I’ve actually been debating including this song on my SISOH list since I first started this series. Coming down to the bottom of my list on a more regular basis than when I started, though, I find the debate is a lot more intense than when I had a good twenty or thirty songs ahead of it. I probably could’ve done what I did with Black Oxygen, and label it as more of a rant review sort of thing than a traditional SISOH article, but I guess as long as it’s a Monday…

This is pretty much the only Seven Mary Three song they ever play out here in KC. Whether or not they’re one hit wonders, or if 7M3 is getting the Megadeth treatment of only having one song on the radio for no explainable reason… Well in the case of Megadeth, I think it has to do with KC being Metallica country, but for 7M3, who knows? All I know is this appears to be the only song of theirs they ever wrote that went anywhere. And if this is truly the case… Honestly, it’s not hard to see why.

I suppose the instrumental is okay. Pretty standard 90s affair as far as I can tell. The real hell comes when the singer decides to start laying down some verses.

Good fucking lord, this guy is terrible! First of all, his singing voice has an accent that I can only describe as hilarious. I can almost make out what he’s saying, but you get distracted for a split second, and suddenly, it’s nothing but a bunch of “Wah wah woo wah-wee wahwah weer wah-weer wah weer-her!” sort of noises.

Just to make sure I was hearing right, I paid a visit to azlyrics.com. “She calls me Goliath, and I wear the David mask” is probably one of the stupiddest attempts at symbolism I’d ever heard. Right up until Train came along with that “2-ply hefty bag full of love” or whatever, but I digress. I suppose everything else lyric wise is okay, but there’s just something about that one verse that cracks me up.

Long story short, it’s not a very good song. Best case senario, it aged poorly. Worst case senario, it was a classic “WTF, Billboard top 100″ type moment.

And yet, for reasons I’ll never be able to explain, I love this song. Which is the main reason I’ve been debating including it here for so long. There’s definitely stuff wrong with it, but somehow, I’m not really sick of it. I’d say at best, this is where the category “guilty pleasure” comes in. Seven Mary Three is right up there with Rob Zombie movies and that Clarence show in terms of stuff I probably shouldn’t be proud of admitting out loud I like, but here I am.

So yeah, make of this what you will. I guess this is an honorary induction or something. Next time, I’ll definitely include something I’m genuinely sick of.

I have to admit, when I started SISOH all those years ago, I never would’ve imagined a jingle for Diet Coke would end up on my list. Then again, I also can’t remember the last time a commercial left any type of impression on me that wasn’t for a TV show or a movie. For better or for worse, commercials just don’t effect me anymore. I’ve long since learned how to tune them out. Barring that, I’ve learned that commercial time is usually a good time to check my email, or my Facebook, or even see what little Ms. Russian blue mix is up to.

And then this appeared on the airwaves. Suddenly, I can say that a commercial for Diet Coke actually got a reaction out of me. And that reaction was somewhere along the lines of “Whew boy this sucks!”

I have a really good feeling that this is supposed to be a parody of something. Unfortunately, I can’t tell what it’s supposed to be a parody of. I’m guessing some pop act from the 1980s? I’m not a pop expert, guys. I mean yeah, I drink soda, but in terms of music, I’m not a pop expert.

Then there’s the subject of the song. Diet Coke: the worst soda ever made. Then again, it seems like the entire concept of diet soda is fucking horrible. Diet Pepsi is awful, Diet Coke is awful, and Diet Dr. Pepper… I don’t care what the commercials say: I can totally tell it tastes like diet. Also, diet soda doesn’t make you more manly. It’s cute that Dr. Pepper 10 is trying to convince us otherwise, but I imagine the male gender will know better after one can of that swill.

So yeah, sucky song + sucky project = no business from me. And if that were all there were to it, I’d have left it alone and probably bitched about 5 Finger Death Punch again or something. But no, this commercial has to be everywhere.

With annoying songs, you can guarantee that certain stations won’t play them. Tired of Halestorm? Switch over to an alternative station. Sick of Mumford and Son? Switch over to a rock station. That’s usually the remedy in review.

