|Category:||Review - Internet||Publish date:||1/1/2010|
|Source:||Mark Prindle Record Reviews (United States)|
7 / 10
I saw Pink Floyd's Roger Waters live in concert tonight! Here's what he played off each album:
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn - nothing
A Saucerful of Secrets - nothing
More - nothing
Ummagumma - nothing
Atom Heart Mother - nothing
Meddle - nothing
Obscured By Clouds - nothing
The Dark Side of the Moon - nothing
Wish You Were Here - nothing
Animals - nothing
The Wall - "In The Flesh?," "The Thin Ice," "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)," "The Happiest Days of Our Lives," "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)," "Mother," "Goodbye Blue Sky," "Empty Spaces," "Young Lust," "One of My Turns," "Don't Leave Me Now," "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 3)," "Goodbye Cruel World," "Hey You," "Is There Anybody Out There?," "Nobody Home," "Vera," "Bring the Boys Back Home," "Comfortably Numb," "In the Flesh," "Run Like Hell," "Waiting for the Worms," "Stop," "The Trial," "Outside the Wall"
The Final Cut - nothing
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking - nothing
Radio K.A.O.S. - nothing
Amused to Death - nothing
Ca Ira - nothing
Regardless of its limited set list, I loved the show. My ticket was a birthday gift from Jim Laakso, and MAN! What a birthday gift. Even better than the marital separation my wife gave me this year. The songs! The wall! The special effects, fireworks and animations! The liberal propaganda! The crashing airplane and flying pig! The Nazi-esque costumes! The wall falling onto the first few rows of audience members at the end, crushing them to death! Even stranger, Roger appeared to be in an excellent mood and very thankful to have us all there for his light-hearted anti-war rejiggering of Pink Floyd's The Wall, an album.
One thing got me to a-thinking though: at one point, a quote from Dwight Eisenhower was projected on the wall, and it made me wonder the following: have presidents always had speech writers? In other words, did John Kennedy really say "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country"? Or did he just read what a speechwriter had written for him? Same for Nixon's Checkers speech, Eisenhower's anti-industrial-military complex speech, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address (okay, I'm pretty sure he did write that one).... At what point did speechwriters start doing all the writing? I'd be pretty darned angry if I came up with a quote as great as "Ask not what your country can do for you" and some Catholic assbag got all the credit for it.
Not that I have anything against Catholics.
But on the topic of Bad Religion, please enjoy these interview excerpts from a recent issue of Touch & Go fanzine:
Tesco Vee: "How many grovelling little nubiles do you get to suck your wangs after every gig?"
Greg Graffin: "At least one every gig."
Brett Gurewitz: "One."
Jay Bentley: "Not too many. I'm usually way too drunk!!"
Tesco Vee: "What are you when you aren't Bad Religion?"
Brett Gurewitz: "Horny."
Greg Graffin: "A sex maniac who likes new wave chicks with big tits and who MASTURBATE!!!"
Tesco Vee: "Who's the biggest asshole in LA?"
Group: "All the fucking poseur little faggots that think they're the meanest thing since Sid."
Tesco Vee: "What type of kids do you attract?"
Greg Graffin: "Not enough new wave chicks with big tits!"
Tesco Vee: "Opinion of San Francisco?"
Greg Graffin: "I don't really like all the people but the city is cool, if it didn't always smell like cum."
Jay Bentley: "It's weird up there. I mean people are freaked out on drugs or something. I love the city structural wise it's bitchen and the nude ladies you can see for a quarter, that's OK."
Tesco Vee: "Where do you guys stand on drugs, booze etc.?"
Brett Gurewitz: "Anywhere I can."
Jay Bentley: "Anything that's bad for you is good for you, if you take enough to make you pass out!!"
What a letdown. Did Greg Graffin learn nothing from his zoology graduate courses except the appeal of large-chested women engaging in onanism? Did Brett Gurewitz learn nothing from his struggles with cocaine addiction except to stand on drugs anywhere he can? Does Jay Bentley really know a place in San Francisco where you can see nude ladies for a quarter? And don't give me your "Hay Mark that interview is from 1982 when they were all like 15" bullnonsense because there's no such thing as clocks and everything just happened a minute ago. Shame on you, Brett "Horny" Gurewitz and Greg "Sex Maniac" Graffin! How will I ever again enjoy "Flat Earth Society" now that I know it's about girls with small bajongas? And don't even get me started on "21st Century Digital Boy"! (I think we all know what he's doing with those "digits"!)
Moving on to the actual album, The Dissent of Man starts off kicking hardcore ass like all the other post-Brett's-return CDs, but then reveals its true hand: to be as midtempo as the post-Brett's-leaving-pre-Brett's-return CDs. Only six of these fifteen tracks are "Bad Religion Speed"; the others might as well be rock songs by a rock band or some fucken shit. It's not quite a return to the Graffin-only era though, as there are definite touches of folk and classic rock influence here, particularly in the great REMy folk rocker "I Won't Say Anything," morose protest folker "Won't Somebody," Pleasant Dreamsy "Turn Your Back On Me," and Tom Cochrane-styled country-rock vomitbag "Cyanide."
Lest it seem I'm damning the record (not that a "7" is a damning grade) for its slower tempos, let me stress that the real problem with the record isn't the speed but the inconsistent songwriting. There are, as usual, far too many generic chord changes on this record. And as I've stated before, it's a lot easier to forgive cliched riffs when they're hurling past your brain at 4,000 miles an hour. Energy and aggression are a major part of the appeal of punk rock, and often when you slow it down, all you get is slow simple chord changes. So thank goodness gracious that Bad Religion also cherishes vocal melody and harmony; can you imagine how boring this stuff would be if that guy from the Necros was singing it? I can, and it would be BORING!
That paragraph was supposed to be negative and it turned out positive. Let me try that again.
I imagine that most Bad Religion fans are with me in preferring their fast music to their midtempo music. I'm just talking "in general." I agree that some of their slow and midtempo songs are phenomenal, but I sure wouldn't consider myself a fan if their entire discography was as listless as The Gray Race or No Substance. For this reason, it probably won't surprise you when I opine that four of the six high-speed tracks on here are fucken killer, but of the remaining nine tracks, only "I Won't Say Anything" and the delightful tonic-subdominant pop-punker "Someone To Believe" are of comparable quality. There are only so many things you can do with worried minor chords and people going "Aaaaaaahhh" in the background, and Bad Religion has already done them many times over in the course of recording 15 studio albums. I'm not saying they need to branch out -- just keep the damned speed up! If you can't give us creativity, at least give us energy.
About which let me add that Greg Graffin sounds more passionate in "The Resist Stance" than he has in decades. Does this song mean more to him than the others for some reason? Or does he just love the riff? (I'd vote the latter, as it is definitely the strongest guitar hook on the record).
I will leave you with a positive and sincere statement: Bad Religion has never released a bad album. That has not changed. If it's too loud, you're too young!
- Mark Prindle
English transcript updated: Bad Religion's 'True North' Q&A: 'We're Still Creating Our Legacy'
English transcript added: True North
English transcript added: Christmas Songs
English transcript added: True North
English transcript added: True North
English transcript updated: True North
English transcript added: The Dissent Of Man
English transcript added: 30 Years Live
English transcript added: New Maps Of Hell
English transcript added: The Empire Strikes First
English transcript added: The Process Of Belief
English transcript added: The New America