Image Isn’t Anything: War Widow Review

War Widow

War Widow

2011 Coming Home Records

war widow

War Widow

Typically when I pick a record to write about there’s an overall idea woven in to give you, the reader, something more than a standard track-by-track report of what I heard and why (or why not) you should hear it, too. I sincerely wrestled with this review for about a week because, while War Widow is easily a great album, it seems to exist absent of context. At least to me.

What that means is War Widow, though having ties to known artists (Mellowdrone), seem to have appeared, fully formed and confident, out of nowhere. I’m not saying that a band can’t keep the garage door shut until they’re good and ready but in their case the aggressive mystique of the band seems to enter the room a few seconds before the music. War Widow’s website, and by proxy their overall visual vibe, is dark, self-consciously edgy and littered with disjointed S&M detritus. Like the shy kid you knew from 8th grade who suddenly became Goth in 9th grade and had a meticulously developed “dark” persona that revolved mostly around Scott Walker lyrics, scowling through his hair and scratching anarchy symbols into the legs of his giant black cargo pants with a hobby knife, War Widow appear to be trying to impress upon you just how dangerous their music is with contrasty images of women in bondage poses and cat fangs and generic religious iconography. In point of fact guitarist Eric Blackwell said of singer JP Russell’s lyrics “It’s like being raped while you sleep….by a muppet.” If that doesn’t set a lofty precedent then I don’t know what does.

Now, granted, War Widow IS edgy, dark and more than a little skeezy but you get that in spades from the music itself. Despite the point of this review being to extol the appeal of that music, something about the band’s image is coloring how I choose to go about talking them up. The music is certainly awesome; the music is big, grindy and not afraid to grope you in public. It’s got the aural dry-hump sleaze of Queens of the Stone Age (“Good to Go”) with the b-movie gothic synth menace of Mellowdrone (“Heaven”) wrapped up in the fuzzed-out swagger of T Rex (“One Finger”). So, yeah, it’s got a lot going for it. War Widow have really, truly crafted a great rock record and it sounds great loud, as great rock should. It’s layered and thick with a dreamy, lucid slant which fits well with their whole decadent, goth/libertarian image. Russell’s voice has an air of detached amusement and a sinister sweetness like a smiling cult leader who’s got malice just below the surface. Tracks like “Tear It Up” and “Holy Roller” amble at an ax-murderer’s pace; slowly but persistently so no matter how fast you run it’s always just a room away. The music does a great job of being everything the band wants to appear to be all on its own.

So why can’t that be enough? I’m speculating here but I don’t really think the guys in War Widow are the deviants their image implies they are; I’m sure they’ve got families and houses and cars and pay their bills and sort their recycling like everyone else. Shit, even the guys from Insane Clown Posse wash of their ridiculous make up and sit down to eat dinner with their kids from time to time. Maybe I’m just getting old but the whole rock star image, that sexually charged, dangerous outsider, is-he-gonna-rock-me-or-rape-me thing is more or less worthless in comparison to the music. A scuffed up  image of a girl deep-throating a crucifix doesn’t make the album sound better and it doesn’t improve the image of the musicians in my mind. I’d be fine knowing that War Widow are three guys about my age wearing t-shirts and jeans playing music in a rented practice space. I was never really a huge fan of Metallica but when I saw images of them recording, James Hetfield wearing reading glasses, Kirk Hammett without product in his hair, Lars… well Lars still looked like a douchebag but the point is seeing those guys as actual people made the music BETTER for me. I was under no assumption that Metallica lived in an abandoned machine shop living on rock and eating only what they killed. For some the carefully crafted image of a band might enhance their appreciation for them, and in some cases (namely mid-90’s U2) it can work to add a layer of charisma and theatrics that you didn’t know was there. And I’m not saying War Widow are huge phonies on the level of, say, Lady Gaga or Marilyn Manson but they’re definitely trying to sell an image and I don’t think they need it.

So I suppose the theme of this review is that image isn’t everything and often times isn’t even necessary. If a band can rip out a thoroughly good album like War Widow then that’s enough for me. If I pull back the curtain and see something that resembles myself? Well, really that’s exactly what I’m looking for. Anything else is just deceptive marketing.

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Flight Feathers, Interview with creator Babi Pal

A few weeks ago I did a review of a fantastic album by Flight Feathers, solo project by one Babi Pal. I wrote Babi about doing a short email interview, he was into it, so it happened and here it is.

What, you were expecting more of a sensational lead in? Fine.