However, we’re not dealing with a simple song. We’re dealing with a jingle: a mindless song written by market execs with the soul intent of mesmerizing you into buying everything they tell you. Jingles transcend demographics, they appear on every radio station or TV station imaginable, and a few of them just won’t go away no matter how many times you threaten your brain with that icepick. Twenty years later, I still remember the jingle for Mr. Bucket. That’s just how powerful the jingle truly is.

You know, come to think of it, the fact I’ve gone out of my way to write about this jingle has probably helped to immortalize it. The fact I have any sort of reaction is telling the execs at Coke that we need more of this. Shit. Oh well, the damage is done, and my opinion is out in the ether of the internet for a grand total of two people to read.

Compared to a lot of the stuff I’ve been posting here, this one is actually fairly recent. Of course by recent, I mean 2008. Compared to the abominations I was coming up with when I was eleven and twelve, and some of the more unsubtle ripoff fiction I was coming up with in high school, this wasn’t quite as bad. The operating word in that sentence, of course, is quite.

Driftwood Manor, long story short, was a haunted house story. It was also during a time when I was still interested in being a horror writer. However, compared to the slasher fiction, and psychotic, borderline pretentious plunges into madness I was writing about back in the early stages of this phase, my writing was taking a turn for the Lovecraftian.

Admittedly, I’d always been fascinated by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Sure, the man was in love with his thesaurus, and a lot of his work is showing its age in many ways now. Also, for every good story he had ever written, there was a guaranteed two or three more that were… Forgettable. However, despite a lot of this, I still enjoy Lovecraft, and a lot of his contributions to the horror genre.

Everybody loves The Call of Cthulhu, and it’s not hard to see why. However, I have to be that one guy who doesn’t go with the popular kids, and I say that Re-Animator is the one I think is his best. I never saw the movie all the way through, but the little bit I had seen, I thought was pretty good.

For some reason, though, Lovecraft was pretty much my 2008 reading in review. I found myself getting more and more into Lovecraft as the year progressed. I bought audio books, I played Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem up to about the part where you play as the main character’s grandpa (I forgot why I quit at that point, though)… And of course, my horror writing began focusing more on Lovecraftian elements of god like creatures and madness. The latter was nothing I hadn’t already tried my hand at, although back then, it had more to do with serial killers and mental patients than the madness of learning about the unspeakable horrors from beyond our plain of existence.

At the same time, I was taking a creative writing class. A class that proved once and for all that I am NOT a poet. I’ll probably save my attempts at poetry for another entry in this series, though.

Driftwood Manor was the story I sent in when we dealt with short stories. Admittedly, it was the tamest idea I had, and a lot of the Lovecraft was a lot more subdued in that one than others I could’ve sent in. It did get its share of criticism from the rest of the group, but aside from a couple of moments where common sense went on the wayside to conform to the assignment’s page count restriction, it wasn’t nearly as poorly received as my poetry attempts. In fact, some of the criticisms I got were even disputed by other people, so I guess it was really more of an “eye of the beholder” sort of thing I guess.

Driftwood Manor was home to Mortimer Driftwood: A man who dedicated his life to studying the occult. He wrote down everything he learned, combined with some of his general philosophies in a book he titled “The Gospel of Driftwood”, and then used what he had learned to summon a demon army. A demon army that ended up refusing to obey his orders, and I’m pretty sure one of them ended up eating him afterward.

Decades later, a woman who has dedicated her life to disproving the existence of the occult discovers Driftwood Manor, and the stories of hauntings associated with it. Long story short, it doesn’t end well.

It’s one of the few stories I’m feeding to the ol’ recycle bin that I’m not entirely disgusted with. Hell, it’s not even all that funny to read now. And if it is, then it was clearly on purpose. However, I give it to the recycle bin anyway, because I honestly have nothing else I can do with it. It was essentually a throw-away idea I wrote out for a class. I had no plans of submitting it to anyone, I had no plans of expanding it into a full novel, and I definitely had no interest in showing it to anyone else outside the class. It’s basically just taking up space on the ol’ hard drive. I hesitate to delete it completely, but at the same time, I have nothing more to do with it. So why bother keeping it?

