I had spring break this past week and RG and I drove from Elon to Indiana where friend_regan goes to school. Then from there to see Springer in Chicago and hang with friends_dacie_and_emily. In that time, since the I-Pod connector wasn't working, we listened to CDs. A lot of them. PGP2 came up a bunch because we were too lazy to switch out CDs. This game me plenty of time to give this a thorough thinkin' through.
This isn't really going to be an album review. I guess you could see it that way if you want to, but I'm just going to say a few comments on what I think of the song/band/choices made for this album. First, though, a few general comments.
I was really pumped when I heard about PGP2--I absolutely love PGP1. The bands chosen did a pretty damn good job covering some pretty popular pop songs. This time around though, a few things threw me off and made me, on the whole, hate this album. I know it is a very biased way to look at it, but I will be comparing 2 to 1 a bunch because, well, its better.
These things are as follows:
1. Unnecessary Screaming: Self-explanatory. When this first type of music first started, I was into it. There was a raw energy that appealed to me. I found myself sitting on my roof outside my room or just in my room screaming along, air-guitaring it up. Sometimes I even air-drummed it. And then a couple months passed and new bands were still coming out doing the same thing. The music all started to blend together. Here on PGP2, we see the nexus of all these bands. Except for 2 or 3 tracks, every single track on PGP2 has unnecessary screaming. The covers are good up to a point, where you are assaulted with throaty, harsh noises (not really even words, it just sounds like someone is trying to projectile vomit).
2. Band Choice: On PGP1 and even on Crunk, the bands were good. Like, really good. There was a wide variety of types of pop punk represented on PGP1 and on Crunk a whole slew of styles (more or less--I'm thinking variety in terms of Say Anything to ATL to say, FTSK). Here, this point coincides with point 1: too many screamo bands. Yes Fearless, I get it, you like screamo bands and so do thousands of preteen angsty girls out there, but what about everyone else? Those guys and gals that are nearing the ends of their college careers, having grown up with the scene that evolved around screaming. The people who have a bunch of those bands on their I-Pods and listen to them for nostalgia purposes from time to time or when they decide that, hey, i'm allowed to be upset from time to time and I want to express that through my music for six or seven minutes. What about getting bands to represent them? Every band out there has pop covers, that is just a given, go to any live show and you'll most likely a cover of something (I've been present at "Just can't wait to be king," "bittersweet symphony" and "milkshake" covers). Just find some other bands. There may be contractual reasons that Fearless couldn't get other bands, but since those are not out there for the public I am ignoring them.
And now, I will discuss the tracks.
1.. "What Goes Around.../...Comes Around"---Alesana---Justin Timberlake
----I don’t particularly care for either of these bands. The track doesn’t do anything for me as an opening track either. Nothing special. I wish I had more to say.
----Another one of my favorite tracks on the album.
3. "...Baby One More Time"---August Burns Red---Britney Spears
---- First, this was on PGP1. It shouldn’t be on two. They should’ve rolled up a newspaper and hit August Burns Red collectively on the nose and gone “No! Don’t do that!” I can’t even listen to more than a few seconds of this song. It is shit. ‘Nuff said.
4. "When I Grow Up"---Mayday Parade---Pussycat Dolls
---Since my last time seeing Mayday, my opinion of them has sunk. The band members each seemed to be playing for themselves, not together as a band. This song has nothing to do with that, but that thought sits in my head.
5. "Over My Head (Cable Car)"---A Day to Remember---The Fray
---Hmm. This one intrigued me. I think it was a curious/bold move to switch genres for the song so drastically, but, more or less, this one worked. Except for the screaming (well, if you haven't figured out that I'm harping on this by now, go reread the beginning of this piece).
6. "Smooth"---Escape the Fate---Santana
----Santana is one of my favorite artists and has been since I was a kid. The sexuality imbued in his kickass guitar pieces is awesome and ever since my dad popped Abraxis into the tape player I was hooked. Then Supernatural came out and it was good, cause it still had Santana and his awesome guitar. “Smooth” is my favorite track on that album and the first time I listened to this I was stoked. Then there came all that screaming and sich (Yes, sich, watch South Park more if you don’t get it). By this point, though, my body had developed a callous shell against it, I was a little dead on the outside, but it protected me from the pointless noise. I like what they did with the guitar in this, I’m glad they didn’t kill it.
