave of heavy metal singer kidnapping by deliriously horny groupies jumped over 10,000% after this video! Which is to say, it multiplied the previous amount of “zero” by “10,000.” Math is hard.
Anyways. Beyond the hot kidnapping babes, we got a skeleton bugging his eyes out and generally being a useless waste of video budget. Nah, I take that back: its hilarious and only enhances the insanity of the video.
Honestly, the skeleton and his pals alone boost this video up to a 4 ½ on my “Whosawhatsit” scale.
So what did we learn today kiddies? Well, Rob Halford is a super hero with the power to WOO women despite finding them sexually repulsive! He can also see into and then TRAVEL through time! He’s got the super strength needed to do lots of Push-Ups to the beat of pulse pounding music! And obviously…he can EXPLODE heads and remove pants! AT THE SAME TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!
Someone should write a comic book about him.
Tune in next week where I tackle a CD from my wife’s collection in an attempt to teach myself to be a REAL writer! Goodnight!
A Cage the Elephant “Discography” review
Written exclusively for the Culture Fusion Review Blog
by Sean M. Hebner
3 ½ whosawhatsits of 5
So think of two genera’s that don’t really mix; for example, Post-Punk and Psychedelic rock. Then now that you’ve mixed them …put them is the SAME song. Am I referring to some obscure underground 70’s band or 80’s band? Nope. Now take the same band, and write a slide guitar driven pop rock song with folk/rap like delivery. Are you getting warmer? Believe it or not that song I just described you’ve heard if you listen to college radio. OHHH! I hear you say out loud! That SONG that was also in that hit videogame! What the HELL is the name of that band!?! Elephant…something? Sure is! Cage the Elephant is a rock band from Bowling Green, Kentucky and they cross pop genera’s as often as Queen would have; provided that Queen was primarily influenced by The Pixies and being locked in some cabins in the hills of Kentucky.
So if you go and look for what to even call this band as far as genera’s are concerned, you will find the internet hard pressed to find a consistent definition of their music. Let us state for the record that I consider them “indie-rock” and will leave it with that. The reason for this is that an indie-rock band can look like “The Lumineers” or “Muse” so the definition can even be stretched to “Slayer” if you squint a little. Especially when we touch on their second effort, it sounds quite different from their first and this is not a bad thing.
So let’s look at this first album. If Dr. Who were to be translated into music, First it would be the obvious “Caught somewhere in time” by Iron Maiden (my personal favorite maiden album for anyone who cares) second (to represent is SECOND HEART HAHAHAAHAH …ok) would be Cage the Elephant’s self-titled. They are in a constant state of temporal flux. Bouncing from one dead genera to another; sometimes in the same song.
*caught SOME WERE IN TIIIIMMMEEE! While there ain’t no rest for the wicked*
They seriously will sound like The Pixies one minute then T rex the next; it’s both awesome and thought provoking at the same time.
I must say that I heard “Ain’t no rest for the wicked” on Borderlands and fell in love with the song. I find it funny how much that song fits the game with as tongue-in-cheek seriousness of the song. The game is far from serious but the tone of the song gives a great vibe with which to play the game.
I started on their second album so I was taken a back with how “normal” compared to the second this one is. But it’s by no means normal. Like I’ve been saying this whole review, it’s all over the map. But unlike its successor (which I’ll review next) is much more diverse.
(Here chew on this track)
Seriously listen to that…from post-punk to psychedelic!! This is a good solid album and I’d give it a higher arbitrary designation but it’s too accessible. Wow, I just realized they are following a similar arch to Mr. Bungle. I just hope they don’t fizzle out at three albums (which they are recording as of this review). There is a lot to love about this album. It starts off like a slow fused stick of dynamite and explodes. Ironically the first track “in one ear” addresses my complaints about the album and how little they care about reviews and complaints about their album.
Cage the Elephant’s self titled is NSFW so if you like this, AND YOU SHOULD LIKE THIS, you can’t play just anywhere. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews. Lyrics don’t make or break an album for me. I am a “practicing” Atheist and the lyrics to Cage the Elephant’s songs tend to have a Christian/ religious undertones. Those lyrics will give points with some and remove points from others. DON’T YOU FUCKING DARE! Cage the Elephant is TOO FUCKING GOOD to let a little thing like GOD get in the way. Not to mention that the references to faith are fairly well hidden unless you actually pay attention you won’t notice.
I wouldn’t really praise the lyrics of Cage the Elephant as clever so much as blunt. Going back to “in one ear” every lyric is a blunt stab at Haters. That trend continues well into the second album. My wife pointed out that “ain’t no rest for the wicked” was all clichés and some of lyrics to other songs are straight up stereo types. Effective is the best word I can think of to describe the lyrics of Cage the Elephant. Other than the previously mentioned GOD thing, the band probably doesn’t WANT to hide its meanings very much. In a generation of Ironic music, this is a legitimate breath of fresh air.
