April 22, 2008

Fork in the Pork

I'm a loyalist when it comes to a lot of things. It doesn't much to fire me up, but it takes a lot to hit the accelerator. When it comes to music, I'm a real picky bastard, so when I find something that hits the right spot, I get on board for the long haul. I don't necessarily discover every artist on the ground floor, but I often immerse myself in their back catalog whenever possible. I'm a big fan of songs and albums, but I love to hear them in context of a career. I want to hear a group develop. I want to listen to how they deal with limited or unlimited resources of time, space, and money. Or how they handle changes in trends, personnel, their audience. I want to hear them experiment. I want to feel them age.

And sometimes I want to hear them die.

In the past few years, I've found myself suspending artists. Expelling others. I did not buy the last Foo Fighters album. I will not buy the next Queens of the Stone Age album. Tool and Pearl Jam may have received their last warnings.

And it makes me sad. These were all groups that I loved the shit out of for a long time. I would buy into anything they did. Pre-ordering albums, singles, live concerts, DVD's without even hearing or caring what was on it because I just knew they was going to be awesome. Eventually, the music just wasn't up to my standards anymore. I don't know if it was me that changed, or them (Ok, let's be honest, I'm not taking the blame) but while I harshly scrutinized every piece of new music I heard, I was just making excuses for the stalwarts in my collection. I may be the Supreme Court of Musical Taste, but there will no longer be lifetime nominations.

In a two months, Weezer will be releasing their 6th studio album. Will my Weezer collection hit its max at 5 albums (and a DVD and a single or two)? The album's first single, "Pork and Beans" is hitting radio this week, but it's already streaming on the web. I am going to listen to it and decide on the fate of this band that has meant so much to me in past (before they put out that P.O.S. "Beverly Hills").

Is it unfair to make a snap judgment like that based on a single? "Beverly Hills" fucking sucked my ass. I knew it. Everyone knew it. But I still bought Make Believe because I still felt the magic of their first two albums. They were both flawless in my opinion. I like a lot of The Green Album, most of Maladroit, and quite a few of the tracks that didn't make it to Maladroit that I wrongly assumed were going to be on Make Believe. The first time I put on Make Believe, I felt like shriveling up. It was crap. The songs sounded like they written by a 4th grader. The innocent tone was effective on the sombre "Freak Me Out" (a song about being scared of a spider, I believe) but for the rest of the tracks, the simple approach had just worn thin for me. "Perfect Situation" is the only other redeeming track, though I think live versions of that are even more powerful.

And that's it. 2 good songs out of 12. That's even worse than Bush's latest disapproval ratings. This is my hard earned money we're talking about here people (I wasn't blogging during work hours so much then) and Weezer just didn't deserve to get it. Three years ago, Pitchfork gave them a review that was the rock critic equivalent of "I'm gonna hit you so hard your grandkids are gonna feel it":

(and I'm not putting it italics for obvious reasons) "...does Make Believe completely ruin not just present-day Weezer, but retroactively, any enjoyment to be had from their earlier work? I don't know-- I'm too scared to re-listen to those first two albums-- but it certainly appears that Make Believe will expertly extract the last remaining good graces the critical community has to offer latter-day Weezer..."

Oddly, Pitchfork gave this new track "Pork and Beans" a seemingly favorable review. I say "oddly" because I'm listening to it right now for the third or fourth time. I'm very unimpressed. You'd think I would've learned my lesson and not had my hopes up, but I'm bummed out about this. It's just so god damned formulaic. Ugh.


That's it, that's my review. I'm leaving it there. I had a lot more to say, but I've got music of my own to go play.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've got to agree with this rant here.

Though I never really cared for the foo fighters I can look back and give them props on the earlier albums. But its been a downhill thing for them in my mind since day one.

Pearl Jam I've honestly never sat down and listened to. So I've only heard the singles. And those tracks were all so over played that I never had an interest in hearing more.

The new QOTSA album was pretty craptastic compared to their earlier stuff. I've given it a few more listens since my rant/review not long after it came out. There are a couple songs that are decent. My favorite is actually a redo of a track off the desert sessions... which it turns out a few of my other faves off older albums were remakes of desert session tracks as well.

Tool... man...
I bought 10,000 days. But if I've listened to it I've blocked it from my memory. Lateralus didnt do it for me... they must have sobered up or something. They had already lost whatever it is that grabbed me in the past. I should put 10,000 days on an mp3 cd and throw it in my car.

I do want to listen to Pussifier though... I'm curious what Maynard would do solo. Just havent found it for download yet. The packaging looks too weak to be worth the price if the album turns out to suck as well.

I wont totally blame the artist though. I know I have changed. My tastes have changed. I listen to some things I used to love and wonder how I ever thought it was good. Other things I really dig now I would have never given a chance 10+years ago.

I'm looking forward to the new Portishead album Tuesday. I need to get the new Atmosphere album as well.

Only 'rock' album I'm looking forward to is actually a 'junk rock' album from a little known band called Sloppy Seconds. I know what to expect from them. They are not super talented. They mostly stick to well established punk and 50s/60s rock arrangements. Heck... BA's vocals would probably irritating to a lot of people. But they have fun doing what they do.

I've not been keeping up with whats coming though... so there may be a few other things that interest me this summer.