Under the Radar and Under the Gun! We caught up to Brooklyn’s DIY folk-pop bad boy at his computer to ask the tough questions and get the steamy details about his solo project Flight Feathers! Stay tuned to hear what scruffy mellow jamster Babi Pal has to say about the hottest fashions, the latest tech trends and all the juicy Hollywood gossip, right here, on BOLLOCKS! (play catchy intro theme cut with clips of celebrities on red carpets).

Right, well here’s the interview.

So, in response to my claim of being “old” in the review of In The Darkness Of My Night you also claimed to be “old”; how old are you anyway and how long have you been a musician? Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 34, married and have a 15 month old daughter, a mortgage and car payments. If that doesn’t make one old, I don’t know what does. I grew up in New Jersey, went to college in NYC and moved to Brooklyn right after. If I remember correctly, I’ve been playing music since the sixth grade. I had 2 friends who played guitar and drums, so I was recruited to play bass. That’s pretty much how all bass players get started right?
 What inspired the creation of TDOMN and what is the record about?

I had been wanting to make a solo record for a while now. Somehow having a kid initiated a period of hyper productivity, even though i wasn’t sleeping and was always busy, i knew i had to make the most of the couple of hours a week i had in the studio. There is this sort of prolonged sort of adrenaline rush that lasts for months after you have a child, at least there was for me. I don’t think parents would make it without it.The overall theme of the album reflects on what was going on in my life at the time, the passing of time, growing older, stuff like that. But there are also some straight ahead love songs as well.

Your bio on Flight Feathers describes the drive behind the project as a “yearning for the simplicity of the old days” yet TDOMN is, at times, surprisingly textured and complex. What does simplicity mean to you when it comes to music?

Yeah you got me there, I definitely went a little overboard on some of the tracks. When I refer to simplicity, i’m talking about 2 things. First, I’m referring to when i first started recording on a cassette based Tascam 8-track recorder, I had 2 mics and 8 tracks and that’s it. Yet those limitations somehow streamline the creative process, you commit to your decisions and that’s it, there is no undo button. And there is just something about the sound of that machine that i absolutely love. So in the recording of this album, i consciously tried to emulate the process of recording on a tape machine, and used a Shure SM57 for all my vocals. But working on a computer, it is just too easy to get carried away with tracks counts and overdubs and hyper editing. The other thing i’m referring to is the structure of the songs. A couple of the songs are just 3 chords and a bunch of verses, they don’t have choruses or bridges or anything. I got tired of playing songs with 5 parts and a dozen chord changes.

Have you always preferred to DIY when it comes to your music and is Flight Feathers your first one-man-show kind of project?

I’ve always been DIY from the very beginning. I just recently got together with the guys from my other band, Unbelievable Luck, that i’ve been with since high school, to transfer some of our old tapes to digital. We did the early stuff live off a mixing board to a tape deck. Then in college I got the Tascam 488. When I got my first apartment in Brooklyn, i had a drum set in the living room and all the recording gear in the bedroom.I had made a couple solo albums when I was in college, but not since then.

How does touring with a full band compare to the experience of performing and producing the music yourself? Which method is more satisfying creatively? Which is more fun?
I certainly love the sound of a band playing together live in a room. But the control freak side of me likes being able to dictate every aspect of the performance by playing everything myself, obsessing over every detail. I’d say playing live is more fun, especially when playing in other people’s bands, but if i had to choose live vs. the studio, i’d pick the studio.
How has hosting the album on bandcamp.com helped in earning exposure for Flight Feathers? How have Facebook and Myspace helped in getting the word out?
Bandcamp has worked out really well. They have taken the complicated out of hosting and selling music online. I am a terrible self promoter when it comes to music.  As of right now the Facebook page has 26 likes. Not exactly burning down the house. I have no idea how to get exposure on my own.
I first heard a cut from TDOMN during a segment break on Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanagh’s “Mike and Tom Eat Snacks” podcast. So far you’ve had three tracks from the record featured. How did your end up there and have you earned any new fans from it (besides me)?
I know the producer Ian Sterns from playing in bands with him. Pretty much all of the exposure the album has gotten has been through the Mike and Tom podcast. I’ve had a bunch of downloads from people finding the album through there, some people even paid for it. But i’m happy that anyone is listening at all. That is why i like the name your price model of selling music.
From what I can tell you’re more or less kicking it local in Brooklyn when you play live. Is Flight Feathers being groomed for the big time or are you content with keeping it small and contained? What’s your next move?
Small and contained has been my move for a very long time. But i try not to make a habit of predicting the future. If a label calls, i’ll answer the phone. After that, who knows. I’d love for there to be an audience for the music, but that is not necessarily the end goal. I’m just happy that I am still able to play music at all.
Finally, how many pennies can you fit in your nose and what words of caution would you impart on the children who would attempt to mimic that behavior?