So over all, as far as first efforts go I’ll say this one is a winner. Every complaint I have about it is minor and overlookable based on the quality of the music and musicianship. I’m left with an overall good feeling and an entertained sense of being. Overall I recommend that you go out and buy this album. Unless your taste in music doesn’t allow for a chance at Cage the Elephant. Then in self-title’s case you aren’t missing THAT much. More on that next review.
Songs you should look up: James brown, Ain’t no rest for the wicked, the whole album
Editor: Sorry for the rather slow influx of reviews lately. Work has been steady. This summer will include way more reviews and even an expansion in our writers. I might not have to write every article every day any more! Anyways, here’s Sean M. Hebner’s latest, dipping his toes into his expansive metal music mind.
Top Ten Most Underappreciated Thrash Metal songs/bands/stuff
A list by Sean M. Hebner
The more I think about Thrash Metal…the more I LOVE it. The bulk of the communication about Thrash Metal revolves around “The Big Four.” For those not in-the-know, they are: Metallica, Megadeath, Slayer, and Anthrax.
However, a metal list recently counted Testament as a fifth member of this core group. The Problem with this list is that the Thrash Metal Universe is MUCH larger that five bands and it has evolved over the years into something quite different.
Thrash Metal takes many forms and bands of all shapes and colors make Thrash Songs. Metallica for example hasn’t written a Thrash song since the 80’s and Megadeath’s most recent album (‘13’ at the time of this review) is a Thrash Metal Masters course in what Thrash is/was/can-be.
There songs will be in no particular order. The only number that matters is Number one. I spose, I’ll get out of the way now.
Number One MOST underrated Thrash Song of all time:
GWAR- Crush, Kill, Destroy
Written and sang by Beefcake the mighty it contains 100% thrash metal and fucking KILLS at it. Second it contains 100% GWAR making it the Jesus of the Thrash Metal world. Can you HEAR how FAST this song is?!?!!? How Bone-Crushingly heavy it is?!!?! How it contains a reference to GOLDEN SHOWERS?!?!?!!? FUCK.YEAH. and that SOLO!?!? That BASS line?!?!?! Sweet Mother of FUCK. I LOVE this song. Add it to the list of shit you want your tomb stone to blare after your dead! They eat fucking Slayer for BREAKFAST, Slayer has not written a Thrash song this good. They. Just. Fucking. haven’t. Yes I know 2nd best trash album of all time. You heard me. But still.
Under Rated Thrash Stuff two-
That brings me to Kreator, the writer of the best Thrash Album of all time. That album is Enemy of God. The student ATE the masters HEART OUT with this album, as this album clearly would not exist without the original best Thrash Album of all time. For those being introduced to Thrash Metal with this article, that album is Slayers- Reign in Blood which I will touch on later. Some will disagree with me, saying that “there is no room for melody in Thrash Metal”
Counter point to that argument, go listen to the other 3 of the big four, then Testament, THEN listen to fucking Municipal Waste! ALL are (or where) Thrash as fuck, ALL use melody. Your argument is invalid. Can you point to a Thrash Album that flows better? Can you point to a band that has better musicians? Can you point to a band who rips THEIR OWN MUSIC a NEW ASSHOLE LIVE BETTER THAN KREATOR?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!?!? no. Ya can’t.
Under Rated Thrash Song Three:
Iced Earth-Disciples of the Lie
The first album I ever bought was Ministry-The mind is a tribal thing to taste the SECOND album I bought was Something Wicked This way comes. You wouldn’t have said before this “I bed I can make the Iron maiden gallop FUCKING EVIL!” now you can! I used to skip this track out of guilt for liking it so much it was so Goddamed GOOD. How Awesome is this song?! SOOOO GOOD! Thrash Metal’s range of Anger got alittle wider with pot shots at organized religion. Iced Earth was Hateing on Pedophile priests before it was cool and for that ALONE do they deserve more credit than they get. They helped push Thrash Metal in an Epic Direction and make the idea that Thrash Metal and Heavy Metal are truly one in the same.
Next Under Rated Song Four:
Ensiferum – Slayer Of Light
Ahhhh! Folk-Thrash Metal, does a body good. The album Iron is a must own for any metal head, budding or otherwise. It’s not clogged up with satanic imagery so the parents only have the LOUD music and Growling to complain about and you get just Great fucking music. Even Folk metal can OUT SLAYER SLAYER!! See where I’m going with this!?
Under Rated Thrash stuff Five-
Slayer Covers that FAR exceed the original, case in point:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4JqY1vgIdE this is a pop punk band by the way…
I’ll let them speak for themselves.
