Title of RecordBy Erik Blankinship
The new album from Filter has the nondescript name Title of Record and it is full of nondescript songs. Filter is, as far as I can tell, what most modern rock has come to sound like: over-produced, loud, and tedious. The lyrics read as if they are taken straight from a high school student’s notepad. Take the song “Skinny,” which goes: “Every time I talk to you / it sounds like you’re caught in a psychological flu.” Filter sounds like they are the rock version of Depeche Mode, complete with angst-ridden lyrics and self pity. The lyrics lack the angry ambiguity of their last single “Hey Man, Nice Shot,” which is a song I really enjoyed, specifically since the lyrics to that song were left open to interpretation.
Now the band just seems interested in complaining and worrying at the top of their lungs. And as if the lyrics themselves were not bad enough, the singing is no better, since there is no singing. Instead, we get a skinny little guy screaming into a microphone about all his insecurities. He screams about how bad he treats his women, how Los Angeles is like a cancer, how he doesn’t believe in sanctity.
Richard Patrick is the lead vocalist and songwriter in Filter. On the jacket sleeve, he includes a pretentious, head cocked photograph of himself, in which he looks like he practiced for a long time in front of the mirror looking intense while maintaining his rock star detachment. I guess he eventually took himself seriously. Patrick claims that this second album, the follow-up to the platinum-selling debut album “Short Bus,” is derived from material from his personal life. He claims that the song “I’m Not the Only One” was written ten minutes after he smashed his hand through a wall. Please.
The way-too-loud guitars on the album are sometimes mixed with some interesting production tricks, like intercutting silence to produce a stacatto effect. Unfortunately, these moments stick out, since they sound as if they were digitally layered or inserted into the heavy guitars and not a part of the rock album itself.