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MUSIC REVIEW

State of the Airwaves

Blink, Beth, and Bad Timing

By Daniel J. Katz
STAFF REPORTER

Has punk died? No, it just seems to have relocated itself to another country. Now that the mosh pit has become less synonymous with Pennywise and NOFX than with Korn and Kid Rock, the upcoming Blink-182 album (elegantly titled Enema of the Stated) looked like a savior for the punk scene. But the new single, “What’s My Age Again?” has reared its head, and it’s (gasp) poppy and restrained. So where’s the real punk right now? Apparently in Australia. The Living End’s “Prisoner of Society” sounds like Johnny Rotten fronting the Reverend Horton Heat (complete with upright bass) and it’s got the rebel attitude that punk used to be all about before it was invaded by angsty relationship lyrics (Now whose fault was that? Oh, Blink-182 again.) Both artists will be on the Warped Tour this summer; until then, it remains to be seen who are the punks and who are the posers.

* The Kottonmouth Kings, funksters who have made a permanent living out of touring with 2 Skinnee J’s, now have the leading single, “Dog’s Lifed” for the soundtrack to David Spade’s dog buddy movie, Lost and Found. The bad news: the song’s really annoying at first. The good news: Spade’s in the video for the song, and watching him forces you to listen to the song, which grows on you, albeit very, very slowly. This is subliminal mind alteration at its most evil, folks.

* Beth Orton has apparently discovered that the road to a successful single isn’t the repetition of soft vocals droning, “She cries your name...” Instead it’s the peppily grooving beat, harmonized vocals, and nifty chorus that form “Stolen Car,” her current single. I’m not a big Beth Orton fan, but if all her material sounded more like this, I’d own every album.

* The title of Hole’s “Awful” is remarkably self-descriptive... Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but the song is an excellent example of how tired Courtney Love’s work has become. “Celebrity Skin” had vestiges of the band’s hard rock sound, and “Malibu” actually showed some musical inventiveness. “Awful” is just another pop radio single, hopefully one that will quickly fade out of the realm of regular airplay.

* I meant to mention this a few weeks ago but wouldn’t Silverchair have been assured a lot more success with their current single, “Anthem For The Year 2000,” if they’d waited until November to release it? I mean, it’s doing all right now, but with a little patience and timing, it could have been a gold mine. If the band’s lucky, maybe DJs will remember the song’s honest and aggressive sound toward the end of the year and start spinning it in heavy rotation again.

* Fountains of Wayne have improved on their greatest moment in my memory (during last year’s MTV Movie Awards, when a film of the Titanic sinking was accompanied by their cheerful song, “Sink To The Bottom”) with their most fast-paced offering yet, “Denise,” a masterpiece of distorted vocals and solid guitar lines. This song deserves much more airplay their earlier single, “Radiation Vibe” got.

* The day after the Littleton incident, I was listening to the radio and was dismayed to be subjected to the Offspring’s “Come Out And Play.” A little tact, please. Thank you.

* Keep expanding your horizons. Email is always appreciated (airwaves@the-tech.mit.edu). See you next week.