Under Rated Thrash Song Six–
Testament- The Preacher
Dat Distortion. Long live Testament!! I can’t say enough about this song…first time I heard it…I COULDN”T HEAR FAST ENOUGH!!! The song was FASTER than my Brain could FUCKING PROCESS what I was hearing. I was listening to a lot of Slayer at the time too, to put it in perspective. I don’t want to rag on Slayer TOO much since Jeff has recently died. Jeff is truly a great loss for the Metal community and it sucks as a fan when one of the Gods fall. I have however been of the opinion that Slayer was over rated. Because when the best song you can write in a good 17 years is ‘Bloodlines’….there is a problem. Anyway back to Testament. When their lead Guitarist isn’t making the gods weep blood tear with joy, he is a well known jazz guitarist. The Alex Skolnick Trio plays the best version of Rush’s ‘Tom Sawyer” I’ve ever heard!
Under Rated Thrash Song Seven –
TV II by Ministry
I’ll be touching on the album and its influence on the Industrial Metal Scene in a future review. But in the mean time, CONNECT THE GODDAMN DOTS! This is Trash Metal REBORN I wish more bands would cross Thrash and Industrial, I can’t think of any off the top of my head; I mean yeah KMFDM the OTHER big Industrial Metal outfit. OOHHH I thought of two others!! Gravity Kills on the album “Gravity Kills” and Stabbing Westward. Both bands mentioned are fallen too far from grace to be called relevant but are CLEARLY ripened from Ministry’s seed.
Thrash Metal Underrated Song Eight –
Annihilator – Sonic Homicide
This whole BAND needs more love. This song is such a good cross section of what a) Jeff Waters can do on Guitar and b) Just how much they DESERVE to be in the conversation about great thrash bands. I heard that eairly on in his carrier that Jeff Waters thought he was the best Guitarist ever, so his ego was not in check. But the same has been said of Alexi form Children of Bodem as well as Danzig and that doesn’t subtract from the fact that they write phat tracks! Word! Anyway, the standards of Thrash Metal are both high (Dew-Sentenced) and Low (Metallica). Annihilator is defiantly in the former category don’t believe me?
Welcome back to the palace!
** Now Go Buy Alice in Hell**
Thrash Metal Under Rated band Nine –
I don’t own a Voivod album, though I need to buy RRROOOOAAARRR cause that’s the best title for a metal album EVER. I saw them and meet them before I saw Kreator Live. Let me tell you they still got it even though they got older. Like the band that they opened up for, their intensity and sense of humor poured off the stage. What songs I can remember from their set are KILLED live. They just need the kind of rallying cry that Anvil got a couple years back. Voivod was just as much an influence, if not more so than Anvil and to help me with this Dave Grohl!
Thrash Metal Under Rated Song Ten –
Strapping Young Lad- Dirt Pride
Devin Townsend is my favorite musician, he fronted a band, LOVE THEM.
Devin Townsend formed the heaviest band I ever heard and he did it IRONICALY! He’s Metals most precious jewel and he needs to be left to make whatever he wants! With the album City (which I am also inclined to review in earnest) is the heaviest album of all time(so far). While Dirt Pride comes from the album S.Y.L. Devi’s contribution to Thrash Metal is felt today in the ‘Djent’ movement. Along with Meshugga Strapping rewrote what Thrash Metal sounded like as well as Heavy Music in general. Devin gets it. He understands that this nebulous thing we call METAL is a ruse, its fucking hilarious. Just listen to “Far beyond Metal” a song ABOUT HOW AWESOME SYL IS!
I will just leave this here!
Its also about how much metal takes itself too fucking seriously. And it does. But that’s whats FUCKING AWESOME about!!! Let Devin take us home with this interview I found of him. Goodnight everybody!
My original intention at Culture Fusion was to create a forum for a wide variety of writers to post varying reviews and essays on a wide variety of subjects. I opened it up to many writers but due to life getting in the way, most of them were unable to comply. However, my friend Sean M Hebner wrote up a review one day, of his own volition and I decided his drive and ambition would make him a perfect addition to the blog.
Sean will handle all Saturday posts. His posts are labelled “Dispatches from Chaos” and will cover a wide range of topics, from metal reviews (his preferred genre) to “Wife Purse” reviews wherein he reviews his wife’s albums (which are much outside of his own normal musical interests).
His first official “Dispatches from Chaos” review is on “Jagged Little Pill” by Alanis Morissette. Sean has an informal, excited and highly energetic writing style that contrasts well with my own occasional stuffy carefulness.
I’ll dispatch with the usual disclaimer: Sean’s opinions in no way coincide with my own. That said, here we go.
Jagged Little Pill: By Alanis Morissette
An Ironic Review from Sean M. Hebner
For The Culture Fusion Blog
OK …no beating around this bush here. I’m just going to say it: this is the best alt-rock album of the 90’s.
