Friday, August 19, 2005

It reminds *me* of something

(Listening to: Rage Against the Machine, Evil Empire)

Have you guys heard the new Audioslave single, "Doesn't Remind Me"? It has to be considered a strong front runner for the 2005 Pants Around Your Feet Award for the hit song with the most idiotic lyrics. (Named, of course, in honor of "Figured You Out," that repugnant Nickelback piece of shit that was a huge hit last year.) Most frustrating is that "Doesn't Remind Me" is almost a really great song -- I like the melody and chord changes an' stuff, and Chris Cornell still has one of the best voices in rock. But...c'mon, the guy who wrote the complex, symbolically rich "The Day I Tried to Live," "Like Suicide," and "Limo Wreck" wrote this?

I like gypsy moths and radio talk
'Cause it doesn't remind me of anything
I like gospel music and canned applause
'Cause it doesn't remind me of anything
I like colorful clothing in the sun
'Cause it doesn't remind me of anything
I like hammering nails, and speaking in tongues
'Cause it doesn't remind me of anything
What the hell does any of that mean? Canned applause? Gypsy moths? Those lyrics are like cigarette smoke: thick, impenetrable, yet completely lacking in substance of any kind. And leaving a foul odor everywhere. They seem to want to mean something, but there's just nothing there. They're like shadow puppets.

My mom had a phrase for songs like this: she called them "toilet songs." The implication being that the singer wrote the lyrics in three minutes while sitting on the toilet, simply jotting down the first thing that came to mind, no matter how insipid. (The first time I remember my mom saying this was in reference to Warrant's "Cherry Pie," which is a toilet song for more than one reason.)

After their lackluster debut, and the first few singles from Out of Exile, I am prepared to hail Audioslave as the most disappointing band since...ever. I mean, Chris Cornell with Rage Against the Machine as his backing band? There was no way this could go wrong, so of course it has. Rage has lost their massive attack energy and turned into an only-slightly-nuanced post-grunge band, while Chris Cornell is either in the midst of a huge artistic decline or a some kind of deliberate pop commerical sellout phase.

Somewhere, Zack de la Rocha is laughing his fucking ass off.

The rest of us have to suffer.

(And hey, how's about this: "Doesn't Remind Me" is being nominated, by me, for an award named after a song by Nickelback. Nickelback, you may remember, achieved substantial success in the modern rock/post-grunge arena with their first hit, "Leader of Men," but became the ubiquitous crossover pop sludge factory they are today thanks to their follow-up album and its worldbusting first single, "How You Remind Me." I have no idea what this means.)

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