State of the Airwaves
Superstar, Stir, and Self-IndulgenceBy Dan Katz
Look out, people, the mother of all neo-metal bands is in town. That’s right, it’s KORN, who invade the Worcester Centrum tonight and earn the Airwaves Show of the Week crown primarily on the strength of their opening acts: Spike & Mike’s Sick & Twisted Animation Films, overachieving New Englanders Staind, and the wonderfully monikered band Mindless Self Indulgence. However, this show has been sold out for weeks, so if you don’t know about it by now, you can’t really do anything about it. Nothing like wasting valuable editorial space. In other rock ’em sock ’em concert action, Jim’s Big Ego hit Club Passim for April Fool’s Day (which just sounds dangerous to me) and next Wednesday Rollins Band (who always sound dangerous) check in to the Avalon Ballroom.
Hope you had a nice spring break. As usual, when I get time off I get the opportunity to catch up with MTV, and I noticed a few things. First and most shocking, Hanson’s new single, “This Time Around,” is really good. And it’s a rock song. Not a heavy rock song, but no less rock than Third Eye Blind or Counting Crows. It’s got some very nice piano and guitar playing and a terrific chorus, and sadly, it’ll probably never get played on alternative radio because the kids have a bad image. It probably belongs on an alternative playlist more than Cypress Hill’s rock remix of “Superstar,” which is virtually identical to the rap mix, aside from the absence of Eminem and the addition of some cheesy distorted rock chords. But Cypress Hill are hardcore and Hanson aren’t, and rock radio stations have rebellious images to protect, which means hypocrisy wins out.
The mysteries of life are varied and plentiful... Where did the dinosaurs come from? Is Elvis Presley really dead? And why are Dope songs so catchy? This last point is prompted by “Everything Sucks,” Dope’s latest offering to hard rock radio, and like it’s predecessor, “Debonair,” it gets stuck in your head much easier than the average piece of metal (with the possible exception of Powerman 5000). How do these bands manage to make hard-edged songs so infectious? My theory is the brilliantly written rhythm guitar. As the verses roll by, there’s a constant “chugga-chugga” in the guitar line that just makes the music flow. It’s not exactly a new theory in the realm of hard rock, but I can’t remember the last band that pulled it off as well as the boys from Dope.
Stir’s “New Beginning” is getting more and more radio play, and it’s not a big surprise; it’s a catchy, poppy song by a power trio. Much like “Leech,” another catchy, poppy song by a power trio (Eve 6). And it’s got a heavy chorus that sounds kind of like ... um ... oh, the chorus to “Leech” by Eve 6. I love originality in the music industry.
And finally, here’s my favorite sound bite of the week: Aaliyah telling MTV News about her close relationship with Trent Reznor. “Well, we met for the first time at the MTV Video [Music] Awards and we talked for a while and we’ve talked on the phone a few times. He’s a really nice person and extremely talented, so maybe we’ll be able to collaborate.” Does anybody else think she sounds like one of those people who runs into Leonardo DiCaprio in an elevator and spends the rest of her life telling people about it? Or maybe it’s just me. (Me that thinks that, not me in the elevator.)
Believe it or not, State of the Airwaves has a birthday next week. That’s right we’re hitting the big 0-1. Feel free to mail gifts to The Tech, care of State of the Airwaves (large bags of money are especially welcome,) and send your favorite childhood memories of this humble column to <firstname.lastname@example.org>, where I will read them with tears in my eyes as I eat birthday cake. (Technically it’s not my cake, but after waiting a while for a gray box to try to eat cake, you get a little peckish.) Until the next time I try to talk about music but end up delving into absurdism, keep expanding your horizons.