I haven’t taken a creative writing class sense, and some of the short stories I’ve shared with a writer’s group I was part of back in 2012 aren’t even worth bringing up here on the basis they were less than throw-aways. Still, it’s fun to flash back sometimes.

My computer problems are fixed. And I have no idea what was wrong. Either way, that means I can continue to update this thing on a consistent basis. Assuming, of course, I don’t get distracted with something shiny. Like, for instance, a Youtuber who has done the lord’s work, and uploaded every single episode of Portal onto their account.

That’s Portal as in the TV series from G4TV, not the video game. We all call it the glory days, but others have generously pointed out that even back then, G4 had problems. Of course, compared to abandoning their entire demographic in favor of becoming a yet another movie network after years of trying to copy SPIKE’s programming minus the MMA, having a handful of low budget TV shows that played reruns into the fucking pavement wasn’t a problem for me. I acknowledged it was a problem, but I was willing to live with it.

Wait, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, things on my end are operational again.

I’m well aware updates have been scarce. There are a lot of reasons for it:

1. Firefox is glitching out something fierce. I’m used to certain websites and my screen reader not working, but Firefox has taken it a step further, and is actually crashing my PC every time I use it. It doesn’t even matter what site I’m on: two or three minutes of usage, and BAM! This problem goes beyond my field of expertese, and I fear I may have to call in tech support on this one.

2. I’ve mostly been focusing on both Jade Blade and a side project. I’ve been trying to get this side project published since December, and thus far, I’ve only made it to the partial stage. Which is generous improvement over the last couple projects, but it’s still a rejection at the end of the day, and it still pisses me off. I’m pretty close to either moving on to the next big idea, or focusing a little harder on Jade Blade.

3. It’s that time of the year when I usually stop giving a shit about this blog anyway.

4. I had another idea, but I need to try a few things out first before I announce anything.

I’ll let you know if any of this changes. Or I’ll just start posting updates. Either one’s fine.

In the beginning, there was Disturbed: an amazing band that blended industrial metal instrumentals with reggae styled vocals. They were both praised, and criticized for the various noises Dave Draiman would make in between verses. The “AW-WAH-AH-AH-AH!” in “Down With the Sickness” being the most famous of all of them. They put out six albums, and four of them are pretty spectacular listens.

Unfortunately, nothing good lasts forever. I was convinced Disturbed could do no wrong, and then “Asylum” came along and proved me wrong. “The Lost Children” is a collection of B-sides, and while it’s good to have a physical copy, I already had about two thirds of this stuff on my computer via WinMX anyway. “Asylum” might as well have been a sign of bad things to come if you’re a Disturbed fan, because not too long after it was released, the band broke up. The bass player joined a band by the name of Adrenaline Mob, which as of this writing, I’ve heard of, but have yet to listen to. The lead guitarist and drummer, along with some other guys, formed the band Fight or Flight, which again, I really need to get around to checking out. And the lead singer, Dave Draiman, formed the band Device.

Device is a band that has generated the ultimate definition of mixed reviews. People seem to either really love it, or really hate it. The term “Disturbed lite” comes up a lot in the hater camp, and I can’t say I don’t see it. In fact, I’d say if Disturbed never broke up, this would probably have ended up being a Disturbed album. But if you’re like me, and don’t care about things like that as long as the album is an entertaining listen, then it’s less of a criticism, and more of a reason to invest in them. Because if you like Disturbed, odds are you’ll like Device for the very reason the haters hate it.

If I had done a best of 2013 last year, I guarantee Device would’ve been in contention. Unfortunately, Ghost’s “Infestissamum” would’ve won, but Device would’ve definitely been a close… Third or fourth place. Sue me: Volbeat put out an awesome album last year, and the second half of “The House of Gold and Bones” was released. It was a pretty competitive field that year!

Today, after many delays due to one thing or another, I finally get to Device’s self-titled album. So let’s put it in the ol’ stereo, and give it a little spin-a-roony! Wow, did I seriously just say spin-a-roony? I haven’t heard that since Booker T was still wrestling. And it was stupid back then. Whatever, hit the play button already!