7. "Ice Box"---There for Tomorrow---Omarion
----Not a bad cover, but I feel this would’ve fit better on Crunk. Then again, a bunch of these tracks would fit better on that album, especially if they consider Will Smith ‘crunk.’ So, thinking along those lines, was PGP2 just a Crunk b-sides album? Jeez, thanks for putting in the effort to try and put good songs on a CD Fearless. Just because we’re not buying as much music as we used to, and you’re not making as much money or anything doesn’t mean we still don’t care.
8. "Flagpole Sitta"---Chiodos---Harvey Danger
----Compared to all of the other songs on here (except maybe “Smooth”), this track seemed out of place. This track was in high school when the rest of the songs were still playing hopscotch during elementary school recess. I think Chiodos did a pretty decent job with it.
9. "Beautiful Girls"---Bayside---Sean Kingston
--Seriously, you're letting people who define themselves by saying they want to cut themselves listen to someone who they look up to singing the words "you had me suicidal/suicidal when you said it's over." Are you fucking insane Fearless? I see that as dipping a baby's hand in water then setting them down in a room full of electrical outlets. Tact, you (Fearless) have none. On the other hand, this song doesn't have unnecessary screaming, which gave it bonus points in my book, and I think Raneri's voice works for this, minus the content.
10. "See You Again"---Breathe Carolina---Miley Cyrus
---Both the original songtress and cover band need to be put on nuclear testing islands. BC is riding that wave of popularity of all those sorts of hardcore crunk/techno bands. Give it up, you will go down in history as a blip on the radar.
11. "Disturbia"---The Cab---Rihanna
---Rihanna must be proud, every song she makes these days is covered by scores of unimpressive emo-pop-synth-whatever bands. Yehaw, let me go get my guitar so I can cover some of her songs, too. I know, I’ll do a mash-up, I’ll call it “Umbrurbia.”
12. "Toxic"---A Static Lullaby----Britney Spears
---I was shocked when I saw that ASL put out a video for this. That ruined it right away (that and the screaming). First, there is already another abominably covered Spears song on here (not that the songs weren't already bad). Second, how bad off as a band are you when you need to put out a video of a cover song to try and stir up some interest in your band? I know, I know, Madonna did it with American Pie and tons of other people probably have too, but "toxic" is still considered our generation. When "American Pie" came out, it was at least a decade or two after the original came out. Get it? There was time for popularity to ebb and flow. With Britney Spears, she's been in the news since "Baby One More Time" and that skirt/ white shirt combo (she was so hot back then, when I was in grammar school), can we please stop giving her more attention than she deserves?
13. "Love Song"---Four Year Strong---Sara Bareilles
---This is my favorite song on the album, I think. When I first heard it, it made me laugh a little. Yeah, I don't like the screaming but at this point on the cd my body developed a callous to it, I was a little dead on the outside, but it protected me from the pointless noise.
14. "I Kissed a Girl"---Attack Attack!---Katy Perry
---Yay, another song covered a billion times. Let me just say this, less talking about girl-on-girl, more actually girl-on-girl, then this song might be bearable.
I realize a lot of this is ranting, but I'm okay with it. This album seriously disappointed me (it is on par with PATD!'s live show being a huge disappointment also) and I hate when that happens. A little part of me dies. It is like when you go on vacation and you hear all of this stuff about how magnificient all of the beaches are, but once you get there all you see is rain and crack whores on the beach. Major bummer, dude.
Things you could listen to that would not take precious seconds away from your lifespan: Tom Waits, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Count The Stars, The Starting Line.
Anyway, comment so that I know what everyone else thinks, if I am alone on this position (or not).
So, to any music lover, I think this post will ring true. I was thinking about it alot on the way home from the mall today when I was shuffling through my CDs, looking for songs that I could scream along to, but I didn't have to think to much about.
To any music lover, a relationship is an act of self-sabotage, whereby the music lover infects and scars a part of his or her brain with bad memories or emotions that s/he has related to a particular song over time.
Think about it, I will give you some examples.
The Starting Line - Best of Me (BoM).
