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State of the Airwaves

Bumps, babies, and beasts

By Daniel J. Katz

Staff Writer

I’m jotting down this column roughly an hour after the world premiere of the new Nine Inch Nails single, “We’re In This Together,” and after shooting down Trent Reznor’s last radio song, I have to call this one a big improvement. It’s got a very simple structure (I’m a big fan of creativity, but King Crimson never got much radio play...) and Reznor shows off his impressive vocal range much more than in “The Day The World Went Away.” The song is capped off with a loud background that’s dissonant and raw without being annoying.

What would dissonant, raw, and annoying sound like? Consider Verbena’s “Baby Got Shot,” off their new album produced by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. If Verbena hired Grohl to make them sound like an amateur garage band, they got their money’s worth. The vocals are distorted to a painful extent, and the result is simply ugly. Either Grohl did a nasty job, or he didn’t have much to work with.

I’m always jealous of bands that can put a song out that sounds exactly like all their other singles and still attract attention. Rob Zombie’s “Superbeast” (or “Dragula ’99” as I like to call it) is virtually identical to all the other catchy metal on his solo album, although “Living Dead Girl” shows some innovation. Creed’s “Higher” (best described as “What’s This Life For ’99,” despite how much I want to call it “One Two”) suffers from the same spirit of same old, same old, but they have less of an excuse, since “Higher” comes from an upcoming new album. “One” was released amazingly recently, and the band’s already put together a new batch to keep the flow going. Don’t get me wrong, I like Creed, but give us something new!

Here’s a band that is unable to fail at anything. Live has rocketed up radio airplay charts with “The Dolphin’s Cry,” which combines the emotion of “Lightning Crashes” with the power of “I Alone.” Everything Live does manages to be hard rock but still capture a very spiritual mood, and this track is no exception. I still get chills every time Ed shouts, “Can you hear the dolphin’s cry?” All that in mind, I expect I’ll be sick of this song in just under two weeks because the radio will be drenched in it.

Let’s end by ripping apart a Family Values poser. I realize the Kottonmouth Kings have been around for quite a while, but “Bump” strikes me as a cheap knock-off of Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie.” It’s one thing to try to capitalize on the rock-rap genre, but the new KK single is very substandard. The music is boring, the rapping is mediocre, and the “we don’t give a bump” is just a little too close to “stick it up your yeah” for me.

We’re done. I’m at; give me a buzz. Until next time, keep expanding your horizons.