ALBUM ART: C+

the album art for Device's self-titled debut

TRACK LIST

1. You Think You Know
GRADE: A-
Right off the bat, I can’t help but notice that Device is actually a bit heavier than Disturbed ever was. I’m not sure if they used different guitars, or different recording techniques, or if the whole industrial thing has a heavy hand in that, but all I know is that this opening track immediately grabs my attention with that detail. Draiman still resorts to his usual sound effects and reggae style singing voice, which is a welcoming factor going in. Present the listener with a hint of familiarity to go along with the new experience so it doesn’t feel like you’re walking into alien terratory. All and all, it’s worth the listen.

2. Penance
GRADE: B+
Draiman’s vocals aren’t quite as bouncy like they were in the last one, but the direction he went here works just as good. Trying to reggae this one up would’ve probably made it not work nearly as well. Sometimes, straight forward works.

3. Vilify
GRADE: A
This was the first single from the album. It was also what led a lot of people to believe early on that Device was basically Disturbed Jr. I won’t deny the Disturbed influence, but at the same time, it’s one of my favorites off the entire album. Highly recommended.

4. Close My Eyes Forever
GRADE: B-
This song is a Lita Ford cover that features… Ugh. It features everybody’s favorite shape-shifter vocalist, Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. If you’ve been a reader of my blog over the last two years, you know my opinion of Halestorm is… Less than pleasant. That being said, with all the reluctance in the world, I declare that this cover is actually pretty good. Lzzy hale is not a bad vocalist: she just has no consistent personality. One minute, she’s singing about being tough as nails, wanting me to do her dirty work and how I call her a bitch like it’s a bad thing. Literally, the next track, she’s a mindless idiot longing for the bad old days that validate Theory of a Deadman’s claims of “Girls don’t want a gentleman, they want a loser like me.” Go ahead and hate: I know how to read between lines, and the stuff you guys come up with is actually kind of hilarious. It’s too bad, because as this song proves, Hale is a good vocalist. Her material is the problem. So when she’s doing a cover tune with Dave Draiman, of course it sounds good. I just wish there wasn’t so much “I Miss the Misery” over at the Halestorm camp. Okay, I’m done ranting. Let’s move on.

5. Out of Line
GRADE: B+
This song features both Serj Tankian and Geezer Butler. I’ll have to take their word on Butler, but Tankian gets a few verses here. Call me crazy, but I have a feeling Tankian wrote this one. When it comes to anti-war songs like a lot of rock during 2003-2006, Disturbed didn’t exactly offer up a whole lot in the ways of innovative thought. Serj Tankian has been a politically charged artist since day one, but whenever Draiman goes into politics… I don’t know, it feels kind of phoned in at times. Go ahead and cover “Land of Confusion” if you really like the song, but maybe leave anti-Bush statements to the guys with something to say? I don’t know. Despite my feelings on the subject matter, and the fact it’s a little late to be writing anti-Iraq war music in a day and age where we’ve been out of Iraq for nearly three years, it’s actually a pretty good song.

6. Hunted
GRADE: A
The industrial element is at it’s heaviest in this song. It’s definitely the most haunting thing I’ve heard on the entire disk thus far. Really sets the mood for an especially intense cat-and-mouse sort of horror sequence.

7. Opinion
GRADE: A-
This song features Tom Morello. I think he plays for Rage Against the Machine. Or maybe it’s Slayer? You think I’d know this, but here I am. Anyway, this is another favorite of mine. It had my attention the moment I hear the opening notes, and it’s all up hill from there.

8. War of Lies
GRADE: B
I love the instrumental in this one. The title gave me the impression this might end up being another anti-Iraq War song, but once I get into the lyrics, I’m not so sure then.

9. Haze
GRADE: A-
This one features M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold. And suddenly, one of the team-ups I’ve always wanted to see between bands is made reality. It’s not exactly A7 and Disturbed, but I’ll take it.

10. Through it All
GRADE: A-
This song features Glenn Hughes, and in typical ending track fashion, ends up being the softest track of the album. It’s not exactly some of the acoustic guitar tracks of the early to mid 2000s, but it’s a lot more reserved than a lot of the other tracks on this album. All and all, it’s a good ending track to a really good album.