I can think of far better things to stick up my nose. Children should stick to pennies, they have very small nostrils, I can’t imagine they can do too much damage.

Once again, check out Flight Feathers’ album “In The Darkness of My Night” on Bandcamp.com at http://flightfeathers.bandcamp.com/

Quiet Loud Quiet and So Can You!, The Calm Blue Sea Review

The Calm Blue Sea

The Calm Blue Sea

2011 Modern Outsider Records

The Calm Blue Sea

Considering that most clearly defined musical genres often have a reproducible formula that makes it easy for upstarts home brew a label-ready sound it’s not surprising that the instructions for “post rock” sometimes feels as basic and uncomplicated as the recipe for ice cubes.

Step 1. Start quiet with clean guitar arpeggios, maybe some muted samples of a news reel or talk radio.

Step 2. Build everything up with, layer upon layer, with distortion, reverb, cymbals and e-bow till there’s a climax.

Step 3. Bring it back down to the single guitar, maybe a lazy drum or two.

Step 4. Repeat.

Or, if that’s too complicated just scribble “Quiet-Loud-Quiet” on a piece of masking tape and stick it to the top of your shoe, since that’s probably where you’ll be looking most of the time anyway.

The problem with, what, for convenience’s sake, we’ll just call “post rock” music is that it knows what it has: a hardy self-image and plenty of affable confidence and it’s had the same haircut since grade school; it found it’s groove early on and doesn’t really feel the need to change just because everyone else in town is breeding weird shaped inter-genre babies. It works as it is and there’s little need to tinker with the formula, and honestly even the smallest injection of mixed blood would see the music being sorted to a different section in the record store. You can have a little synth but not too much, you should steer clear of drum machines and try not to put in too many lyrics, also for consistency let’s keep song lengths above the five minute mark. Deviate from that too much and you’ve got a whole other gumbo that some picky, overly anal music nerd (like me) will have to classify and invent new sub-genres for. “Nu-post-alt-synth-grind-swirl-core” doesn’t need to exist so fucking watch yourself.

The GOOD part about post rock is, well, see above. You know what to expect and you feel confident that when you hear that waltzy, twinkling guitar and three minutes later the bass finally joins in and everything seems to be moving like an empty raft toward an unseen waterfall and sure enough there’s that predictable but never-the-less-exhilarating explosion of sound and you know some  film director is just dying to hang his misunderstood lead character’s pivotal moment of clarity and re-birth on it like a goddamn boat anchor. Then, like a rocket reaching space on the heels of a tower of fire, the sound freezes and drifts away and you’re left with the endless quiet introspection; that post-coital daze that brings you back from mind numbing ecstasy.

The debut, self-titled release by Austin’s The Calm Blue Sea was apparently groomed to pledge in the post rock fraternity and joining alumni like Mogwai and Godspeed! You Black Emperor in the house of QLQ (Quiet Loud Quiet… Delta Kappa… Something) and frankly they’re a shoe in. They’ve got the drone, they’ve got the grind, they’ve got the bombast and they’re not fucking around. This is some seriously top-shelf post rock and it’s got that right-out-of-the-box smell despite being forged from raw materials  unearthed almost a decade ago by their forefathers. The Calm Blue Sea are able to accept that torch and keep post rock alive. In fact they seem to take to the task with a ferocious intensity that their peers and elders never rose to. The second wave of “Literal” threatens to tear apart at the seams in places due to the teeth-cracking force of the band punching back against a tide of shrieking sonic miasma that’s one snapped guitar string away from drowning them in white-hot static. On the flip side of that you’ve got the patient, maddening build of “After the Legions”, the musical equivalent to watching a car in neutral slowly start to roll backwards on a flat driveway and crash (beautifully) into a mailbox.

