Ah yes, The Union Underground. I absolutely loved these guys when they first came out, and I still enjoy listening to them today. Granted, I have to do it via Music Unlimited nowadays due to the fact my copy went missing years ago, but the important thing is I still enjoy the album.
Union Underground were labeled “new metal”, but as memory serves, I think it had more to do with the industrial sound they were going for as opposed to the whiny white kid movement that would eventually create the emo subgenre. Maybe Union weren’t exactly intellectual, or guitar virtuosos, but compared to a lot of the stuff that got labeled “new metal”, these guys have actually aged pretty well.
Maybe it’s because a lot of these “new metal” bands abandoned what brought them to the dance in favor of staying relevant and part of the mainstream (Papa Roach, for example). Or maybe it’s because Union Underground broke up a couple years later. I’ll believe either one, honestly.
It was a real bummer knowing that Union Underground broke up. I vaguely remember reading it had to do with the lead singer being a drughead, but I had yet to realize that anybody could edit Wikipedia, and thus Wikipedia is rarely if ever a valid source of information. Although when it comes to music and video games and the like, it tends to be pretty reliable.
It’s been fourteen years since we were given “An Education in Rebellion”. Has the curriculum withstood the test of time, or has it become obsolete and a relic of the past like those homework books from the 1800s you find in restored plantation houses designed specifically for tourist trap sakes? And why do I keep bringing those up lately? Well the latter is going to have to remain a mystery for the next hour or so. Till then, let’s… Uh… Log on to Music Unlimited, and give it some play!
ALBUM ART: B
1. An Education in Rebellion
I’m kind of noticing another thing with albums from this era. A lot of them have really weird intro tracks that really don’t seem to contribute much to anything.
Intereting fact: when I first heard this track, I had thought for sure I had picked up a Marilyn Manson album by mistake. This reminds me of a lot of early 2000s Manson tracks: the way the vocalist sings, the way the instrumental sounds, etc. But no, this is Union Underground. And once you get over the weird similarities previously described, it’s not bad.
3. South Texas Deathride
It’s not bad, but I got to say, it’s not one of my favorite songs on the album. I have no problem with songs that were written for the sake of headbanging and nothing more… But it’s pretty obvious that’s what they were going for. It’s various obvious when you consider the corris of the song is “Come on, come! Come on get up, get up! South Texas Deathride, you mother fuck!”. Scott must’ve stayed up all night trying to write that one.
4. Turn Me On Mr. Deadman
This was the first single from the album, and it’s easy to see why they went with it. While not exactly complicated to play, it’s a very fascinating track that actually pokes fun at the whole rockstar image. The “Turn me on, Mr. Deadman” thing is apparently a reference from the Beetles. Specifically, the era where they got all psychodelic. And to some, the era when they started to suck. If you get nothing else from this album, I highly recommend this track.
5. Until You Crack
It’s hard to follow an act like “Turn Me On Mr. Deadman”, but this one is pretty good in its own right. The beat is a little mechanical, but it works. It’s probably the most industrial thing on the entire album thus far.
6. Killing the Fly
This was the second single from the album. While it didn’t chart as high as “Turn Me On Mr. Deadman”, I still like it. Pretty sure the term “killing the fly” is a drug reference, but I’m not entirely sure about that. I’m also not entirely sure if that’s an up to date reference, either.
7. Natural High
I’ll admit, it’s catchy in its own little way.
8. Revolution Man
The third single from the album, and probably the one the critics hated the most as memory serves. In typical fashion, I had to be part of the minority, and absolutely love this song. It’s probably the closest thing to a ballad you’re going to get on this album. If I could explain why I absolutely love this song, believe me, I’d be explaining it right here. For now, I’ll just give it my recommendation.
9. Trip with Jesus
I like this one a lot as well. The corris has a real brainworm quality to it, and the instrumental, in all it’s simplicity, hooks my attention instantly.
The instrumental started off like a remix of “South Texas Deathride”, but once the song actually gets to the lyrics, it becomes a lot better. The corris of “I will be… I will be… I will be… A bitter man.” might not be the most imaginative, but it works better than the one for “South Texas Deathride” personally.
11. The Friend Song
The guitar sounds strangely like the precurser to The Eagles of Death Metal in this song. Except despite that detail, it actually sounds metal. Unlike The Eagles of Death Metal, who fucking suck out loud. It’s a lot different from the other songs we’ve gotten before, and it’s an interesting way to end the album.
OVERALL GRADE: B+
It’s really too bad these guys had to break up so suddenly. I would’ve loved to have another Union Underground album. Or at least an uncensored version of “Across the Nation”.