OVERALL GRADE: A-

So yeah, I actually enjoyed this quite a bit. Whether we’ll see more from Device, or if this ends up being a one-time sort of deal remains to be seen, but for the time being, I’m liking where this is going.

Honestly, I thought I’d never have to bother with this waste of time and effort. Then again, I never would’ve guessed the radio would pull the backtrack rule like they did with Volbeat’s “Still Counting”. IE, we need a new single, but it’s at least another year before they’re due for a new album, so let’s just backtrack to the previous one, and see what singles came off of that one. “Last Man Standing”? Nah, that has nothing to do with loose women and sounds nothing like a Nickelback song. Let’s go with “Boss’ Daughter” instead.

I’ll give them credit where credit is due: the instrumental’s not half bad. The harmony and melody of the chorus is even good. If you put any other words to this instrumental using those notes and structure, you’d probably have a better song.

But no, Pop Evil decided to go with these lyrics instead. Simply put, these verses have “lowest common denominator” written all over them.

  • References to a super easy chick? Check.
  • Comparisons to a vintage car from the 1960s? Check.
  • Sexual innuendo? Check.

    Yip, this is definitely a cash grab if I’ve ever heard one.

    I also love the verse “She’s hell on heels.” Much like how I have to point out the verse “I don’t miss you, I miss the misery” implies Lzzy Hale would be happy if someone else was beating her half an inch from her life, I have to think about it, and come to a conclusion that pisses off the internet and convinces them I have no idea what I’m talking about. Although in this instance, it’s no where near as severe, and they’d say I have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about regardless of how much sense it makes because “Pop Evil rules, man, and you’re a stupid gay-ass faggot for disagreeing!”

    I hear “Hell on heels”, and all I can think is she absolutely pulverizes high heels. I think they were going for “hell IN heels”, which is a saying I’m familiar with thanks to Motley Crue. And considering Motley Crue actually does a better job of imagery than a band from the mid to late 2000s with actual talent behind them when they want to use it, that’s just sad.

    Bottom line: this song blows, and you people seriously need to stop encouraging this kind of lazy-ass song writing. And as of this rant review type thing, I really hope this is the last time I have to talk about Pop Evil for a while.

  • NOTE: I’d have written this review last week, but Music Unlimitted is the only way I can access this album, and Music unlimited was acting kind of bizarre last week. It’s only recently stopped behaving like that and actually letting me access the album, so I’m doing it here.

    In all honesty, I think it’d be more appropriate to refer to Systematic as a two-hit-wonder. Where as most one-hit-wonders are only ever known for one song, Systematic had two. However, both songs came from the same album, and one of them disappeared from the airwaves a lot faster than the other, so I’m counting them.

    I honestly thought Systematic had a lot of potential. They may not’ve been innovative, but they sounded a lot more different than a lot of the incubus ripoffs and raprock found throughout the early 2000s. I had no problems with the latter, but it took me a while before I could say Incubus was all right.

    Sadly, Systematic ended up not very well off. While their first album, and the subject of today’s review got them on the map, they quickly faded into obscurity, and just as quickly fell apart. They did get out a second album in 2003, but I didn’t even find out it was made until about 2006: a long ways off from when they broke up.

    As for “Somewhere in Between”, I remember it being… Okay. I liked the band and all, but as memory serves, I felt like there was definitely room for improvement. And really, that could be said of a lot of debut albums. Plus the concept of “some tracks are better than others” rings true for a lot of bands’ albums well past their debut.

    So let’s take a trip down memory lane, and give Systematic some play!

    ALBUM ART: C+

    the album art for Systematic's "Somewhere in Between"

    It’s better than I remember, but I can see why it didn’t exactly leap out at me the first time at the same time.

    TRACK LIST

    1. Dopesick
    GRADE: B
    It’s a nice intro track. Soft start, but quickly enough, we get into the heavy. And the chorus did manage to find its way into my brain. So far, it’s a promising start.