The Formula is The Calm Blue Sea’s greatest ally as it creates a comfortable boundary for them to excel at what they do. Again, fans of the genre will be instantly familiar with the format and can bring TCBS into the fold of easily while their adherence to that format, coupled with their notable skill, provides a good entry point to those who want to discover what this whole “wordless, distorted, echoy, wall-of-sound” thing is all about. Despite this self-titled “debut” actually being somewhat of a re-issue from a minimally marketed album from 2008 the music still feels inspired and relevant. In part this is due to the band’s re-mastering of the original 6 tracks and including 2 others for the 2011 release but mostly it’s just exciting, inspiring music that will likely be just as good in ten more years as it was in 2008.

Typically I try to end my reviews with a hook, or some clever tie in to whatever seemingly unrelated topic I open with, but in this case I’ll just post a link to where you can hear the album in its entirety on NPR’s website.

NPR Exclusive First Listen: The Calm Blue Sea

It’s OK That I’m Old: Flight Feathers Review

Flight Feathers
In the Darkness of My Night
2011 5D Studios

Great independent music is like a great fishing spot; it’s so good you want to tell people about it but as soon as you do then everyone shows up and fucks it up. It’s teenagers, I think, that are most often to blame for turning the simple pleasure of seeing a great unknown band with 100 people for $8 into a nightmare a year later when buying tickets to the same band’s sold-out show off Craigslist for 25% above face value and squishing into a capacity crowd of fucktards who want to sing all the lyrics to the single and record the whole thing on their fucking phone. See: Built to Spill, Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, Kings of Leon, The Flaming Lips, Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, etc.

As I exited the party bus of my 20’s and stepped onto the commuter train of my 30’s I noticed that there were less and less opportunities to get out and enjoy a concert, especially for the bands I’d loved to see a scant ten years ago, and I’ve found myself being put off by the idea of having to fight crowds of drunken youngsters to see them again and either endure the black-hole-crush of ironically dressed bodies near the front of the crowd or stand at the back with the huddles of bored girls and too-cool dudes frantically trying to hold a conversations above the music they paid to come see. I’ve become old; old to the point where I look forward to going to a show that has fixed seating, old to the point where I’m more excited about finding good parking than I am for the encore, old to the point where I’ll wait for the concert to be released on DVD and watch it by myself on a Saturday afternoon while folding laundry. O.L.D.

But you know what, it’s ok. I’ve come to accept that the part of my life where I can head downtown at 9pm on a Tuesday to see some band in a shitty club just to say “I was there, man” has come and gone. I had a good run, I found some great tunes and I’ve got a mature and discriminating collection of music and I know what I like. Also, the internet has made it much easier to discover unknown bands without having to stand in the dark in a smelly rathole venue hoping you didn’t buy tickets to an all-synth screamo folk quartet and though seeing it live is special so is getting enough sleep to get to work on time and be awake enough to take care of your kids.

Anyway, enough about that. We’re here to talk about some music, right? The artist I want to cover today goes by the name Flight Feathers and is the pet project of one Babi Pal of Brooklyn, NY, a multi-instrumentalist who also recorded and mixed the album himself. I heard Flight Feathers during a segment break on Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanaugh’s podcast “Mike and Tom Eat Snacks” and followed the link trail to Pal’s Bandcamp page. What I found (and bought) was “In the Darkness of My Night”: 8 tracks of brilliantly executed, bittersweet indie-folk in the vein of Elliot Smith and Mark Kozeleck with hints of Neil Young and Yo La Tengo sprinkled on top. The music is patient and confident, fully realized and ready to go; this isn’t a basement tape or a demo. Pal has created a perfect soundtrack for a rainy autumn day, you can smell the wet dirt, hear the soft wind and feel the peace that comes from staring quietly out the window at the grey sky and bare trees. From the drowsy waltz of “Afterlife” and the unhurried wander of “The Last Dance” to the more upbeat skip of “Freeze the Frame” and the slowly building cacophony that is “The Beating of My Heart” the album hikes through peaks and valleys, alternating between warm and fuzzy and… warm and fluffy? Ok, so honestly it’s not hugely diverse but it’s got enough character to really pull you in and it truly is one of the best records of it’s kind I’ve heard since Red House Painters’ “Songs for a Blue Guitar”. It’s got the tender acoustic ballads, the lazy swirling vocals and the sharp edge of rock just barely scraping across the surface, not enough to cut but enough to scratch the itch.

Chances are I won’t get to see Flight Feathers perform live, as they’re currently just doing local shows, and by the time they make it out here to the NW they may be so huge that I won’t want to go. However, as I said above, the internet is a great tool for discovery and it’s proved immensely useful again as I’d have never found this little gem.

