With new music dropping on the internet daily, it’s almost impossible to cover everything. To add to that, not every song/video is a hit. Even the most respected artists can fail miserably, while a self produced band can blow you away. Let us comb through the mess for you, as we offer a look at the most impressive, the most terrible, and the most WTF music to debut, in: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
This week I’m doing The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly but I wanted to make it a bit different. It’s not that these songs are necessarily all the way bad or all the way good. They’re interesting. So let’s have fun examining these three tracks.
Ceremony – “The Separation”
In 2011, hardcore music had a resurgence into the mainstream. Bands once derided fo having screaming vocals and for being too loud, Pitchfork now championed. In turn, prominent independent record labels rushed to sign hardcore bands. Ceremony’s “Zoo,” their first album for Matador Records, was a divergence from their earlier, rougher sound. It was surprising. When I first heard “Adult” on XM Radio, it pissed me off. I thought this was a great example of a band changing their sound to cater to their record label.
When Ceremony dropped “The Separation” two weeks ago, I had the same visceral reaction. I wanted to eviscerate it as a flopping Joy Division rip off. But after a second listen, I didn’t feel angry anymore. In fact, I kind of liked it.
Ceremony wears the Joy Division influence on their sleeve. Hell, their band is named after a Joy Division song. But somehow the track is more interesting than pure homage. The spacey 80’s guitar highlighted by the subtle, haunting keys, work to create a bleak atmosphere. Ross Farrar’s Ian Curtis-like repetition of “How do you measure the loss?” brings the listener deeper into the shadows. Whether or not a post-punk Ceremony record will work is still to be seen, but this track is a promising sign.
Teenage Wrist – “Slide Away”
This song confuses the heck out of me. I’m intrigued by the first fuzzy notes that escape the guitar. The instrumentation fits the tone perfectly; the shoegaze elements converge to create a dreamy atmosphere. Paired with the lyrics, “You’re an illusion I dreamed asleep,” the track encapsulates that feeling of waking up from a beautiful dream and realizing that that transcendent feeling is gone. It’s heartbreaking.
But boy does the singer sound like a tool.
As much as I enjoy the guitars on this record, I equally hate the vocals. He sounds like a burnt out, Pukka necklace wearing rocker mixed with the lead singer of Revis or some other post-grunge band from the Daredevil soundtrack.
After listening to it 10 or so times, I can’t decide whether it’s good or bad. But that’s the beauty of music. It doesn’t have to be binary! There can be certain elements you enjoy from a song, and others you hate. This song is the perfect example of that dichotomy for me.
The Fish in a Bucket
Three Days Grace – “Human Race”
This is easy. It’s a song by Three Days Grace. Of course it’s bad. It’s as easy as shooting a fish in a bucket to rip it apart. But let’s take a step back for a moment to examine just how strange of a song this is.
Last time I checked in with Three Days Grace, they spouted off a ticked off anthem about how they hated their ex-girlfriends. In TYOOL 2015, they’re as mad as ever, but this time it’s about the whole human race. And not the human race as in people are humans. No, no, no. The human race in this song is a literal race. New singer Matt Walst (they replaced the singer? I couldn’t tell until I looked at Wikipedia) is sick of running. So what does he want to do? Go to space, naturally. In the chorus, he sings in aggressive, overly processed vocals “I don’t belong here/ not in this atmosphere/ goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.” But doesn’t he realize the extraterrestrials he desires to hang out with probably will be less accepting of his guyliner and ugly arm tattoos?
Having made generic hard rock for over a decade, it makes sense Three Days Grace would look for a more futuristic sound. Honestly, I commend them on trying something different. But with lyrics that a sixth grader would scoff at, they’re not trying hard enough. Also, this track should be the beginning of an overstuffed, sci-fi epic, not one track off a 39 minute butt rock snooze fest.