Yes, more albums lingered longer in the collective conscious. Some were definitely more influential, such as “Rid of Me” by PJ Harvey” or “Nevermind” by Nirvana but none more epitomized the 90’s alt scene than “Jagged Little Pill.”
Want Angst? Got it in spades! Want Anger? SPADES!!! You want clever lyrics and catchy hooks. NO FURTHER! How about adorable love songs that have extremely playful lyrics? Buy “Jagged Little Pill” …
After all these years, I just discovered the hidden track …oh my god…this is AWESOME… how pissed was SHE?!?!? SO MAD! Obsessed …she breaks into her ex’s house and gets naked and steals his clothes…BITTER!
Oi…I feel so bad now…I can’t believe I’ve missed that. It’s freaking FANTASTIC.
That discovery was in real time, people. Here at culture fusion, we love to deliver quality and deliver the true face of ourselves as raw as a blister.
On that note, here’s why I think this is the best Alt-Rock Album of the 90’s. For starters, it has six singles that are STILL in rotation on pop radio, all six I’m sure you know by heart. Admit it!
Quantifiably speaking, it sold 33 million copies, going platinum 33 times (those are Michael Jackson like numbers). It won 2 Grammies and made all the little people sing “LIKE RAIN/ ON YOUR WEDDING DAY!”
It DID in-fact rain on my wedding day as Eric can attest but my wife and I didn’t mind so much. (editors note: it sure did but that didn’t stop record breaking levels of booze from being ingested for hours straight).
BY the NUMBERS: A track by track break down.
Track One: “All I really want” – just a straight up alt-rock opus. Here, listen to it!
|“You Oughta Know”|
This is probably the most recognizable of The Singles next to maybe “Ironic”, if only because of the speculation as to who it was Written About…
Yeah Mr wholesome Uncle Cancer-of-Humor FULLHOUSE himself chased and then wanted to KNOCK-UP Jailbait Morissette. Yeah. Fuck. Chalk ANOTHER emotional episode caused by reading the Wiki. You get ANGRY!
Track Three: “Perfect” is the weakest song on the album. But I still like it. So there.
Track Four: “Hand in my Pocket.” This is another one of the six singles that set up the newest generation for Super Hip-Damn-Near-Daria levels of apathy and indifference.
“I’ve got one hand in my pocket/and the other is flicking a cigarette” and other nonchalant lyrics like it turn this song into a great tune.
Track Five: “Right Through You” – so many bands and artists have written songs about hating managers or producers or labels. Even the great Mike Oldfied told the owner of VIRGIN to fuck off in Morse code. I like them all. Every last damn one I’ve heard I’ve liked. Check out ART NAZIE by Sky Clad for another “fuck you!” tune.
Track six: “Forgiven” is a solid Alt-Rock ballad! The damaged sound of her voice makes the message of the song feel more real.
Track seven: “You Learn”- Another single from this album. It highlights the album fairly well, creating a mood of “pissed but positive.”
I guess it could be more “devil may care” but that’s not the point. It’s another great track and was well worth the single status. Glad its still popular!
Track Eight: “Head over Feet”- This I think is one of the most natural sounding and Delightful ballads of all time. Sometimes love is goofy and awkward and you need to respond sarcastically to the prospect of a GOOD nay GREAT fucking relationship. I can obviously relate to this. Very well.
Track nine: “Mary Jane”- Empowerment song. I do tend to like these a lot; I like how the song is trying to be “bouncy” but it starts on the brink of tears. Then it gets angry in the bridge and chorus. Nice emotional contrasts!
This is how people react in these situations in real life, and for detailing that accurately, this song gets props.
Track Ten: Ironic – Appropriately enough, irony is one of the undercurrents of the album. The modern Hipster was forged in this stuff (and it even influenced their poor understanding of irony!). However, “Jagged Little Pill” happens to be better formed than the modern Hipster.
I believe that this album and this single will last much longer than Irony as a lifestyle. A little Too ironic, don’tcha think?
Track eleven: Not the Doctor – This is one of those songs that fits SO well in the 90’s and its about the classic desire of “just fuck me and go.” It compares her to a “snack” that he should just “eat” and “get over.” Sweet!
Track twelve: Wake up – Ending track, smooth alt rock song. Like it. Love it. The whole album is fucking gold!
Final words: While it’s not the most influential album ever, or even of the 90’s, it is a perfect representation of all that was popular at the time.
Whatever The Barenaked Ladies were trying to do? Double Yup!
Sappy love songs? YUPPY YUP! The whole album is Cross section perfection.
If you grew up in the 90’s or want to know what pop music was in the 90s, buy this album. It’s a perfect time capsule of the 90s.
It’s amazing how the rise (and fall) of the subsequent ‘Meh’ generation was told in real-time by a pissed off hot chick from Canada!
See-ya next time with my list of underappreciated Thrash Metal songs! G’night!