Check out the album for streaming or downloading at: http://flightfeathers.bandcamp.com/

Getting Washed Off, Washed Over and Washed Away with Washed Out

Washed Out
Within and Without
2011 Sub Pop
by Justin

I’d considered making the sentence “Within and Without is great music, go buy the record.” the entirety of my review, akin to a literary mic-drop, preferably followed by a slow clap, however I suppose that leaves out most of the exposition that’s compulsory in actually writing a record review. So, here’s the subtext of that statement in as many words as it takes to meet my strictly imposed and brutally enforced word quota.

There seems to me a small trend happening in “great music” that involves the creator moving back to a place of familiarity and solitude without the specific intent to make said great music. Just as the now legendary exodus of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon to the wilderness of Wisconsin gave rise to “For Emma, Forever Ago”, Washed Out’s Ernest Greene moved back to peach country in rural Georgia to live with his folks and in a few short months managed to put together two EPs worth of above-par synthpop. There’s something to be said for escaping whatever rut or routine you’re in and returning to a place where you can find your center and while some may take that time to catch up on reading or video games there are those that see hidden parts of themselves uncovered for the first time in years. And I’m not necessarily talking about the tendency to spend solitude sans pants. I digress…

While these EPs served to propel Greene into the limelight they have only a passing resemblance to the modernized production and mellowed grooves of “Within and Without”. Understand that’s not meant to diminish the quality of Washed Out’s early recordings, just an observation. Indeed, “Within and Without” carries some of the same subtle throwback flavors as the EPs “Life of Leisure” and the rare, cassette only “High Times”, but has been lovingly scrubbed and shined to great effect. With that glimmer comes a change in mood and focus from twitchy and self-aware to expansive and warm.

Plainly spoken this is a record of arrival and renewal, like the designer taking the stacks of sketches and refining it to its ultimate idea. The elastic echoes of the opening track “Eyes Be Closed” make it obvious from the start that this album is mean to occupy a larger space, that it’s meant to invoke images of the topography of clouds as you soar above them, of the thin, biting air of high mountain vistas. Tracks like the upbeat “Amor Fati” and the understated title track “Within and Without” recall the warmth and patience of Ulrich Schnauss while maintaining some of the urgency and persistence of Deerhunter and Toro Y Moi. There’s still a fair bit of the vintage 80’s synthpop that made up the foundation on “Echoes” and the sensual bump of “You and I”, which is possibly the most layered and sonically arresting moment on the album. Guest vocalist Caroline Polachek of Chairlift lends her drowsy siren song and breathy whispers which add an extra dose of animalism and carnal gravity that the rest of the album may lack.

Overall, for an artist that’s really just appearing “Within and Without” is a phenomenal accomplishment considering it was rooted in creativity inspired partly by boredom.

Molecular Musicology: Tame Impala

 

tame impala

 

The music of Tame Impala hearkens back to a time long before any of the band’s members were even born. No doubt fermented in the tie-dyed casks of hours spend in Dad’s den or rifling through their high school band teacher’s old LPs, Tame Impala crafts a particularly faithful recreation of the late 1960’s fuzzy psychedelia with just enough forethought to eschew any winks to the modern age. In fact, the production is careful to toss in many of the colorful imperfections that many would argue died with the advent of Pro Tools and Auto-Tune; the mix gets muddy from time to time and the listener must slog through the sloppy soup of crunchy guitars, phasers, reverb, and hissing cymbals to root out exactly what instrument is doing what. This is not a detraction, however, as the effect is engaging and enjoyable, especially on a decent set of cans. Singer Kevin Parker lends another layer of retro-authenticity to the sound with his uncanny vocal mimic of latter-day John Lennon, which is a comparison I’m certain he’s sick of hearing by now.  Further Beatles nostalgia can be found on tracks like “Solitude is Bliss” in which the dry, skipping snare and tumbling drum breaks may have been pulled straight from “Strawberry Fields Forever” and the two-track blend of “Jeremy’s Storm” and “Expectation” recall a more mellow, more groovy take on Led Zeppelin’s “Achilles’ Last Stand”. Toss in the throbbing hot-house distortion of The Kinks on “The Bold Arrow of Time” and you’ve got a fairly comprehensive classic rock tribute that is not just fun for the kids but probably something you could get your dad to listen to with minimal coercion.

Doubt Has Its Benefits (Limp Bizkit, “Gold Cobra”)

Limp Bizkit
Gold Cobra
2011 Flip/Interscope
by Justin

No, this isn't painted on the side of a van.... yet.