I think this song may be one of the universal truths in pop/emo/punk whatever in terms of a love song. When I used to go to TSL shows, when they played BoM, it was inevitable that all the couples would start swaying in time, kissing, hand holding, all of that. I am guilty of this too, on numerous occasions. It is one of those songs that I knew (read: knew at the time i was enamored with... whoever) would mean alot to that person if i told them that the song made me think of them, or that the lyrics had this special meaning, or anything, you guys know what i'm talking about. Couples have "their" song. (This song is usually taken from one of the person's favorite songs, one that meant so much to them before this person ever got there This song seems amazing at the time. It is a song that the person has screamed to his or her self in the privacy of the bedroom endlessly, the repeat 1 light acting as the only illumination in the room.) This significant other, you get lost in the significant other's eyes, you call them more than you talk to your parents, (and now) your facebook wall/bumper sticker thing is loaded with things from them, more than from anyone else. [Enter fights, nerves, time, another member of your sex] The deceit starts, the annoyingness at too many calls, texts, et cetera. You guys break up. [Enter more fights]. Suddenly, that song of yours, that song you always loved, is bitter. When you hear it, you envision your stomach twisting and taste bile in the back of your throat, your brain goes through mental anguish boot camp. But, you always loved that song, you want to keep loving that song, yet, it now has all these bad memories. You've screwed yourself over.
For me, I tried to stay away from plastering a name to BoM in the various relationships I've been in over time. It was there on the periphery, and we played it and listened to it, and I may have said that it was important but it was never THE song. Until the last relationship I was in (ca. March-June 08). I felt I was ready to finally tack a name onto it. It seemed happy. it seemed stable. And then I came home for the summer and issues of depression came up and one member of our two could not deal with the other person's issues that he was dealing with. So, that ended that one. And now, I hear BoM all the time still, I have to, it is one of my favorite songs, it has weathered other relationships. But now there's that curse on it, and I hate it. I hate myself for attaching meaning to it, and it annoys me that I can't get over it. it is laughable a bit, because I mean I'm writing about it, I recognize it. I don't know, maybe I am over it. I'd like to think so at times. (I don't mean I'm not over the relationship, that's been buried since the summer, I mean the whole song thing)
There's more to this freethinking. I just have to go to work, so i'll update this blog later. If anyone reads this in the meantime though, what songs have been screwed up for you?
"I'm just a little asshole, is what I am. When God made me, He must not have been paying very close attention, 'cos I turned out wrong--just plain wrong." --Butters Stotch
I'm reading a book about philosophy and South Park, yes they exist, for a project I am doing on South Park and media (my arguement is that the show is actually important, that what they say is rhetorically good for our country) and I came across that quote. Now, Butters is the lovable schmuck with all the bad luck on the show, but I think that quote is funny and sad and hits-homing and everything all at the same time.
Considering the basis for what, like 90% of the blogs on here is to talk about how we ourselves feel, and the stupid shit we go through (whether we are the ones bringing it upon ourselves or whether it is the cards dealt to us by...whoever) i think that quote fits. It expresses the idea that so many of us acknowledge we are screwed up and not always in a good way. People can joke about being good crazy or bad crazy, I know I do, and often (or about finding a girl/boyfriend who is "good" crazy as opposed to "bad" crazy), but i think this goes beyond that. We joke because we're fucking scared. I know, for myself, when telling the few people I did about going to therapy and the depression and pills and anxiety and all that stuff, i try and cover it, smother it in jokes and laughing and shit. As I said when I first posted it about it. I thought they were going to write me off and tell me to smile a little more, get over it.
We, as a society use humor all the time to deal with fear. I remember, back when the twin towers were attacked, how many cartoons there were of memorials--giant middle fingers pointed towards the Middle East and the "dirty towelheads" and that motherfucker Bin Laden. Et cetera. We were scared Shitless, so we tried to laugh it off.
In that scene in south park, Butters is doing sorta the same thing. He's acknowledging he's screwed up, albeit not necessarily liking it. I'm not saying we'll all like it. But I think acknowledging my help. We go on and on about whatever on here, talking about everyone else and how they interact with us. -----Well, some do and don't talk about how they themselves are feeling about it---and on the other hand you have the people who don't think that anything outside is to blame(wait... that isn't what I mean... I think I'm trying to get at a polarized view of things... people have those and don't acknowledge everything... i guess it would be more a "everybody is fucking me over, I'm not messed up" sorta thing) Anyway... I guess what I'm trying to say is that I like that quote. it explains a lot in a sick/sad way.
Then again, I could just be ranting, and you could take it for what it is, a quote from the lovable schmuck with all the bad luck, Butters, from a show that so so many around the world Hate for the irreparable damage it has done to our collective psyche.
Man, I rambled more than a drunken hobo trying to get back to his cardboard box.
Novel update: 2 pages. Huzzah. Take that and smoke it Steven King, then get run over by another truck, you writer-imposter, you.