May 3, 2005
Fuck Rolling Stone (Or: Meathead's Official Review Of [AWITHA_TEETHA])
I wasn't aware of this until just now, but apparently Trent Razor just put out a new CD, called [AWITHA_TEETHA]. I mean a real new CD this time, not some re-released old CD packaged in such a manner as to imply that it's new. So, since I'm that Meathead guy, I thought I'd take a break from snowboarding in hell to write up a crappy review of this album that I just now listened to for the absolute very first time ever. Because that's the way to properly review a CD: listen to it one time and then act like you know it inside out and insist everyone should respect your opinion like it's printed in the Bible with red ink. And I'll be sure to throw in some half-assed jokes that only people with an I.Q. of 12 or lower will find funny, because that's the Meathead Perspective way.
First of all, I honestly have to say I'm a little let down with the packaging. Why can't they just come out and admit that they were on a tight budget, instead of acting like this whole "minimalist" theme is totally intentional? I mean, come on. I know the music is what really matters and all that horseshit, but seriously, I think they could have done a little better than this.
Anyway, once I got past the crushing disappointment of the aesthetic aspect of the album the only way one can, with two klonopins and a bottle of Crown Royal, I decided it was time to move on with my life and listen to these songs that Trent apparently made last year while Jerome and Alessandro were bogarting the Asteroids machine. Since this was the first time I'd ever listened to the album (seriously), I had no idea what to expect. Turns out here were a lot of surprises, thrills and spills. Both times NIN has come out with a new album, it's gone in a totally different direction than before (well, except for the first album I guess), and [AWITHA_TEETHA] is no exception. No matter what style of music you're into, you're bound to find something here that suits your taste, from underwater banjo solos to overdriven jazz flute harmonies to parakeets rapping. And I really, really hope you like tambourines.
This time I thought I'd do something totally new and different from what I've done in the past, and create some colorful little icons that represent different aspects of [AWITHA_TEETHA]'s songs. Study them carefully, or I will steal your cat.
ALL THE LOVE IN THE WORLD
Have you always wanted to hear a NIN song where Trent quotes Elvis songs over a sparse drum 'n bass beat which eventually gives way to an all-out gospel style chorus? No? Oh. Well, in that case, you might want to skip this song. For those of us with taste (pronounced "awitha taste-a") however, this song is just what the doctor ordered. Assuming, of course, the "doctor" is a fraud who prescribes Nine Inch Nails songs to his patients instead of much-needed medicine, in clear violation of the Hippocratic oath. I give this song 18 stars (out of 21), because while the end part is both funky and fresh, the verses are just a tiny bit too Why don't I move on to the next song?
YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE?
This is the part where Trent is like "hey wait, no, come back, we're still Nine Inch Nails, see?" This song starts out with the kind of insane drum beat that makes Jerome demand a raise, and Trent says some stuff about getting through to the other side or whatever. Then the chorus explodes and causes severe damage to your speakers. Apparently Trent is either insanely pissed off, or the person he is addressing is simply hard of hearing. "DON'T YOU FUCKING KNOW WHAT YOU ARE? THE BEST GRANDPA EVER, THAT'S WHAT!" This song gets 41 out of 46 stars. The music is cool, but the lyrics seem just a little Mansony in places (sorry).
This next song features some more in-your-face drumming from that Nirvana guy. Trent introduces himself as The Collector, and informs us of what he does (he collects things). Apparently he has become quite the packrat, and now he is running out of space in his apartment with all those beanie babies and NASCAR plates piling up everywhere. So goddamned many Hummel figurines it gets hard to breathe. Seriously, dude, haven't you ever heard of a yard sale? I give this song 11 out of 13 stars. I like the stripped down, no fancy stuff attitude it's got going on.
THE HAND THAT FEEDS
Maybe if I hadn't heard this song already 48 googolplex times and seen lyrics from it pasted on every single square inch of the earth's surface, I might have a less biased opinion of it. But since this is now impossible, I'm going to have to say that this is probably the least interesting song on the album. And of course, there's the fact that it's totally gay ass, according to firstname.lastname@example.org, the official spokesperson for the entire NIN fan community. One redeeming factor is that you can disco dance to it, and that little synth solo thingamadoohickey is pretty slick. I give this song 16 out of 24 stars. I guess you could say this is basically [AWITHA_TEETHA]'s "Starfuckers."
LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH
Another stripped-down-sounding song (who knew?). It's a pretty rockin' tune, but I already had the live version planted squarely in my brain, so I was expecting something a little heavier on the album. When it got to the chorus, I expected a punch in the face and instead Trent just threw a wet sponge at me and ran away crying. This song will eventually grow on me with subsequent listens, but since I've currently only heard the album version this one single time, it feels a little flat. I give it 56 out of 67 stars. Clearly meant to be experienced live, this song suffers a little from "Terrible Lie" syndrome.