The idiom “benefit of the doubt” is generally understood to mean that you believe something because you have no reason not to. At least that’s what it used to mean as lately there’s been a growing aversion to the whole “have no reason not to” part of the arrangement. Used to be that one would either reference personal experiences or accept facts offered in evidence to assert whether or not their original doubt would receive benefits. In other words, if you can prove something to be correct or incorrect, then there is no longer doubt. However one look at the way our society behaves in regard to conspiracy, scandal or science shows that even facts can’t overrule the idiocy of the “anything is possible” position. Obama’s birth certificate? Proven. Yet there are still birthers. 9/11? Tragic but not a U.S. born conspiracy. Yet some still insist on the plausibility of a grand plan orchestrated by a cabal of omnipotent world leaders. Fucking SCIENCE, literally the explanation of the mechanics of the universe as understood by repeated observation and tests and endless corroborating evidence.  Widely accepted by mankind and interweaved into every aspect of existence. Yet there are still states that think the mythology of the ancient Hebrews should be taught as EQUALLY FACTUAL to evolution. Lindsay Lohan could stumble out of a bar at 7am stinking of vodka and holding an open can of Coors and tell paparazzi with a straight face that she’s never had a drop of booze in her life and there would be someone who would defend that by saying “well, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt.” That’s not how that phrase works. You’re doing it wrong.

So, what the fuck does this have to do with Limp Bizkit’s new record “Gold Cobra”? Well I have to imagine that the creation of this record had to contain no less than a dozen unfortunate uses of the phrase “let’s give him the benefit of the doubt”. I imagine a producer and a label marketing guy sitting in a dark booth watching through the glass as Fred Durst and Co. do it all again for the Nookie in the studio. Their conversation goes something like this:

“But no one likes Nu-metal anymore.”
“Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.”
“But Limp Bizkit hasn’t had an original musical idea in 15 years”
“Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.”
“But he’s doing EXACTLY the same music he did in 1999, culture has moved on, this is no longer relevant music and people are going to hate it!”
“Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.”
“But he’s doing a song called AUTOTUNAGE which is Rap-Metal with T-Pain levels of Autotune and is preceded by a skit of Fred talking into the vocoder like a 10 year old boy talking through a box fan!”
“Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.”

You see? When facts and rational thinking are no longer valid arguments anything can be given license to exist simply based by continuing its doubt benefits. At some point Fred Durst, against all perceived better judgment, began to work on a new Limp Bizkit album. No amount of persuasion would nudge him from the path he was set to, and it was easy to stay on that path because he’s been running up and down it since before many of us old codgers finished high school. Where his former peers have evolved, re-tooled, expanded or simply vanished, Durst insists on sticking his fingers in his ears and pulling down his backwards red cap and refusing to admit that he’s overshot his window of relevance by a decade.

But you know what the worst part about all this is? I’m WRONG. Yes! Despite everything I’ve written above being “correct” I will be proven wrong but the benefit of the doubt. This record will sell a lot of copies. Limp Bizkit will tour. They’ll be back on the radio again and probably have 2 singles. In the same way Wikipedia is magically changed to reflect certain stupid politicians ignorant gaffes, so too will the music charts reflect an altered reality in which Limp Bizkit has a hit record in 2011, thirteen years after their heyday and 6 years after their last album.

There’s an understanding in the entertainment industry that the dumbest person in the room’s opinion is equally valuable to the opinion of experts in the field. This spills out into almost all facets of life now as politicians will defiantly assert that they “do not believe” in climate change as though it’s a ballot that will be voted upon, or when a religious leader claims that homosexuality is nothing more than a bad habit that can be “cured”. Just listen in on any coffee shop discussion about religion, politics, sports or celebrities and you’ll see a table full of average, regular, salt-of-the-earth idiots transform into wise, learned scholars with complex opinions and years of experience to back up the claim that “Obama isn’t doing anything to fix the economy.” or “That Octomom should have her kids taken away from her.” We’ll see the same lazy approach to thought applied to “Gold Cobra”; people will come up with reasons why it’s good, they’ll hear the album out of context from present day reality and think it’s supposed to be here. They’ll assume, like is typical with most mainstream entertainment, that the very fact that it got made and they’re aware of it defines it as good. If it were bad it wouldn’t be on the radio, right? If it were bad they wouldn’t have let him make the record in the first place, right? If it were bad, would so many people say they like it?

You know, I’m really not sure anymore, but I guess I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.