Blast From The Past

BLAST FROM THE PAST #4: Linkin Park

A recent episode of South Park posited that there comes a time in your life when everything you once loved as a kid starts looking like crap once you’re older. While I will certainly admit to growing more critical and cynical as I’ve grown, I’d like to think people don’t change that much. Some things in life never get old – I’ll probably always have a soft spot for U2 and Green Day, for the Three Stooges and Looney Tunes cartoons (and South Park, for that matter), for Super Mario Bros. 3 and Final Fantasy VII. Then there are things that give you little to no sense of pride or nostalgia, things that make you look back and wonder, “Why the hell did I ever like that?” And for me, sometimes I look back to my teenage years and try to figure out why it took me so long to grow out of nu-metal, though I do give that particular phase credit for helping me get into heavier music.

I was never a hardcore fan of that whole late-‘90s, early-double-0s scene, but I did get my feet wet. I liked Korn’s singles back then, but never bought any of their albums. I could never really get into the Deftones (and still haven’t, even though I’ve heard lots of good things about them) or P.O.D. I flat-out didn’t like Disturbed at all (and still don’t). System Of A Down? They were okay, but I never really got into their stuff either. I didn’t hear anything by Slipknot for the first time until long after the nu-metal craze had hit its peak, though I’d seen plenty of their merchandise around school. There was a brief period where I actually considered getting that Crazy Town album with “Butterfly” on it – yes, I once thought the guys who horrifically mutilated “New Noise” by Refused were at least competent musicians. I was totally ready to buy Kid Rock as an “American Bad Ass” until I found out that he took that riff from an old Metallica song (for the record, I’m usually OK with sampling as long as you make interesting alterations or additions to the sample; leaving the sample as it is comes off as lazy, like all you did was make up new lyrics to someone else’s song). And who the hell were Primer 55 and Ill Niño? I certainly didn’t know.

Really, there were (and are) only a handful of albums in my collection that probably qualify as nu-metal at all: the first three Limp Bizkit albums, Infest by Papa Roach, The Lonely Position of Neutral by Trust Company, and of course the required soundtracks for any angsty teenager’s life from 2000 to 2004, Hybrid Theory and Meteora by Linkin Park.

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BLAST FROM THE PAST #3: Weathered

SETH GREEN: Hey, you guys hear that? It sounds like Creed!

DAX SHEPARD: I never thought I’d be so happy to hear anything that sounds like Creed!

Without A Paddle

Ah, Creed. How I remember the halcyon days of 2000 when their songs were played on the radio every ten minutes and on TRL every day after school between Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys. And how the “Pearl Jam rip-off” criticism was so prevalent that Y-100 actually held a contest where they played a song by either Creed or Pearl Jam and you could win a prize if you called the station and correctly identified the performer. I also remember how Scott Stapp wrote songs about God, kind of looked like Jesus, and struck so many poses WITH AHHRMS WAAAHDE OHH-PUN that the only way the Christ allusions could be any more obvious would have been to shoot a video at Golgotha (although they did shoot the “Don’t Stop Dancing” video in a church)… while simultaneously proclaiming that no, they were not a Christian rock band, and where in the world could you ever get that idea?

(Two videos, people. I got these images from TWO VIDEOS.)

I also remember having two of their albums. Human Clay was a burned copy and I remember listening to it once, being bored with it unless the singles were playing (now where have I made that biting criticism before?), and never really bothering with it again. I vaguely recall the non-singles often being kind of slow-paced and sometimes overlong, though never as egregiously overlong as the last album I reviewed for this feature. For all I know I could be completely wrong about this. But even now that I’m going back and revisiting all these old albums, I still feel no urge to dig up Human Clay and listen to it again.

Weathered, on the other hand… well, that was a completely different story.

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BLAST FROM THE PAST #2: Be Here Now

I probably own the wrong Oasis album.

As far as I can tell the general consensus surrounding the Gallagher brothers and company is that they peaked early in their career. Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? are remembered as classics of the mid-‘90s Britpop explosion. Many of the band’s most memorable songs – “Live Forever,” “Supersonic,” “Wonderwall,” “Champagne Supernova,” “Don’t Look Back In Anger,” and so on – can be found on those two albums. And while Oasis had to deal with the “Beatles rip-offs” criticism for much of their career, those two albums made them international superstars.

I have neither of those albums.

No, I have the album whose name has since become synonymous with artistic excess. I have the album that is now a case study in a band expanding their sound too far. I have the album where Oasis basically took everything they could get their hands on – including the kitchen sink – and squeezed all of it onto a single disc without anyone saying, “You know, maybe we should cut some of this stuff out.” I have the album that, despite selling eight million copies worldwide and being the fastest-selling album in U.K. history at the time and all the praise it garnered upon release, is now often remembered as the point where Oasis more or less jumped the shark. I have a copy of Be Here Now.

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BLAST FROM THE PAST #1: Silver Side Up

Yeah, that’s right. I own a Nickelback album.

It’s been resting comfortably in one of my CD towers in my bedroom, mostly untouched, for nearly a decade. I got it when I was 15, right in the thick of my nu-metal/pop-punk/post-grunge phase. In fact, I asked for it for my birthday that year. My birthday is September 27. The year was 2001. Silver Side Up, fresh off the radio success of the band’s breakout single “How You Remind Me,” had just come out a few weeks earlier, on September 11. (I think we all remember what else happened that day.)

You know what else I wanted for that birthday? Come Clean, the first album from Fred Durst protégés Puddle Of Mudd. Ah, to be 15 and so easily charmed by songs called “She Fucking Hates Me.”

Chill out, Lightning. At least YOU didn't get a Nickelback album.

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