    2. Beginning of the End
    GRADE: A+
    This was the first single from the album, and it’s easy to see why they went with it. This is hands down my favorite song off the entire album. Shock of all shocks, an album from 2001 put its single, and the best song on track 2. Got to love tropes. Or maybe it’s more of a cliche? Whatever, song is awesome beyond words, and I recommend it.

    3. Return to Zero
    GRADE: A-
    This one’s also a lot better than I remember it being. The opening riff really gets you pumped up, and the riff they go with throughout the verses has a real swing to it that I rather enjoy. Consider me pleasantly surprised.

    4. Glass Jaw
    GRADE: B-
    It’s a lot more mellow than the other tracks we’ve gotten thus far. Part of me wanted to call this the ballad of the album, but I’m pretty sure there’s another track on here that definition fits a lot better. It’s better than I remember it being, too. This might as well be the theme of the review at the rate I’m going.

    5. Deep Colors Bleed
    GRADE: A
    This was the second single from the album, and for some reason, it didn’t do quite as well as “Beginning of the End”. Sure, the primary riff isn’t the most imaginative in the world, but I still think it deserved better than it got. I won’t deny that nostalgia probably has a hand in my opinion, but still, it’s pretty damn good.

    6. Mailbomb
    GRADE: C
    It’s as skip worthy as I remember it being. I know they’re trying, but there’s just something about this song that just doesn’t hold my attention. I guess they all can’t be gold.

    7. Bedsores
    GRADE: C+
    This is probably more accurately the ballad of the album. Or at least as close as you’re going to get to a ballad. Strangely, I remember this track being better than I’m finding it to be now. Go figure. It’s still not bad, but it’s not especially good either.

    8. Slowburn
    GRADE: B
    This is more like it! I thought for sure I was going to be giving everything else on this album Cs. However, the moment I hear the opening riff, I’m immediately hooked.

    9. Somewhere in Between.
    GRADE: C+
    We have title track! And I got to say, I’m a little less than impressed. It opens up with a lot of promise, but by the time we get to the verses, things take a turn for the downward in terms of intrigue. Not to mention it’s a SEVEN MINUTE TRACK! I’m not sure I have that kind of patience the rate this song is going.

    10. Of a Lesser God
    GRADE: B+
    We seem to be entering a serious case of “every other track syndrome”. Meaning that one track will be dull, or uneventful, or even bad in some cases, but every other track will be awesome. This is definitely one of the awesome tracks. And just for the record, I have nothing against slow songs. I notice a lot of my Cs seem to be going towards the slower ones. At this point, I’m guessing Systematic just don’t make very appealing slow songs. Sure, “Glass Jaw” was okay, but everything else… Not so much. Oh, and it’s not SEVEN FUCKING MINUTES!

    11. Pitch Black
    GRADE: B
    This one’s not half bad either.

    12. If Only
    GRADE: C-
    And just like that, I’m bored again. Again, I’m not trying to do this on purpose, but these slower songs just aren’t that appealing for some reason.

    13. Thick Skin
    GRADE: B-
    Clearly, they decided to end with a bang. I could think of worse ways to end the album.

    OVERALL GRADE: B

    I did have plans for another one-hit-wonder band, but that was before Music Unlimitted decided to be a pain in the ass for a week, so I guess this is where one-hit-wonder month ends. We now return you to your regularly scheduled reviews with no gimmic for the month.

    First and foremost, I must apologize for screwing up the title all these years. Turns out it’s spelled ALCOHAULIN’ ASS, not ALCOHOL AND ASS like I thought. I probably misspelled ALCOHOL more times than I can count as well, but the important thing is I learned. So yeah, that’s my mistake. Now let’s talk about HELLYEAH’s mistakes.

    Right now, I’m amazed by two things:

    1. That it took me two years to get to this one.

    2. That HELLYEAH, or at least HELLYEAH’s label thought this would be a good single.

    This song actually doesn’t get all that much airplay. It’s like every now and then, the guys in charge of putting together the playlists are going through the songs, and find this song is hanging around, and are all like “Hmm, haven’t heard this in a while.” Then they let the DJ play it, and if they’re anything like me, they remember why it wasn’t played all that often, and encourage the DJ to replace it with more AC/DC. So yeah, it’s airplay is infrequent. Seems like every time I think of complaining about it being overplayed, it disappears for months at a time. Then I forget about it, and move on to whatever stupidity 5 Finger Death Punch or whatever is playing. Then out of nowhere, it starts playing again! The only reason I even bother with it now is that this is one of those periods where it showed up on the air again, and I had one other thing on my SISOH list at the moment. Considering I owe this one a thorough bitching at, I might as well cover it.

