When I was in high school and college I thought I was a pretty damned good music journalist. In fact, I wrote one piece for the LHS newspaper when I was in my senior year and it actually elicited a response from a classmate who wanted to publicly refute my claim that Britney Spears — for all intents and purposes — was a talentless hack. I wonder what THAT guy’s doing with his life now. I’ll bet he doesn’t even have his own blog! And even if he does, I doubt his audience is anything to sniff at. Not like my meager following, which consists largely of of miscreants on house arrest…or maybe they’re just too helpless to survive as functioning members of society outside of their parents’ house.
My point is, I wrote a lot of record reviews. And they were all TERRIBLE. I mean really, really bad. I don’t know if it was because I read a lot of music reviews when I was a kid or because I thought I was smarter than I was (probably it was a combination of the two)…but… I was a complete failure when it came to reviews. This is most likely why there is a lack of them posted to this website. Not only do I hate the idea of being one of those blogs that just blindly copies press releases and calls it journalism, I learned long ago that I am not a talented music critic.
I figured I might as well just ignore it and find a new hobby.
Perhaps my blind ambition was a blessing in disguise. Seeing as how I thought I was the next Christgau, I saved every review I wrote between the ages of 17 and 23. That means I can go back and read and cringe at myself whenever I want! And, to further humiliate myself, I can post my old screeds on the Internet and even MORE people can laugh at me! It’s like living my life in two places at once: the reality we know actually exists in and around us, and the quasi-reality of an online escape-place — or as it’s more commonly known, a blog.
October 30th, 2001
Terrible Record Review Vault #1
Incubus (aka Suck-You-Bus)
-2.0 / 10
I’m going to pose a quick series of yes/no questions. If at any time you answer no, you may proceed to the next paragraph. If you’re a girl, you can automatically move to the next paragraph. Ok, here we go. Are you a male aged 16 to 34? Do you frequently read publications such as Teen People or Tiger Beat? Do you listen to current “Alternative” bands like Linkin Park? Do you prefer men to women? If so, congratulations, you’re an Incubus fan. You’re in slim company these days, because Incubus has become a chick rock band. You know what that is? It’s like Nickelback, or Bush.
I do not own this CD (thank God). My roommate listens to it and I thought it would be fun to give it the old third-degree. I do own two Incubus albums, S.C.I.E.N.C.E and Make Yourself (neither of which are any good). Since I own 40% of their current musical output, I think I’m capable of producing an intelligent review of Morning View, and consequentially, bashing the shit out of it.
The album commences with “Nice to Know You,” and “Circles,” which attempt to reassure us that the band hasn’t gone soft. Next comes the lead single “Wish You Were Here,” which isn’t a cover of the Pink Floyd song, and for some reason makes adolescent girls tinkle in their panties with delight whenever it plays on the radio. The album continues by traversing between soft and loud songs, an unevenness which hints at Incubus maybe trying to cater to two audiences, old fans and new.
The band has certainly matured and seems to have settled on a sound that they enjoy making. Lead guitarist Mike Einziger creates catchy riffs, while singer Brandon Boyd works on his 8-minute abs in an adjacent room. When he sings, Boyd puts forth all his energy. This can work to his advantage like in “Warning,” or lead to crap like “Are You In?” The album concludes with what can only be described as a seven-and-a-half minute bowel movement called “Aqueous Transmission.” If they removed the vocals and scratching, and re-released it in 1986, it would’ve sounded great on the Karate Kid Part II soundtrack.
In conclusion, I like S.C.I.E.N.C.E, so I gave this record a -2 instead of a -4.
Yeah…I know. That “in conclusion” gag became my “thing.” It never really materialized into something that could be considered funny.
April 1st, 2002
1.0 / 10
Daniel Johns and I do not have much in common. When he was fourteen years old, his first album Frogstomp sold a million copies in the United States. When I was fourteen I was…let’s just say my basement isn’t the cleanliest place on earth.
