Music As Reading: Mixtape IX, Nu Metal: A Critical Re-reading (by Greg Dwan)
*Many, many thanks to Greg Dwan for this, the first in a series of superb guest mixtapes.*
Between Angels and Insects – Papa Roach [Infest, 2000] Essentially Jacoby Dakota Shaddix, or ‘Coby Dick’ as he was known at the time, shouting quotes from Fight Club over the opening riff of Prowler by Iron Maiden: “Working jobs that you hate for shit you don’t need” and “the things you own, own you”. Fred Durst may have “seen Fight Club about 38 times”, but perhaps he’d have a better reputation as a lyricist if Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water opened with his wondering what kind of dining set defines him as a person.
Down With the Sickness – Disturbed [The Sickness, 2000] Featuring the greatest mid-song rhythmic dramatic monologue ever set to wax.
Daydreams – (hed) PE [Only In Amerika, 2005] “Hey man, here’s a little love song for all you little bitches” – while the irony that soaks through all of (hed) PE’s career, intentionally or not, is present in this song in bucket loads from start to finish, the chorus is lifted directly from W.B.Yeats’ ‘He wishes for the cloths of Heaven’: “I would give you anything / But I don't have anything / Just these crazy daydreams / and they are not worth anything”. In an album that also features the repeated backing vocals: “If I suck your dick will you put it inside me?” Jared Gomes is asking you to tread softly because you tread on his dreams.
This Is Not – Static-X [Machine, 2001] The sound of a man with huge spiky hair having a violent existentialist breakdown.
Youth of the Nation – P.O.D [Satellite, 2001] P.O.D managed to get this out before both Bowling for Columbine and Kelly Rowland’s solo effort “Stole” based on the same message, proving not only that they were quicker on the uptake with the artistic cashing in on Columbine fever, but that they were also much more literate lyricists. “Instead of taking the test I took two to the chest” may not go down as the greatest school-shooting based line in history, but it’s leagues above Rowland’s effort: “His life was stole (Stole, Oh)” [sic].
Mutter – Rammstein [Mutter, 2001] Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has mummy issues. You’ll probably need a translation.
New Disease – Spineshank [The Height of Callousness, 2000] A potent rephrasing of Albany’s couplet in King Lear, Act 1, Scene IV: “How far your eyes may pierce I can not tell: /Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.”
Nothing Gets Nothing – American Head Charge [The War of Art, 2001] More Lear.
Across the Nation – The Union Underground [WWF Forceable Entry, 2002] Nu Metal party beat poetry.
Holy Man – One Minute Silence [Buy Now...Saved Later, 2000] Yap from OMS started a career as a slam poet and public speaker after the demise of the band. I assume his clichéd political ravings and catchy slogans sound just awful without funk metal blasting them forward.
Mudvayne – Death Blooms [LD:50, 2000] DEEP SHIT.
My Oedipus Complex – Kid Rock [The History of Rock, 2000] Kid Rock thinks he can get away with writing a song about how he never got on with his old man, give it this title, and completely avoid any reference to banging his own mum.
*NB: Alas, due to Spotify’s shortcomings, we had to go with a cover of Rammstein’s Mutter (by the gloriously name Völkerball) and a different One Minute Silence track. We went with Stuck Between a Rock and a White Face because, well, because it’s called Stuck Between a Rock and a White Face. Sorry Greg.*