Monday, June 20, 2011

Time Travel (Not The Fun Kind)

Last night I had the realization that I own a lot of CDs. They're currently overflowing from my meager CD rack. From the beginning of middle school till around the first or second semester of college, I bought CDs on a fairly consistent basis, around 1 every two weeks if I could afford it. Looking back, I have no idea how I DID afford it, but I somehow ended up with a huge collection of them.

Upon closer inspection, there were quite a few that I hadn't listened to since middle school. Not remembering what they sounded like, I spent last night and the most of today reliving middle school. Musically, at least. I don't think anyone in their right mind has fond memories of middle school; I certainly didn't. The only kids who were less popular than me were the ones that had mental breakdowns during class, or... well, that was about it.

But music. I liked a LOT of shitty music during high school. Lots of rap-rock/metal, nü-metal and alt-rock. Here's a short sampling of what I've been revisiting:

Crazy Town - Darkhorse
I think there were two categories of angsty white preteens in my high school: those who listened to rap, and those who listened to nü-metal. Me being in the latter category, I was of course in love with Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory. Apparently a lot of bands were as well, because the amount of CDs trying to be Hybrid Theory I found was astonishing. This was one of them. Crazy Town were most famous for that awful piece of trash "Butterfly". You know. "Come my lady, come come my lady" blah de fucking BLAH. There's really no redeeming qualities in this CD too; it's bland, boring rap/rock with awful lyrics, awful vocal performances and uninspired songwriting. It was mildly aggressive and had curses on it though, which 12 year old Mike latched onto immediately (the edited version, at least; Mommy didn't want me listening to so called "explicit" music). NEXT.

Greenwheel - Soma Holiday
My father bought this for me on one of his trips to Japan, I think. Nobody I've talked to has heard a single thing about this band; Wikipedia says this was their only album and they toured with bands like Injected and Hoobastank and all those other bad post-grunge alt rocky bands that tried to be Bush but had no charisma or songwriting skill. In all fairness to Greenwheel, this album isn't BAD. It's just incredibly generic. It legitimately sounds like a bunch of Bush B-sides. Given as how I hadn't heard of Bush when I was this age, though, this was the next best thing.

Aerosmith - Just Push Play
I fully expected this to be one of the worst of the lot I listened to, but honestly, there's some absolutely INCREDIBLE material on here. Mainly, I still can't get over how awesome the opener "Beyond Beautiful" is. Yeah, it's got sitar in there trying to make it all "exotic" and shit, but it's incredibly out there for a classic rock band, not least the one that wrote "Dream On". Productionwise, this album slays too. Thick and beefy yet still pristinely clear guitars abound everywhere. There's a whole lot of filler, but the first three tracks are all sweet, most importantly "Beyond Beautiful". Damn.

System Of A Down
I still listen to SOAD, but these two albums fell by the wayside once I hit high school. The self-titled suffers from rather muddy production and Steal This Album! suffers from filler syndrome again, but they're both great and ended up back in listening rotation. The self titled in particular has some great, great songwriting. It's angsty and heavy enough for preteens, but the writing is so spastically great that any shortcomings get overlooked.

3rd Strike - Lost Angel
The minute I popped this one in, overwhelming waves of nostalgia rolled over me. It was like I was back in middle school, but with the added wisdom that I have now. I'm listening to it now actually, as I type this, and the jury's out. Vocals suck. Plain and simple. Songwriting's nothing special, but there's some awesome guitar licks and plenty of crunch. Actually, a LOT of crunch. Maybe that's why I liked it so much and never really realized it.

And then there's the honorable mentions, which I've either not listened to yet, still listen to or don't give two shits about in any conceivable manner. Maybe I'll do another one of these posts in the coming future.

Default - The Fallout
The Buzzhorn - Disconnected
Course Of Nature - Superkala
Mad At Gravity - Resonance
The Used - The Used
And plenty of things from Disturbed, Creed, Korn, Slipknot, Seether... holy shit the list goes on. I'm definitely doing another of these posts.

As for now, I'm gonna go back under into nostalgia and laugh at my preteen self. Also, Deconstruction and Ghost by The Devin Townsend Project come out today (being Tuesday, at this point). Pick them up. I've yet to hear Ghost, but Deconstruction  quite possibly eclipses Scurrilous as most over the top absurdly awesome metal album to come out this year.

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