Hey, remember that episode of The Simpsons with Springfield Elementary’s “Diorama-Rama”? Classic! Silverchair are back! And after a short three-year hiatus they’ve given us Diorama… which is basically 11 attempts at recreating the song “Emotion Sickness” from the band’s last album, Neon Ballroom.
The album starts with “Across the Night,” a sprawling five and a half minute opus that only pleases my ears starting at around the 3:30 mark. It’s also the best song on the album, so feel free to turn the damn thing off once the song ends. At this point in my review I feel it’s important to note that NO song on this album is less than four minutes in length, and if records were edited like movies, “Diorama” would be 30 minutes shorter. Daniel Johns, you’ve just been nominated for this year’s Billy Corgan Award for Excellence in Editing. That’s not a good thing, either. What it means is, you’re a pretentious bastard who thinks all your songs are too good to be cut to three minutes.
There’s another song called “Without You” that also isn’t interesting until it’s half over. “The World upon Your Shoulders” further proves my theory that a happy Daniel Johns writes shit lyrics. He sings “Violent, big and violent / Like a thing that’s big, big / and violent.” I swear I’m not kidding.
“One Way Mule,” once a staple in Silverchair’s live show, is now slower than a Special Olympics race. The riff is still catchy as hell, but something got lost in the transition from stage to studio. The rest of the album features a bunch of filler crap that lasts for an eternity (I timed it) and then there’s another much-hyped song called “The Lever.” It begins with a very eerie piano introduction, so make sure to wait 10 seconds before fast-forwarding to the next song. “My Favourite Thing” sounds like “Cemetery” from Freak Show, which is always a good thing. Only this version of “Cemetery” isn’t any good. The last song on the album,“After All These Years,” sounds like every song that’s ever been played during the credits of a chick flick. What’s this? A bonus track? Ew, this is a bonus track? Someone hand me my butane and my lighter.
I’m sorry I sound like a real asshole right now. Honestly though, I’m disappointed in this record. Sure I’ll see Silverchair when they tour because I’m interested to see how these songs sound live, but Daniel, do whatever you have to do to get depressed! You were so much more fun back then.
In conclusion, if Daniel Johns remains healthy and happy for the rest of his life I’ll most likely never listen to another song he writes.
So both of those were written during my freshman year of college, when I was just shy of my 19th birthday. This next one was written a few years later, when I was 22. Let’s see how much I grew as a writer during those three years.
May 5th, 2005
5.1 / 10
Hey everybody, look at me! I’m Bryan Adams! I sleep with the queen of indie pixie chicks, Parker Posey! I chain smok,e and ask interviewers where to score the best blow in their college town! I recorded NINE FUCKING ALBUMS just this year! And one of them was a double-album, called Cold Roses. It could have easily been a great single disc, but I had to go screw it up, just like everything else I’ve done since that Robin Hood song!
If my memory serves me correctly…is a stupid phrase. Let’s get rid of it and never, ever use it again. You know what else I just realized a few minutes ago? That calling someone a “two-bit” something-or-other is just another way of calling them cheap. For you see, two bits means fifty cents! I hear old people say that all the time, and those folks seem pretty on-the-ball. Anyway, if I were to call Parker Posey a “two-bit whore,” it would imply that she was a fifty-cent whore. No, not 50 Cent’s whore, just a disease-ridden, cheap whore.
One of the songs on this album is called “Magnolia Mountain.” I like it good. The first song I heard off this album is called “Let It Ride.” I saw Bryan perform it live on Letterman or Leno or something, and it was really catchy. I was also really, really stoned when I saw it. That’s probably why I went out the next day, yesterday, and bought the album. Now that I’m sitting here listening to it, I think I should’ve just stolen it. Paying thirteen dollars for two songs is a waste of everybody’s time and MY money.
In conclusion, I’d stab Parker Posey in the vagina — with my penis — repeatedly until one of us (read: me) reaches climax.
Nope! Still terrible.
Trust me, they get a lot worse. To practice cringing in the interim, click around here for a while.
The Legendary Pink Dots – Expresso Noir [MP3]