EVERY DAY IS EXACTLY THE SAME
Finally, a good song (just kidding LOL)! Here Trent appears to be bored because there's nothing interesting going on in his life. Get up every morning, check the Meathead Perspective for updates, walk the dog, go to Waffle House to have some hash browns and say hi to Keith Hillebrandt before he gets off work, go home and check the Meathead Perspective again, then play EverQuest the rest of the night. That's gotta get pretty boring after a while (except for reading the Meathead Perspective, I can't imagine ever getting tired of that). So finally Trent decided he'd break from the routine and write a new song. And what a song it is! At one point, near the end, he talks about writing something on a piece of paper and hiding it someplace where nobody will think to look for it. He's probably talking about behind that box of energy bars in the cupboard. I know nobody else touches those nasty things. I give this song 116 out of 118 stars. Really good and well-produced, but it borders on being too catchy. Stop being so goddamned catchy! You catchy bastard!
The title track is loud and heavy, and lumbers along like someone's drunk uncle at an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. I don't know what in the hell that's supposed to mean, but it's not a bad thing. It's somewhat reminiscent of The Fragile's title track, complete with the obligatory introspective, quiet part leading in to the loud, clanging conclusion. Except this time, the quiet part is even more quiet, and the loud and clanging conclusion is even more loud and even more clanging. And the tambourine... that fuckin' tambourine. Rock on! I give this song 58 out of 61 stars. Why do I get the feeling that James Hetfield is calling his lawyer right now?
Two words: Money Shot. 169 more words: This is the song that, if you had the album playing in the background at a party for some reason, would make the room go dead silent, until some wasted frat guy (considering the parties you throw) says "Dude, what the fuck is this disco shit? Put on some Bizkit!!" Yeah, it's that good, and without a doubt the single weirdest song transition ever on a NIN album. At first I assumed the disc was defective and I was about to angrily return it to the place of purchase, but eventually I realized that it's supposed to sound like that, and soon afterwards I realized that it totally kicks my ass. Trent repeatedly insists that there is no me, there is only him, so guess what? I'm Trent Reznor! And so are you! And so is your goldfish! And so is Aaron North! I give this song 183 out of 184 stars, simply because I don't want to inflate Trent's ego too much by giving it 184 out of 184. Travolta-rrific!
Okay, I know Trent has been desperately hoping and praying for another Honey, I Shrunk The Kids sequel, and obviously hoped that this song would be the catalyst that brings his dream into reality, but I really think he needs to just let it go. Regardless, this song is still pretty rockin' in its own special way. Trent must have
Trent complains that sunspots are hurting his eyes, but I think maybe the problem is that he's looking directly at the sun with a telescope, which is really the only way to actually see sunspots. That's not healthy. Anyway, this is a really heavy, funky jam that slowly builds up into a loud symphony of noises (god I'm lame). One thing that really stands out in this song is what appears to be a vacuum cleaner running in the background, beginning at the second chorus. I imagine Trent and whoever else were in the studio recording when the cleaning lady came in and started vacuuming without even waiting for them to finish. But since they were high on
THE LINE BEGINS TO BLUR
GROHL SMASH!!! At this point Trent decides he hasn't yelled at the top of his lungs enough on this album, so he quickly remedies the situation. They really turn it up to 11 with this one. Imagine having someone shout at you about how bad their day was while the shitty speakers you bought on sale at Wal-Mart melt from the intensity of pure, raw noise. Or else just go buy the CD and listen for yourself, whichever works best for you. Unfortunately, Trent is getting pretty old now so he isn't able to maintain that level of shouting throughout the entire song. He takes a breather during the chorus, and regales us with some "ooo-ooo" stuff towards the end. But hey, bless him for trying. I give it 95 out of 99 stars.
BESIDE YOU IN TIME
Okay, it's kind of hard to believe someone when they say they don't use drugs and then put out a song like this. Suuuure. This isn't a bad song by any means, but definitely one that will elicit countless "woaaah"s and "duuuude"s in smoke-filled dorm rooms for years to come. Here's something else to think about when you're stoned: Who is he talking about being beside, when he already said "there is no you"? Far out, man. This song gets 16 out of 17 stars that might not even exist outside of your mind. This is the song that never ends, it just goes on and on and on and on...
RIGHT WHERE IT BELONGS
I'm sure right now Johnny Cash is pissed off that he didn't stick around long enough to cover this song instead. People have been calling it "the new 'Hurt'," which might be true on a very basic level. But whereas "Hurt" was about... well, hurting, "Right Where It Belongs" is more about life being a dream and all that hippie shit. It's a nice little song, but it's a little annoying that he sings the first half of it with his shirt pulled up over his head. I'm guessing he was just trying to show off his six-pack to whoever was in the room at the time, but it seems pretty unnecessary to me, and it really interferes with the clarity of his voice. Thankfully, though, he finally fixes it and sings the rest of the song properly. I give it 968 out of 1,014 stars. Does it destroy "Hurt"? I don't know about all that, but for a band in desperate need of a new concert closer, I reckon it gets the job done.
All things considered, it's a pretty bitchin' collection of songs. I mean, you know, for a guy with nothing but a studio filled with top-of-the-line musical equipment. And I think I actually like it more than The Fragile. I insist that you immediately visit your nearest vendor of music records and demand a copy of [AWITHA_TEETHA] in an exaggerated Southern accent. If you already have a copy, go buy another one, just to piss off Fred Durst. I look forward to attending an ungodly number of shows during this tour, and anticipate the next album which is totally coming out really really soon. NO, SERIOUSLY THIS TIME.