    HELLYEAH is another well known sufferer of Stone Sour Syndrome. I explained what that was a couple weeks ago, but just in case you don’t feel like back tracking, S3 is when a band feels compelled to make the absolute worst song on the album their single. Every other song on the album kicks ass, but that one track is a horrible misrepresentation of their style. It earned its name when Stone Sour hit the airwaves with “Bother”: a song that was pure weapons grade emo before emo became an official subgenre. Up until “Blood for Blood”, HELLYEAH had similar problems.

    However, while “Hell of a Time”, and “You Wouldn’t Know” were just dull tunes that really didn’t leave a good or bad impression, “Alcohaulin’ Ass” has got to be the single dumbest song I’ve heard in years. And I’m a fan of Psychostick, so I know a thing or two about dumb songs.

    Let’s get this much straight: I don’t mind “good ol’ boy”, “let’s get drunk and party” kind of rock. It doesn’t appeal to me specifically, but there are a couple of songs in that category that aren’t without charm. This, however, isn’t one of those songs.

    It amazes me that someone pitched this to the rest of the band, and the rest of the band all nodded in agreement and said, “Oh man, we totally have to make this a song.” Last time I heard lyrics this bad, Jackyl’s “Screwdriver” was being plowed into the pavement. But at least “Screwdriver” was funny. You know, for about the first minute or so. Then it got a bit repetitive, and the joke was dead before the song had a chance to end. This, on the other hand, doesn’t even have that going for it. This song is officially the undisputed champion of stupid, hands down.

    Songs like this are what I site as a damn good reason why services like WinMX, pre-monthly fee era Napster, and Limewire were the greatest things to happen to music. Because I refuse to pay actual money for something as sucky as this song. If you’re not going to put any effort into making something that can hold my attention for three to four minutes, I don’t see why I should pay money for it. Even $0.99 off of iTUNES seems like a lot to pay for something as stupid as this song.

    While “You Wouldn’t Know” gave me hope that maybe HELLYEAH had potential and was just working out the bugs in this first album, “Alcohaulin’ Ass” convinced me for many years that HELLYEAH wasn’t worth the effort. If this is the kind of pathetic song writing I can expect from a band comprised of the singer for Mudvayne, the drummer for Pantera, and Nothingface filling every other available slot, then this is just sad. Nothingface was an awesome band! pantera were fucking legends! Mudvayne… Well… They were getting better. “LD50″ was fucking awful, but “The End of All Things to Come” and “Lost and Found” (or at least the stuff I heard from “Lost and Found” anyway) were about five steps forward. And you’re going to tell me that this was the best song on the album? This was worth making a single? This was something you’re proud of? You actually want to play this track at every concert? Perhaps sticking with Avenged Sevenfold for a few more years isn’t such a bad idea after all.

    Then again, what the fuck do I know about good music? My favorite band at the moment features a vocalist dressing like the demon pope, and the entire playlist sounds like a satanic Grateful Dead. It could just be a matter of taste, and a matter of me being a snob anymore. Never the less, I fucking hate this song, and I wouldn’t miss it if it disappeared from the air forever.

    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

    the album art for The Union Underground's "An Education in Rebellion"

    TRACK LIST

    1. An Education in Rebellion
    GRADE: N/A
    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.

    2. Drivel
    GRADE: B
    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
    GRADE: D+
    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
    GRADE: A+
    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
    GRADE: B+
    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
    GRADE: A
    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
    GRADE: B+
    I’ll admit, it’s catchy in its own little way.

    8. Revolution Man
    GRADE: A+
    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
    GRADE: A-
    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.

    10. Bitter
    GRADE: B+
    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
    GRADE: B+
    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”.