May 28, 2010

Nu Metal, Just Die Already.

Nu Metal seems to be a dying art form.

Except that by "dying," I mean in the way that we are all dying: slowly and without it affecting our daily lives. (My apologies to the people who are dying more quickly than others.)

And by "art form," I mean crap.

I was a teenager when Limp Bizkit first hit the radio waves, after the release of their first album, Three Dollar Bill, Y'all. Yeah! It was so awesome! Rock and rap had merged to form the coolest musical fusion since the teaming of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

Around that time, Korn and Deftones were also making great records such as Follow the Leader and Around the Fur, respectively. And within a year, Godsmack and System of the Down! It was a good time for rock.

...but then it all started to fall apart.

We all realized simultaneously just how lousy Limp Bizkit was, after all. The airwaves were quickly saturated with Nu Metal bands which were even less original than the last, bands like Linkin Park, Papa Roach, and Distubed. Hell, even Insane Clown Posse jumped on the bandwagon: a clear signal to jump off and let the horses carry that wagon right over the cliff.

The genre had reached its peak and there was only one way to go from there:

Down. Like Fred Durst's career.

So enough with the history lesson. Here's why this genre needs to just hurry up and keel over:

Boys-only club.

I'm not exactly a feminist. However, I can't help but want some women rockers to represent the rest of us, to show that we can rock as hard as any guy. However, what women in the Nu Metal genre are showing is that, no, actually we cannot. The only somewhat respectable Nu Metal chick band is Kittie; yet aside from a couple misguided songs, they aren't even Nu Metal.

(If you say, "Oh, but what about Evanescence/Amy Lee...?", I swear I will bite you on the face. And I won't even use my gentle nibbly teeth.)

"We're super tough, but hurting on the inside."

These rockers get tattoos and piercings. They live on the edge, drink 'til they puke or die (whichever comes first), they head-bang and mosh, they even wear baggy pants and the t-shirts of other rock bands. They even have mohawks and/or long hair! Man, they are just wickedly tough.

Yet the songwriting trend among Nu Metal-ers--which I will shorten to Nutalers because it sounds like "noodlers" which makes me giggle--is to write about how sad they are, how no one understands them. What is this? Emo? Consider these lyrics by Papa Roach: "I never realized I was spread too thin/Till it was too late and I was empty within/Hungry, feeding on my chaos and living in sin/Downward spiral, where do I begin? "

Why don't you just cry it out, you little pansy? These songs remind me of the bitter, "I feel empty and alone" poetry I wrote at seventeen. I could post some of it here, but you probably wrote the same poem when you were an angst-ridden teenager too.

Or if inner emptiness isn't your fancy, how about masks and facades? Nutalers, like Trapt, really like to talk about how fake others are: The last time you cared about anything/The last time you allowed yourself to be seen/so pretentious your lies unrelenting disguise/Creating tears in your eyes, your mind withers and dies. Sick burn, Trapt!

(By the way, I'm ashamed that Google has witnessed all the searches I have done for the purpose of writing this post. It is thinking, "Oh yeah, Kelli is pretty cool. She always searches for neat things like the lives of scorpions, how to camp without getting eaten by a bear or a raccoon, and wickedly awesome tattoos. Oh, but what's this? 'Limp Bizkit albums'? 'Linkin Park lyrics'? 'Nu Metal that doesn't suck'? Kelli? Why have you forsaken me?!" I'm sorry, Google. But, believe me when I say I am doing this for the future of music. Not because I'm personally interested in these things, I promise.)

Monster cliches of Rock!

A characteristic of Nu Metal is the habit of using dramatic, poetic terms which one does not use in normal conversation. These words are used again and again because they are so intense and symbolic, or because they show the sheer depth of the songwriter's brooding mind, or because they simply sound prettier than their synonyms. Here are some of these words:

- Demise
- Messiah
- Unto
- Forsaken
- Decay
- Shall
- Sanctify
- Penance
- Redemption
- Stricken

And that's all from one Disturbed album, 2002's Believe. Yowza. I had to do a quick check to make sure this wasn't actually a Christian rock band, since most of these words sound like passages from the Bible. (They're not.)

Look, I get it. I like to throw around flowery language once in a while, as well. Heck, I try to find ways of using the word "moribund" on a daily basis, though I often fail at this. However, when such words are overused by every band in the genre, it becomes a cliche. Yes, these words are quickly becoming (if they haven't become already) cliches of the music world. When Jonathan Davis sang about salvation and deception, it was fine. Back in 1999. Dramatic, sure, but original. Being the fortieth guy to do something will not get your name in the history books or your handprints on the sidewalk (well, it might...Hollywood is lax about who they choose to memorialize).

Somebody think of the distortion pedals!

Listen up, Nutalers. If you are so sad and black on the inside (or to put it in Nu-speak, "consumed by this burning melancholy and swallowed by the abyss of despair"), why not write about your distortion pedal's life of abuse? You can write about how you get drunk and beat the pedal at night, ignoring its pleas to stop because you're hurting it.

When treated with respect (and used sparingly), the distortion pedal can be pleasant and even interesting. But when you rely on it to fill in the gaps that your lack of talent has created, it is too much. Step off the stage and step into your local Guitar Center. Ask where you can go for lessons. Or just sell your guitar altogether and use the money to buy a video game.

Because here's the thing:

Distortion is to guitars = Autotune is to voices

If I wanted to hear this: vrrrrrrrrVRRRRRRVrrrrvrrrrvrrrVRRRRvvrrrrrvvvrrvvrrvvvv, I would vacuum my messy apartment. Or just turn the television to Channel whatever-the-hell-channel-it-is-that-has-no-reception. If I'm at a concert, I'm there because I have heard a rumor that you know how to play music. I didn't come to listen to your little foot-robot playing the guitar. Prove me wrong and set aside the pedal for a song or two.

(Picture provided by ConcertShots...vacuum is all me, though.)

If at the end of this, you're still convinced that your band is the one to transcend the lameness of Nu Metal, at least check out this link: 101 Rules of Nu Metal.

Notes from the Future: I've been informed by Keene that the dude in the last picture is actually a bassist and is really, really good. So, uh, no offense Really, Really Good Bass-Player.

Your guitarist still sounds like he's playing a vacuum, though.


Textbookfairytale said...

I just realized that you commented me on one of my very first posts. Thanx for the feedback, and for being a reasonable woman. I actually joined a blogging society and my first discussion thread, I got my head ripped off by about a hundred women with an ounce of respect and no means of reasonability. It took awhile to get my words out.

If you were real, I'd hug you.

misskortney said...

If Textbookfairytale comes back to read this... I'd like to let her know that miss Kelli is indeed very real. Intensely real. And I will gladly hug her for you.

Kelli, brava my dear. You nailed NuMetal on the head.

Textbookfairytale said...

came back....

who's doing what now?

Kelli said...

Thank you, Textbookfairytale. I think you have proved that you can hold your own against any woman, whether self-respecting or not. ;)

And Kort, I'll hug you anytime.